Thursday, April 10, 2014

One.

I'm too emotional right now to even write something poignant about my last baby turning one, so I default to the amazing Kate T. Parker's work capturing our sweet August's face, lil nose scratch and all:


bee tee dubs: check out Kate's amazing work on "Strong is the New Pretty" chronicling her daughter's youth with some pretty bad ass photography. Yeah, that's right. I did a full on curse word without the $$ signs for esses. It's *that* good, and we have been lucky enough to use her in capturing our family over a few photo sessions.

In my incredibly biased opinion, this boy is like way wicked totally amazingly dreamy. And despite the serious mug, I'm not sure there is a happier little person out there.

There is so much to say and so much to reflect on regarding not only Gus, but also our family of 5. While I let it all marinate in my head and heart, let me just say to you, August Meyer: thank you for giving me the pleasure of being your mom. While I've learned so much over the past 5+ years mothering your older brothers, you've given me perspective I never had before. And hope. And have been a light in our lives after some pretty dark, scary and anxious pockets of time.

As is your tag line...#ohmygusness



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Week 14 of 52: Really?

As normal, I am 2 days late in posting because days and nights have been busy being super productive and cleaning my house top to bottom. And forcing my children to clean the pollen off of my car (thanks Dad for your staff management--how's that book on the history of spices?) while simultaneously auditioning for a Wes Anderson movie:

Okay, part lie.

Truth?

Despite daily maintenance cleaning, my bathrooms still smell like a urinal, I'm pretty sure there are Gus poop particles encrusted on the bath somewhere (darn kid is my first and only chronic bath BM-er. Ew. BM. Yeah, I went there solely for alliterative purposes), we've lost a sippy cup full of breast milk somewhere in the house (glass half full: perhaps we can make a killing on breast milk blue cheese), and laundry has barely migrated from the dryer to the couch.

But I had 3 "girls" nights in a row and there was a good stretch of time I actually felt empowered by my ability to take care of my emotional self...until today when I started panicking that my children may come down with some fecal disease or that they may tell their friends that their mommy says she is going to replace the potty with huge urinal troughs and force them into child lavatory labor. (I mean, what imaginations; I would *never* say that. At least not more than 5 times a week.) I also had a nightmare that the air conditioner service man who comes into the house was also a casting agent for a new NBC show called "worst homemaker on the country" and I was anonymously entered.

But the good news is my Lenten promise to disconnect more is actually going pretty well. So much of the week my photos sit on the camera and the drive to get out my personal computer on Sunday to process isn't as great since I try to avoid the soul suck of Facebook and Googling things like "are you doing permanent damage to your 1-year-old by making them sleep in a portable crib?"

Oh yeah. I am getting a 1-year-old this week. Insert denial. Thankfully, we have bigger problems to keep my mind off of the sadness of my baby growing up. As Felix announced at dinner:

"MOM! DAD! WE HAVE A BIIIIG PROBLEM...DINOSAURS ARE EXTINCT!"

Hide your children. Hide your wives. (Remember that viral sensation?)

So life keeps chugging away over here. I'm just as neurotic and anxious and overwhelmed and prone to making enormous plans that I completely fall short of. I just don't document it as well anymore. And while nothing catastrophic, our family has hit the emotional moguls of sorts. You know, those little life bumps where your knees look like they are sliding in and out of socket and you have to steady yourself just enough to allow for the speed to get you over those snow bumps (that's a technical term for someone who was raised in New England and only skied once) and over the finish line without a complete wipe out necessitating life long orthopedic co-pays. You know, like when it's not that everything is going wrong, it's that nothing is going right. Wah-wah. Sad trombone.  Pockets of disappointment regarding life plans, financial dilemmas, scheduling hiccups...material not exciting enough to detail and catastrophize on the blog, but life not unblemished enough to nauseate you with our seeming perfection. (You know the type of blogger.)

And I've found as Miles and Felix age, it's harder to write about them. So this space will continue to be my sounding board, but as you've noticed, the focus is on the lil one more than anyone else. And the truth is, he's a pretty easy going, non complicated guy (outside of the bath poops), so my default is just cute pictures of him pretending a tape roll is a crown.

Or him perfecting the "REALLY??" face:

...that he learned from his superiors:
(May I just mention that we don't use our front grass as a trash yard; this was a fort from the day's UPS delivery. #diapersenmass And let me also mention that Felix's red Lands End windbreaker was worn for over 48 hours straight. Naps and bedtime included. Okay, he didn't wear it in the bath, but he would have if I let him.)

While the big boys have lots of joy and chaos and silliness going on...


...it seems the second I attempt to take a picture, I get the "really?" glare:


Whatever little dudes. Just remember who still wipes your bum.

Now. About that little one turning 1...oye. To be continued!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Week 13 of 52: Experimenting with Lightroom's black and white filters

I'm a junkie for filters. And I love that Lightroom has a bunch of preset ones that I can apply and then go rogue and fiddle with the sliders in the develop section. It's kind of like archery in the dark, but at times I really do feel like I hit the unprofessional bullseye. This week, ehhh...

Last week and this week I have done some more black and white processing. Before having Instagram and Lightroom, I never realized that black and white isn't just as simple as removing the color from a photo. It's bonkers how many ways you can make the same picture look completely different by adjusting highlights, brightness, sharpness, etcetera etcetera.

In the next few years, I really do want to take a photography class to hone my skills. I've done a lot of experimenting on my own but am still a slave for presets and shooting on automatic. I'm just not good at manual. (Ask my friend Studs about manual car driving...)

***

We had a great afternoon recently of jumping off the bed and landing in a pile of blankets and pillows (we call it a "jumpy house"), but I couldn't seem to get my act together to get a good DSLR shot. So I have some pretty awesome fuzzy ones. Awesomely fuzzy that is.


And then my external flash drive decided to have a stroke this week and I couldn't find the battery charger, so the picture of Felix had to be converted to B&W because it was so washed out and my actual camera's flash decided to take over. And if I was a real photographer I would have figured out how to do something with a setting, but I'm not. I'm a lazy photographer. But you can't tell me this picture isn't cute.

While these onion goggles haven't been used more than a handful of times for actually chopping onions, they are a staple in Felix's dress up repertoire. And in the event we ever let him wield a pairing knife, his amazing eyes will be protected.


Finally. The baby. Who is turning one in a little over a week. And you should *see* the plans I have for his celebration. Actually, if you have any ideas please send them my way because at this point we will probably heat up leftovers and let him eat scraps off the floor. (In the words of Miles, "Gus contributes to this family because he eats food off of the floor. He's dedicated." Preach it, brothah.



And just in case you think that I've completely lost my sense of humor and ability to post anything of significance. I will leave you with a little story that I am titling: "the convenience of boys."

After I picked Miles up from school one afternoon this week, we all get in the mini (van--not cooper obvi), and as I am finishing strapping Gus in his seat, I see Miles doing what we affectionately call in this family "the potty dance." I had Felix and Gus already in their seats and didn't want the pomp and circumstance of unbuckling, going upstream against all of the carpool traffic, and buzzing ourselves back into the school to find a lavatory to shuttle in 3 crazy boys. (Notice how you have to say lavatory when referring to school bathrooms?) So I asked him if he could hold it until home.

Pause.

Why on earth did I ask? Right? I mean--is there an option?

Oh wait...yes, yes there is. Miles informed me that he couldn't, in fact wait, and was going to have an accident if he didn't go right now.

Option 1, suggested by Felix was to pee outside on a tree (not that we have ever suggested they do that when we play outside at home...ahem), which I didn't think the best decision in the parking lot of a very well manicured private school.

Option 2, which only came up in my head and I didn't officially offer it, was to find a diaper and let him pee in it in his seat and let him have a soggy size 3 diaper be a lesson to him for not asking to go to the bathroom while at school. (Another day, another story. But his anxiety comes out in an unwillingness to ask to use the bathroom when he is not with his mom and dad. Probably due to the hell I put him through to get potty trained.)

But then I remembered Option 3: I have boys--and they can pee with great aim into small containers and spaces. Unless they are at your home potty, then it's like they have Jackson Pollock penis and splatter urine all over the damn bathroom. There in front of me was my Starbucks reusable cup from the morning. So...Miles dropped trou in our van, in the parking lot of his school with everyone carpooling around us, and peed on the leftover inch of my nonfat vanilla misto. Do you think the development of "coffepee" makes me a barista?

Oh, but it gets better. Felix assured me that he was about to pee in his pants. Because once you see your brother pee in a cup, you realize that it could be great fun and who cares if your mom is mortified and just wants to get home. So, I crossed my fingers that the volume of his contribution wouldn't be greater than a venti, because then I would be looking at some sticky, smelly minivan weather mats. Aaand, I might just want to chop off my own hands that would be sure to get a warm tidal wave of the slurry.

After Felix unloaded successfully, I put the lid back on and slowly placed the warm cup back in my driver side cup holder. For some reason, feeling it warm just made it *that* much grosser.

I smiled at Gus and said, "kid, thank God you have a diaper."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Week 12 of 52: Angst

This week I spent a few days capturing the frustration of childhood. So often our social media presence is filtered and makes me think that everyone else (but us) has perfect kids.
Perfect homes.
Perfect perfection.

While I think I err on the side of self deprecating humor, or even complaining in this space (it's my go to venting mechanism), what I have always promised myself from day one is to expose all angles of my pregnancy and motherhood. The saccharine *and* the sinister. I'm not here to prove I've got it all figured out. I'm not here to lay claim to doing it "right" or pretending to make it sound like being a working  mom and having 3 kids is the way to go. Or that it's easy. What it is--is fulfilling. Full. And incredibly filling. And sometimes, it's so filling, you feel bloated like after a great Turkey Day dinner. Yeah, sometimes you gorge so much on the good, you get sick.

Looking back, of course I want to remember and focus on the fun and revelry we have as a family. But I also want to etch in my memory those moments of pain and vulnerability.

My children are strong willed. Obstinate. Opinionated. And sometimes downright turds. Sometimes...wait for it...I don't like them. Rather, I don't like being around them. I think about it like "if I was your friend, I would not want to be in the room with you." But I unconditionally, unequivocally love these boys. Let's get that straight.

And I'm not sure what it says about me as a human and mother, but even in my boys' angst, there is such beauty. Dare I admit that the images below are some of my recent favorites. These images evoke what happens a lot to my little boys--frustration.

Frustration that Mommy is covered in salmonella-y cookie dough and can't pick me up and nurse my teething mouth into submission.

Frustration that Mommy told me that it was time to stop playing with the homemade GAK in preparation for my daily bath.

Frustration that Mommy told me that 1 enormous cinnamon bagel was enough for a snack.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 11 of 52: POV in Black and White

Alert--late posting!

So we are already into week 12, but these pictures from last week finally made it off of my camera.

I was trying to get all theme-y and do parts of my children's bodies that are unique and I want to remember. Wait. That totally sounds creepy and wrong, but things like Miles's cowlick...Gus's cheeks...Felix's crinkle ear. 

So that was my self imposed project this week.

Aaaand, I didn't really do it. (SHOCKER!) But what I did do was try to do some "point of view" photos, whatever the heck that means. I dunno. It sounds official and when you take pictures that are off centered and run them through a magical black and white filter, it's like they turn into art. Or at least for some people.

Eh, I have some room to grow, but I really love each one of these photos. Felix especially looks gigongous (that's gigantic and humongous mish mashed together). 

And the last one is just Gus being stupid cute. I can't help it. He's my last.