Sunday, October 27, 2013

Road Trip: Jason and Jane

In June of 2003, I was introduced to Jason Mraz. I went to his show, was blown away, and well now I'm pretty sure I'm Charlotte's most biggest Mraz fan. Over the span of 10 years I've been to 9 shows and I never really noticed how my listening and music habits had rubbed off on my mom. She too became a fan of Mr. A-Z and the last time he came through Charlotte, she voiced that she wanted to go to the next show.

I kept that in mind but knew it would probably be another year or two before Jason went back on tour. So I waited. But not too long. 

A few months ago, Jason got back into the recording studio with Raining Jane, an independent, electronic rock-folk band made up of 4 women based from Los Angeles. One of the awesome ladies, Mona, had toured with Jason the year before as his percussionist . It was announced through twitter and the Mraz Team that Album 5 had begun and it was being done with Raining Jane. Videos were posted on twitter and facebook of the recording process and even in those short little blurbs, it sounded amazing.

Still thinking it would take a while for the next tour to start, I kept my patience and causally looked out for announcements of any shows. I finally noticed one posted on the east coast not too far from Charlotte. Norfolk, VA was hosting an acoustic evening with Jason Mraz and special guests Raining Jane. Just the description of the show sounded magical. I made the decision in about .2 seconds and bought two tickets knowing that I was going to surprise my mom with a weekend trip to see our favorite, Jason Mraz.

For those of you who don't know, about two years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Alhzheimers. To have this horrible disease diagnosed so early in her age is scary. She has good days and bad and it takes a lot of patience from my dad and sister who spend the most time with her. I try to spend time with her on the weekends and told her that I had a big surprise for her coming. The first thing she thought was that I was pregnant but I had to squash that dream and tell her to wait a little while on that. Week after week, she forgot about the surprise until I finally got the tickets in the mail and was physically able to place them in her hands. You should have seen the smile spread across her face. She was ecstatic to see Jason Mraz live for the very first time. I was estatic to cross this wish off of her bucket list. We wrote the big day on the calandar and waited for the weekend to arrive and please note, she did NOT forget about our plans to come :)

The big day arrived and my dad graciously handed over his credit card saying that he would pay for everything knowing it was a special trip for both of us. We hit the road and blasted Jason Mraz through my speakers for the entire 5 hours. That's something I can't do with everyone in the car so I was in my happy place for sure.

We passed through small towns and endless cotton fields, finally arriving to the coast. We spotted Chrysler Hall, the venue of the show,  and were both mother like daughter, I guess. Our hotel was conveniently a block away from the venue and we anxiously showered and got ready for the evening. We didn't have much time to spare so we found something quick to eat downtown before heading to the show.

Chrysler Hall looked beautiful and invited us in for an evening we wouldn't forget. My mom was like a kid on Christmas and was happy to get her hands on a Jason Mraz t-shirt. We took our seats and were greeted with a "disguised" English-speaking Jason Mraz who attempted saying "hello" to everyone in the venue. (Side note: Since I've seen him live in 2008, Jason likes to introduce the opening act either in disguise, quickly as himself, or take the time to read from a just never know.) He introduced Raining Jane who gave us a preview of the greatness that would occur for the rest of the evening. The ladies had us captivated within the first song and we easily understood why Mraz had chosen to create his next album with them.

Raining Jane exited the stage and out came Jason, guitar in hand. He started out with a familiar song, reminding me that he was human and makes mistakes as he had to restart the song a few times, needing help from the audience of lyrics he had momentarily forgotten. Jason had our attention for the next 2.5 hours as he had us laughing with songs like "Half Ass", grooving with all of the new songs sung with Raining Jane, and singing along with songs we know and love from past albums. Goosebumps rose over my arms at one point during the show when a fan shouted "You're home, Jason" as he started to sing "93 Million Miles" where his lyrics say "Just know, wherever you go, you can always come home." (For those of you who don't know, Jason is from Virginia.) It was seriously the perfect night as there was a perfect balance of rotation between old and new, acoustic melodies, crowd participation, and a pretty awesome encore.

Very few pictures and videos were taken on my part because I got tapped on the shoulder towards the beginning of the show saying that neither were prohibited. I was a little sad at first but I was able to enjoy the show even more without fooling around with the camera. I found a few videos online showcasing a few of my favorite moments of the show.

The next morning we awoke wanting to re-live the night again and were in no hurry to leave. Although we were in Norfolk for less than 24 hours, we managed to have a scrumptious breakfast at a local spot and do a quick walk-though of the historical harbor downtown. We headed home shortly after exhausted from a weekend that would definitely go down in the books.

Jeremy and I have been blogging for 3 years now and what started out as a way to document our wedding planning has slowly turned into a way to document our life. With Alzheimer's in my family, this blog will be my way of remembering if over the years, I ever do forget. It will be a way of Jeremy and I to share our life with our kids and say, hey look!'re parents were once cool! You never know what life will throw at why not write it down?

Mom, this blog is for you. I love you and can't tell you how much October 19, 2013 meant to me. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Family Photos: Shake it like a polaroid picture

When Jeremy said "I do" he knew what he was getting into. Annual photos every year. He has his sports. I have my photos.

I'm that annoying friend who always wants to take a picture. I gather all of my they nicely roll their eyes and deal with my picture taking self for the next minute or so. I can't help it. As you can see, I like to document my life and photos are the perfect way to do it.

I went to my go-to friend and photographer, Sunny of Themba Imagery, and she suggested the most perfect place for Jeremy, Apollo, and I to get our cheese on. We met at the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, SC where we took our 2 year photos and where Apollo was amazed and stunned just as much as I was by the horses that roamed the area.

Thank goodness it was a Panthers bye week. I didn't have to force Jeremy to show that gap-toothed smile I love so much. He smiled with ease as we used one of our favorite wedding gifts, a t-shirt quilt made of all of our App shirts we collected over 4 years to use. We also brought his guitar out for some photos as he's learned to play this year and practices every day. Seriously. Every single day. Sunny captured one photo of all 3 of us where Jeremy is strumming, Apollo is lounging, and I'm listening. That photo literally describes many evenings at the Singletons this past year. And that, my friends, is why I love photography.

Below are some of my favorites taken by the amazing Sunny!

One thing I love about Sunny and Themba Imagery is her giving heart. She always gives a portion of your payment to a charity of your choice. This year Jeremy and I decided to give to Dream on 3, a fairly new organization that makes dreams come true for children battling and overcoming chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities, or life-altering conditions through the world of sports.

We had an afternoon full of laughs and catching up with Sunny. She gives THE BEST hugs and we are both happy to call her a friend. I think it's safe to say we have plenty of pictures to choose from for our Christmas card :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Great Pumpkin(s)

I've been wanting to go apple picking for the past...I dunno...5 years, and well, I've never accomplished the task of convincing Jeremy to go. Apple picking and the start of football season go hand in hand and it's hard to pry that man away from the tv. Add coaching into the mix and it makes it even harder. It was easy, however, to convince my sister when saying it would be a fun family outing that Keegan would love.

She hopped on the apple picking bandwagon in seconds! We picked a weekend to go, marked it on our calandar and waited anxiously for the day to arrive. There was one small bump in the road. Just the weekend before we planned to go, I read a post from the orchard saying they had the busiest day and Pick Your Own Apples was done for the season.



I emailed the orchard just to make sure my eyes had seen correctly. Sadly, it was true. No more apple picking for the season. I guess we'll plan to go earlier next year so we can get our hands on some apples and the farm's apple cider donuts.

On to Plan B.

I was determined to still make a family day out of it and both my sister and I did a little research on what local farms we could visit. There were a ton to choose from and we landed on the Hunter Farm which included a pumpkin patch, a hayride, and a petting zoo. Sounded like a winner to us!

We arrived on the (so far) hottest day of October. A sleepy Keegan who just awoke from a cat nap was a little hesitant at first but once he saw the field of pumpkins he was down to business picking up every pumpkin his size, handing it off to Mom and Grammie. He was having a BLAST but we hadn't even  gotten to the best part yet!

After browsing the pumpkins, we loaded onto the tractor hayride which slowly took us to the petting zoo. Keegan is at the stage where he is an EXPERT at animal sounds. It was beyond adorable to see him experience all of the live animals and mimic their sounds right in front them. It was too cute for words I tell ya. The boy is fearless and even fed some goats!

I want one so bad!!!

After sanitizing the heck out of our hands, the four of us got back on the hayride to the pumpkin patch. We picked out 4 little pumpkins for each of us and headed home.

It was such a great and special afternoon with my family. Everyone had a great time and needless to say, we slept well that night.