Superbowl

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Do I have to pay royalties now?! Anyway, one of the customs my friends I have are to get together on an annual basis to enjoy the “Big Game”…. Generally, one of our friends offers his home as the venue for such the event and there is a significant amount of preparation that is had, usually by the host. My group of friends being who/what they are generally, won’t do the legwork to provide sustenance. So there are many white castle “cases” and Doritos chips provided. However, me, being who I am, make it somewhat of an event. I will be making two different dips (probably reserved for a different post) and what I am presenting to you here which is a dark chocolate and white chocolate chip cookie.

Dark & White Chocolate Chip Cookie

adapted from: everybodylikessandwiches.com

1 c butter, room temperature
1/2 c white sugar
1 3/4 c light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
2 c semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c sliced almonds (optional – if not using, replace with chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or fleur de sel (optional), for sprinkling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, blending well before adding in the second egg. Add in vanilla and mix until incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. With a spatula fold in the chocolate and the almonds (if using).

Using a tablespoon, roll into balls and place onto a prepared cookie sheet, about an inch and a half apart (I always line mine with silpat or parchment paper). Slightly flatten out the tops. If desired, sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt or fleur de sel.

Bake at 360F for 12 minutes until lightly golden but still a bit gooey on the inside. Cool on wire racks.

Suggestion:

So right off the bat, I need to explain that since I have been out of practice for some time I completely dropped the ball and forgot to include the granulated sugar. No matter because honestly I don’t think the recipe needs it. By the way my cookies finished awesomely and did not need any additional sweetness, maybe my finger in the batter was enough? I see you rolling your eyes, couldn’t resist. Anyway, I clearly opted for the white chocolate instead of the nuts which I think was a great way to go, just wasn’t feeling the nuts today, no pun intended. My goal was to make a straight- forward cookie that didn’t involve being gluten, GMO, vegan, vegetarian, paleo or whatever other new diet there is, proof. My friends are simple and unpretentious and that’s how they like to swoon!

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Long Road…

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I have been at war with myself for a long time whether or not to write this post. However, I have come to the realization that posting would do more good than anything else. Below you will see multiple images of one of my sons. He is a fraternal twin. He is the eldest of the twins. He is Autistic. That latter three-word phrase has taken me a long time to appreciate and accept. I did not know how to deal with this reality for a long time. While this diagnosis is difficult for me to handle, lest we forget what is at the heart of the diagnosis, but a little boy who has begun life with a tremendous obstacle in front of him.

The eventual diagnosis stemmed from a realization that our son was not reaching certain milestones in development. Primarily our concern centered on a lack of vocabulary, both quantity and quality of which were/are deficient. Since drawing conclusions from comparisons is not the best measure of development, we chose to have him evaluated. After a myriad of evaluations it was determined he is ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). As shocking as this was for our family, the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty of what was to come was, at least in my case, more frightening. Fortunately, we have a great team of providers who helped in explaining much of the process and expectations, but there has certainly been a large learning curve.

Our son has many therapists and several sessions with more being added from time to time. We have learned so much from our boy and this experience. We now have a proficient understanding of what the jungle of acronyms ABA, EI, CPSE, OT, and PT mean and where and when they are appropriate. But beyond that we learn from him directly in observing his interactions with his siblings and his environment. He is expected to enter a center based program shortly which will be another enormous step for all of us. God willing it will be a positive experience which will only help to improve and expedite his development.

Sometimes it can all be overwhelming for everyone, but when this happens I remind myself of a comment made by one of his therapists. She said, and I am paraphrasing, what if he is the “normal” one and we are the outliers? I think about that a lot, as his perception of the world must be so different than mine. How amazing must that ability be?

Additionally, my wife reminds me of a belief she has, God does not give you anything you cannot handle. To him I say, thank you for sending us our extra special boy.

I don’t care to come off all preachy. However, for families apprehensive or scared of having their child evaluated, think about the unknown. You may be doing your child a disservice by not providing them the opportunity to receive services they may benefit from. If it is not through the same services we sought, linked here, please do it through whatever services are available to you.

As for our little guy, we will strap in and enjoy the long road ahead and all that it will bring.

 

 

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Last Call

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The World series began tonight and for me this is always a time to focus on my favorite sport, baseball. This year however is a little different, not because my omnipresent team is not participating, but because I know there will be forever someone missing from this event in the future. Allow me to digress…

My daughter called me out on an experience that we were supposed to have and failed to during the summer. We were supposed to see Derek Jeter play for one last time. Realizing my failure I quickly dashed to the computer in a desperate attempt to see if I could redeem myself. Luckily the Yankees were playing a weekday game and it coincided with a short day respectfully at school and work for my daughter and I. Without hesitation I purchased the tickets to give my daughter the opportunity to say she watched Derek Jeter play in one of his last games ever at Yankee Stadium. I realize this probably means more to me now than it does to her, but one day she will remember and one day she will tell her children and her friends about our afternoon together watching a legend do what he did best and enjoying every minute of it!

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Thanks Derek, for the memories, the championships, but most of all for being a Yankee!

Communion Part Deux

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As previously mentioned we recently finished celebrating our daughters First Holy Communion. Due to scheduling concerns, as well as sanity concerns, we opted to schedule the celebration portion of the sacrament separate from the ceremony. On a side note this was a brilliant idea! The additional time between events allowed us to properly plan and execute both events which turned out beautifully!!!! It’s a special time when you can impress yourself! That’s enough gloating, the important part of this celebration was that our daughter was happy and enjoyed herself, which is an understatement. As she stated to me “this is the best day of my life”! That made everything worth it. Please enjoy a very special screening of our movie “Faith” which premiered during the party. Special thanks to all those who assisted in making these events what they were: Tosca Marquee (venue), OmarLopez Photography (event photography and photobooth), Annie Cakes (self explanatory), and HUGE extra special shout out to my good friend Jeannette Sears for helping to make my vision come true in “Faith”. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Communion

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One of our families biggest events this year is our daughters First Holy Communion! She has been preparing for this for two years and finally the time has come to actually publicly share in receiving the Eucharist. For a Roman Catholic Family this is a very special time and one to be celebrated. However, first comes the ceremony, and in our case, shortly thereafter the actual celebration. We are incredibly proud of our daughter for taking such a vested interest and genuinely learning about what it means to receive the body and blood of Christ. We hope it will continue to be an important part of her life, as it has been in ours. Now let’s party!

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Start of a New Season

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Spring marks the beginning of a new season in more ways than one. Baseball Season is here! For those of you that don’t know baseball is one of my biggest passions. I watch and listen to as many games as I possibly can fit into my crazy schedule. One of the rites of passion we have adopted in our family is a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York. My wife and I have been making this pilgrimage since we were dating and are now happy to continue it with our children. Recently, I have heard peoples opinion of this trip to be considered “corny”, but my wife and I have always loved it. This year my daughter was old enough to participate in the scavenger hunt and was laser focused on completing it. She did and was provided a nice prize at the end of our tour. I highly recommend it for all families, not only for the museum and all of the history housed therein, but also for the awesome little town which revolves around baseball. Take a drive you’ll enjoy it.

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Things to Come…

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It’s a new year and that brings new opportunities and clients! With that in mind we are featuring our first client of 2013.

When I was contacted by Cipriani I was so excited to have the opportunity to photograph their iconic locations. Cipriani is a brand that is synonymous with luxury, class, and prestige. With locations spanning the most elite around the world, they provide all manner of eateries, residences, resorts, and event hosting. To view their portfolio is to see the best the world has to offer. To have the opportunity to work with this group gives me a great sense of pride.

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Represented here is the main ballroom of Cipriani Wall St. Yes, it is as awesome as the image depicts! A former bank built from 1836-1841 the building is a National Historic Landmark and has been mentioned as a “facility unequaled in America” (White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City). In my humble opinion this statement is not an exaggeration.

During my visit I was fortunate enough to tour the facilities and view some of the amazing amenities provided for the residence of this magnificent location. Below is the private eating area constructed within the former vault of the bank.

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I hope this is a sign of things to come, if so this is going to be a spectacular year!

Maternity Session

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As you have been previously informed my family is expecting once again and we have been inordinately busy trying to get everything ready (thus the short hiatus from posting) . One of the tasks I most certainly wanted to accomplish was having a maternity session with my wife. We finally found 35 seconds (slight exaggeration ;)) to make this happen and set out on our quest. Conservatory Gardens has long been my ideal setting for this shoot and I was very resistant to change. It’s an amazing space and as long as you aren’t wearing a wedding dress you don’t need a permit!


My wife looks amazing considering she is carrying a pair and overall has been handling this monumental task very well, I’m so proud of her.
We are very excited and nervous about the new members of our family. I can’t wait to share their first formal shoot, in utero with them and to have them post utero in front of my lens. Can’t wait to meet you guys!

Welcome to the Family

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A new family is exciting. New challenges, new experiences these are not always fun at the time, but you have to see the humor in certain situations and laugh about them later. Sometimes these are the best memories families have. This is one of the reasons I enjoy photography so much, capturing these images or events which remind you of these situations.

Recently, I had clients who are new parents. We had a great time with their boy running in the park and creating some wonderful memories for them to reflect on in future years. I wish them the best in raising their son and would like them to keep the above in mind. It is not always easy to appreciate the events which will provide the most memorable moments, but with kids that’s part of the ride. Go with it and don’t take things too seriously, this is advice sometimes I need to heed as well!

Announcement²

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I hope all of you viewing this understand the image. However, for those of you that may be as stifled, as I was when hearing the news, we are expecting TWINS! I find it scary, strange, and exciting to even type that, WOW! My family and I have been waiting sometime to be able to announce this properly and I hope this image does it justice. We are diligently preparing for our very special arrivals and realize the amount of work and effort that will go into raising them as well as there big sister. But we are up to the challenge, and know we have an unbelievable support group on both sides of our immediate and extended families. Good thing to, because I am pretty sure we will need all of there assistance on this one. I try to keep in mind something I read recently which makes me feel better about the impending mayhem (forgive me for not remembering where I read this to give the appropriate credit):

Thank You For:

– A mortgage (because it means we have a roof over our heads)

– A messy home (because it means our life is full of activity)

– Dirty Dishes (because it means we ate today)

– Crying Babies (because it means we have a family)

These statements put things in perspective for me and the future doesn’t seem insurmountable, but exciting! Can’t wait to see where this ride takes us!