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Project 365 – Week 3

Day 17 – Marcus came over to play! Homer likes his little buddy.
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Day 18 – We went over to Seattle Center today to meet up with some friends. This is Everett! We asked if they wanted to hug for the picture, and Homer wrapped his arms around Ev, while Everett looked slightly dubious in some of the shots I got. This one turned out really cute though! They are so funny together!
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Day 19 – This is the catch that won the game! Seahawks are going to the Superbowl!
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Day 20 – We spent this beautiful sunny day outside!! We walked around with friends, played at the playground, and watched the ducks. So much fun! I’ve loved mallards since I was a kid. They can be such pests sometimes in zoos, when they come in and bother the actual zoo collection birds, as my friend and I were discussing that day. Still, I can’t help loving their pretty green heads. My dad had a painting (or photograph? I can’t remember) of mallards above the fireplace for much of my childhood, so they became my favorite ducks for a long time.
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Day 21 – Spoiled by yesterday’s sunny weather, we showed up at the park this morning and this is what we saw. Completely empty! Cool shot of the fog, though, before Homer declared, “I’m coooold,” and we decided to play indoors today at the mall!
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Day 22 – Homer loves it when we brush teeth this way! He gets so excited talking about how many of him there are, and then he usually holds his toys up so they can see how many of them there are, too! It’s really cute!
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Day 23 – Cat sitting for my brother and sis-in-law. This is Osiris. He is a sweetheart.
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And as a bonus, here’s cuddly Fubu, too!
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Thanks for looking!!

Catch the Moment
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Toddler Photographer

Only nineteen days into this photo-a-day project of mine, and I’m already noticing a lot of interesting aspects of it. For one, there is a feeling of accomplishment that comes from starting a daily goal and sticking with it for a few weeks. Every time I take out my camera and snap a photo, it’s like collecting a piece of my day, gathering it up into my arms and placing it into the basket of memories that is my life. And every day I do this, I feel more convinced I really will make it the whole year, which is a good feeling. I also like the possibility that by doing this particular goal, I’m proving to myself that I can stick with something. It’s a good feeling. It gives me hope that maybe I really can do the things I’ve set out to do this year, including making healthier meals and getting fit.

One unexpected fun part of this project has been my son’s reaction to it. I’m not surprised he enjoys our walks when I venture out to find cool snapshots. I am a little surprised that he wanted to take pictures, too, though I shouldn’t be. He’s so eager to try things he sees other people doing, which is a common trait of most two year olds, I think! But I will admit, I am very surprised at the quality of his photos, and the impact they had on me…

All photos in this post were taken by Homer.

These first two are of what he finds interesting and exciting – our beloved neighborhood slide. This day, there was frost on it, which is the grey/icy picture:

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These next two are of us, a self portrait, and one of me…
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This one of me really made me stop and think. This is how he sees me. This is how I look from his height. I am a short woman, really, at barely 5’4″, but I tower over him. Then I realized it’s not just me who towers over him – the whole world does. Being a child in the world is not as easy as people make it sound. I’ve heard people say, “Oh man, I wish I was in kindergarten again when my only problem was who stole my crayons.” As if that’s nothing to worry about! That’s a big damn deal, having your crayons stolen, and what’s more, if you’re in kindergarten, it’s possible that’s the first time you’ll experience having crayons stolen, the first time you experience and understand that sense of betrayal. It is hard stuff learning about and navigating the world as we grow. Our adult problems seem like a big deal to us now, as if our childhood worries were simply trivial, but it was all always a big deal. We are all always learning.

So understanding my son’s literal perspective of the world, his actual viewpoint and what I look like being so high up, it truly hit me how important it is to squat down on his level more often, and to make sure to keep my frustrations in check so that I don’t go snapping at him. I wouldn’t want anyone snapping at me, much less someone who is so big compared to me. I usually do a pretty good job, I think, of not getting angry, but I admit there are times I’m harsher than I mean to be. This was just a really good reminder for me.

Then these are just really pretty tree pictures:

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Look at that sunset he captured!!

These are also other interesting examples of his vantage point, slightly lower set than many pictures. You can just tell he’s shooting from a lower height than most of us adults when you look at these:
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And last but not least, I had knelt down to talk to him and help him hold the camera, when he turned it and said, “I take a picture of YOU, Mommy!” So I smiled at him, and this was the result, one of my favorite photos of myself.

Thanks for giving me such wonderful reasons to smile, my sweet son.  I love you always.
Thanks for giving me such wonderful reasons to smile, my sweet son. I love you always.
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Project 365, Week 2

Day 10 – Homer and I went to an art place, where you can paint and create all sorts of projects, painting, gluing all manner of objects together… This was a shot of their paint splatter room where you can paint on the walls, ceiling, floor. It’s an awesome place!
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Day 11 – Very rainy day. Tails likes to look out the windows.
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Day 12 – Princess Peach likes pizza! This was a day when Homer was making all his little dolls eat all of our food, each one taking “bites.” So cute!
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Day 13 – Homer and I took a walk in Seattle today and I liked the way these colorful Christmas lights, still up but off, looked against the white porch. It is a lovely remnant of the holiday season, still lightly lingering into January.
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Day 14 – My darling hubby’s birthday! Homer was so excited to pick out the cake. He wanted to get Joe a cupcake with a cherry on top, and then of course begged to eat the cherry (we got it, and let him have the cherry and some of the cupcake, too). This cake is a delicious marble cake. Homer really loved singing happy birthday to Daddy with me!
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Day 15 – Our homemade art collection is growing on our walls! Seeing these things every day always makes me smile.
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Day 16 – I could pretend to be all poetic and say that this photo depicts the blurriness of life with a child, the years speeding by. And I guess that is true. But the blur is unintentional. I was just experimenting with settings on my camera and trying to take all sorts of silly, fun pictures with Homer. This one turned out so sweet, and is my favorite of the bunch!
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Love and (Pregnancy) Loss

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Yesterday, it rained and stormed. The sound of the water droplets splattering into the puddles they created and the winds whirring filled our home, as the flickering lights threatened to turn off. Some think rain is depressing. I find it exciting, inspirational. Perfect writing weather. A time for reflection.

IMG_2282I suppose that’s one way I know I’m an optimist. If I’m feeling sad and having a hard day, and the weather is really nice, I say, oh good, I’ll go outside and feel healed by the nice breezes and sunshine. And if it is grey and wet and stormy, I think, oh good, the weather feels like I do, and feel a sense of solidarity with the storm clouds.

The reason yesterday was hard is it was the due date of the baby I lost over the summer. It was hardest when it first happened, and I dreaded this time of year, knowing it might be hard too. On Thursday, I felt sad, but then had such a good day on Friday, and felt really good about everything, that the sadness that suddenly stormed within me yesterday kind of side-swiped me.

I talked to some friends, got a hug from my husband, and read some accounts of miscarriage and loss online, and I felt better. It’s awful that others have been through it, but the main message I take from reading about others who’ve experienced this is: I am not alone. And, it’s okay. It’s okay to hurt, and it’s okay to be okay, and it’s okay to go back and forth, too. Others have traversed this road many times, and many more will. It’s not easy. But it is what it is.

So, to any of you reading this who’ve experienced a loss, please know: I hear you. You are not alone.

I found out on a Friday, at 12 weeks, that I’d lost the baby. At first I was even told it had never been a baby, just a morphed cluster of cells that never formed a baby properly. A molar pregnancy. That information carried with it worries of potential re-growth of cells and potential chemotherapy if that occurred. One week later, at 13 weeks I had a D&C. I’d spent a week pregnant-but-not, and it broke my heart. That morning, I nervously waited in the hospital, feeling awful, bleeding, talking to my sweet mom who sat next to my hospital bed at 6am, while my awesome husband stayed with our son at home (we didn’t want to have to wake the toddler! I’m glad they could sleep at home, and pick me up from the hospital later). I received an IV, and a mask on my face, and woke up what felt like two seconds later, being told it was all over, and the tears ran down my face. That was July. The next couple months were not easy. I’ve always had anxiety issues, and they became far worse, and I decided to try anxiety medication for the first time in my life, which has been a wonderful and amazing decision for myself.

A couple weeks after the D&C, I found out I had not had a molar pregnancy, but a regular “missed miscarriage.” No reason for blood checks or chemotherapy worries, which was good news. But it was still another blow to realize I had had a baby growing, that just didn’t.

Me, Homer, and our doula, Tammy
Me, Homer, and our doula, Tammy
When my doula from California just so happened to be taking a trip to Washington a few weeks later, she stopped in to see me, and I told her of my loss. And she completely empathized and told me she was sorry. Then she did something no one else had done… She asked me about the beginning of my pregnancy, about how I’d found out I was pregnant. It was fun remembering the good.

The good and the bad, the sweet, and the tragic, will always be a mixed memory of this crazy time of my life.

I’ll always remember…

– seeing a doctor who ordered a “rush ultrasound” at the nearby hospital for the following hour, and I took the “rush” part a little too literally and backed into a pole, breaking the bumper off the back of my car

– the ultrasound technician warning me before she turned up the volume, “You’re going to hear your own heartbeat now, okay?” and hearing not just my own heartbeat, but the astoundingly loud absence of the super-fast wooshwooshwoosh of a baby heartbeat, and knowing it was all over

– having to wait next to the phone for the doctor to call me in the exam room to tell me the news the ultrasound tech could not. There were exactly ten shelving holes between each perfectly spaced shelf. Counting calms me.

But I will also always remember…

– realizing how excited I felt about having two children

– attending the Summer Solstice festival while pregnant

One of the last happy pregnancy pics with this baby
One of the last happy pregnancy pics with this baby

– attending a drum circle while pregnant and feeling happy the baby was experiencing the rhythms

– falling asleep with my hubby by my side, my cat against my back, my toddler in one arm, and one hand on my belly, a smile on my face

– that first day, the day I knew… Homer’s breath had made me gag when I kissed him that morning, then Joe’s breath had done the same, even though they both have lovely breath. And at Trader Joe’s, Homer pointed to the tomatoes excitedly, and the sight of them made me gag. Those things told me what those two pink lines confirmed that evening, and I was nervous, but so, so excited, too, as Joe and I laughed about the craziness of the timing (we had JUST moved into our apartment and he had only had one day at the new job).

I miss you, little baby. I wish we’d had forever together, but glad I knew you for our one trimester.

To all the mamas who come across this page who’ve felt what I’ve felt… I’m sorry. It’s hard. But you’ll get through it. Time helps. The heart will heal. Grief doesn’t travel in a straight line, as one mama friend told me. Some days are good and some are bad, and the bad days can pop up out of nowhere, but those, too, will pass. And these little beings that left too soon will always be part of our story, our lives, our hearts. Best wishes to you, mamas who’ve been there…

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For further reading, here’s a link I like:
The Amethyst Network – Supporting Families Through Miscarriage

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Project 365: First Nine Days’ Pictures

Happy New Year!! And welcome to my new blog! I’ve thought of starting one for a while now, and this seemed like as good a time as any. This year, I’ve signed up to do Project 365, taking one photo every single day of the year. I hope to capture many beautiful snippets of life, and improve my photography skills along the way. I’ll be making a weekly post, but if you’d like to see the photos on a daily basis, you can catch them over at my Flickr account or my blipfoto page. Without further ado, the pics to start off the new year…

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I love these little toes…

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Lions at the zoo

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A wintry night. This was taken right after Joe, Homer and I had a fun dinner out, as we got back into our car to head home.

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Early evening, crescent moon, taken on a walk with Homer

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Tails

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Bananagrams! This was at a cool cafe near us, and was the first time Homer had ever seen them or played with them. He loved the letter tiles so much we got our own set!

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Rainy city

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Homer

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Our little buddy, Marcus

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Catch the Moment