Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Local grocery store out of water Saturday AM – 2 days before Sandy makes landfall.

I have to admit, I’ve never been so anxious because of a storm. No, it didn’t help that the news was very dramatic. But something told me that this time, they believed what they were saying and really wanted us to listen. (I guess that’s the problem with sensationalism…it’s hard to know when to take it seriously.) They also predicted a direct hit with Philadelphia. So we took all the necessary precautions: bought non-perishable food; filled ziplock bags with filtered water and stuck them in the freezer for many varied uses if needed; removed any outdoor objects/furniture that could cause damage in gusting winds; and did all the laundry, dishes and baking we’d need for a week. I had to do something with my nervous energy.

Sandy came and went. We woke up this morning in a dry home, with power and all of our things intact. We were the lucky ones.

Here’s what I can’t get over. I’ve already heard/read several times today, comments from people (real people, not television speak) saying that the hurricane “wasn’t that bad”…And the only thing I can think is “It wasn’t that bad for you“. I try to keep my blog posts as upbeat and positive as possible. First, people have their own issues and don’t need to be burdened with mine. Second, life is too short to focus on the negative. But I can’t help but be tremendously irritated with anyone who, for whatever reason, wishes they had personally dealt with a more violent and damaging storm and are disappointed with their own experience.

So out of respect for the mothers and babies who were evacuated and carried down 9 flights of stairs from NYU Langone’s NICU (the hospital where less than 2 years ago, Elliott was born); for those who have lost their belongings and homes; and for the several people, including children, who lost their lives because of falling trees, please remember that it did get that bad…just not for you.

As a small but meaningful gesture, Carolyn Clement Photography will be donating 10% of all sales through December 31st, 2012 to the American Red Cross.



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You may remember almost a year ago when I had to give Elliott his very 1st Epipen injection. Well, it just so happens, the whole experience is much less frightening and stressful the 2nd time around…I went through the motions of checking for symptoms – in Elliott’s case, he started gagging and threw up thick clear mucus, this within minutes of ingesting dairy – immediately knew it had to be done.

What led to Elliott’s allergic reaction was a mistake. But it was mistake that could and should have been prevented since it was an adult who was well-aware of his severe allergies. And it only took less than 5 little cheddar goldfish crackers to cause him to go into anaphylactic shock. However, instead of dwelling on one person’s carelessness, I’ve decided that spreading awareness to those around us is a much better use of my time and energy.

I feel so silly (and a big part of me wants to use a stronger word) and irresponsible. When we moved to Philly just after his 1st episode, I didn’t want to introduce Elliott to our new friends with the warning “he’s severely allergic to all things dairy, (and nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish, neosporin, cats, dogs, molds and dust)”.  I guess I’d hoped that I could manage his allergies on my own, or thought that people would be less interested in playing with us since it meant that they’d have to be extra cautious, even inconvenienced, and I didn’t want to be a burden. Ugh.

Now I understand that these mothers, neighbors and members of our community WANT this information! I can’t even imagine how terrible it could be to accidentally give someone else’s child a food that they are deathly allergic to and to have a tragic outcome as a result. But not being given this information in the first place would be even worse…for everyone.

Since this last episode, I’ve emailed my Mom’s group a detailed list of all the things Elliott is allergic to, where to find his Epipen (there’s always one in his little bag, the one with a green tractor and his name embroidered on it) and the peace of mind of knowing that Jon and I give our consent to anyone who feels the need to administer his Epipen if we are not around, and to call 911 immediately. I’ve also been showing everyone how to use the Epipen by carrying around his Epipen Training Device (an injector without a needle or medicine).

The simple set of instructions is as follows: remove injector from plastic case, pull out blue tab at end of injector, hold firmly in your fist, swing out and push orange tip firmly into the upper thigh (clothing does not need to be removed), hold for at least 10 seconds, remove injector (needle will no longer be visible) and lightly massage injection site for 10 seconds. Call 911 if you haven’t already done so and dispose of used Epipen in a safe manner.

Allermates Wristband

As another step towards awareness, we just received Eli’s Allermates Dairy Allergy Wristband and he’s been wearing it for the past 2 days. He seems excited to show all his friends and teachers. We are determined to tell everyone we know that he is, under no circumstance, to be given foods without our permission. I always pack many types of snacks so there should never be a reason to give him anything.

And so, it takes a village. I am very thankful to the wonderful friends that we’ve made here in Manayunk/Roxborough – they are already making our new reality much easier to deal with and I know they will keep an eye on Elliott! If you see this kid around town, please don’t feed him! If you are a parent or guardian who has recently discovered that your child has a food allergy or you’ve had years of experience in coping with allergies, I’d love to hear from you. Knowing we aren’t in this alone is extremely comforting. To be continued, I’m sure…

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Since we moved to Philly last Spring, the three of us (Jon, Elliott and I) spend our days, evenings and weekends park surfing – alternating between several local parks. One of our favorites has been Gorgas Park, especially on those really warm Summer days because it sits at the top of the ridge and almost always provides park-goers with a refreshing breeze. We also run into lots of friends there, no matter the time of day we visit.

This Saturday, September 15, Gorgas Park will be the place to be when they hold their “Party for the Park” event from 7pm-10pm. As described on the website:

“Celebrate our park in serious style. Enjoy an evening soiree in Gorgas Park that will feature delicious hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and live music. Dine and mingle among our award-winning gardens and discover what lies ahead for our beloved Gorgas Park.”  

There will be a silent auction and among the terrific bidding items will be a family portrait session + a mounted & laminated print (over $300 value) from Carolyn Clement Photography. And I will also be extending a special offer to all who attend this event.

I’m excited to be a part of this event and hope to see many familiar faces on September 15th. Please come out and show your support for our local park. For tickets and more information, click here.

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I was in complete denial the first time it happened…Elliott was barely 18 months old and had just discovered he had the ability to scale the sides of his crib. Freedom was now his. I’d read that often the transition from crib to bed can happen prematurely (and read all the accompanying horror stories of sleepless nights)  but there was no way my son was going to forget that he could climb out. He did so 3 times that first night and fell really hard on his last attempt.

I didn’t want to believe he could do it because that meant addressing the now inevitable – out of concern for his safety, Elliott was ready for a toddler bed. While converting the crib to his new bed was a breeze for Jon, my heart raced when we went shopping for the new sheets and pillow which would officially make this Eli’s big boy bed. I pictured him waking at all hours of the night and never wanting to sleep again! We followed the same bedtime routine, showed him how exciting it was for him to be able to climb in on his own and put him to bed. I closed the door behind me and immediately heard his footsteps coming towards the door. I waited a minute, went in and returned him to his bed. We did this same dance for approximately 20mins, at which point, he fell asleep…

And he slept the entire night. The next day for his nap, we dealt with the tears for 15mins and from that moment on, Elliott’s been sleeping soundly in his new toddler bed. My fears were reasonable, just not necessary. As with so many transitions in life, this one went much more smoothly than I had anticipated. Zzzzzz…

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If you don’t already use Instagram, the hugely popular app used to turn everyone into a photographer, then you are among a shrinking population. With loads of filters (some questionable), boarders and ways to manipulate the photos taken with your phone, you can instantly share them to everyone, anywhere, using Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.

Whether you like or dislike Instagram (there are many strong opinions supporting each view), let me explain why I will be using it. With a toddler in tow, a trip to the zoo/park/museum already has me weighed down with a bag filled with all the essentials a little man may need. If said little man needs a lift to see XYZ, that’s another 25lbs weighing me down. My Canon 5D with a 24-70mm lens weighs 4lbs…See where I’m going with this? My phone weighs 5ounces, fits snuggly into my pocket and doesn’t have a pricey lens attached to it that inevitably gets jostled while chasing this little man around. And boy, does he love to be chased!

If you have an opinion about Instagram, good or bad, I’d love to hear it. Though it won’t make me change my mind 😉



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These photos were taken back in April…funny how quickly life gets in the way of editing. I’m in the process of compiling decades of photos and videos of my father’s family – Les Clements – to be presented at my grandmother’s 90th birthday in early Fall. While going through my own massive library, I came upon these images and I can’t believe I almost missed them.

If you were to ask me, my older brother or younger sister to think of something that reminds us of our father, we would probably list: wood carving, maple syrup, and the violin. From my earliest memories, my dad has serenaded us at every birthday, many evenings after dinner, and the occasional Saturday/Sunday morning. My father likes to learn songs on his own, so while the sound sometimes resembles the cry of a cat, he loves it, so I love it.

Looking at these moments, seeing my father studying Elliott’s face as he tentatively approaches the violin, makes me choke up just a bit. No matter what happens in life, my son will have no doubt that he was everything to his grandpapa. This is why I choose photography.

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In keeping with the theme of great places to visit when it’s so darn hot in Philly, I’d like to share my fondness for the Wissahickon Valley Park. Since it’s basically located in our backyard, there’s no need for me to buckle Elliott into his car seat and drive to get there – I just ask him to climb into our jogging stroller and we’re on our way.

In case it’s unknown to some, there’s an entrance just a couple blocks from the Acme on Ridge Ave in Roxborough. You can take either Green Lane, or Monastery Ave with a right onto Janette St, which will bring you to a path just across from horse stables. Once you’ve located this path, you will see a sign that indicates that you are now entering the Wissahickon Valley Park and you will begin your short (but rather steep, especially on the way back up) descent to the Forbidden Drive trail.

We love running and walking on the Forbidden Drive – a 5,42 mile gravel trail that allowed the passage of cars until the 1920s – mainly because the temperature drops significantly as you set foot into the park and shield yourself from the sun. When a pregnant girlfriend recently asked if we knew of any local hiking trails, I told her about Wissahickon. A couple of days later, we brought our toddler boys for a lengthy stroll and the kids loved it as much as we did. They saw butterflies and blue colored bugs (still unknown to me), played on the rocks near the water’s edge and even got their little toes all wet and muddy.

Approximately 2 miles into our walk, we came across the Valley Green Inn. Had I realized this was to be our half-way point, I definitely would have brought my wallet. I cannot wait to go back to this charming restaurant which was built in 1850 and has a wonderful view of the Wissahickon Creek. I have a feeling that I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of everything this park has to offer…


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