Photo Challenge Week 3

Oh this poor little neglected blog.

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Clearly, I am quite late on posting the third week of the photo challenge I began three, nope, four months ago! I think one of the rules was that its totally okay to take a few weeks off. Although, I took these pictures in March or April, I think. At any rate. Here is week three.

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Eddie is “washing dishes.” These pictures are pretty “raw” and not really the quality that I usually like.

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I was just trying to get out of my comfort zone and take some shots from different angles and a little more impulsively.

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Honestly, I don’t hate them.

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They feel “Spur of the moment” and authentic to me.

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With my dirty kitchen and compost bucket in the background, and my child in dire need of a hair cut.

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Also, little man had a great time slopping paint and soapy water all over.

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Thea’s Birthday.

Theadora turned one this past month.

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That totally blows my mind. I’ll spare you all of the “time flies” sentiments. But its too true.

True to the fashion of my little family, we had a very low-key party. At home, this time. And true to my fashion, I kind of failed at planning anything at all for it. It still turned out great. Even without balloons or decoration and with all store bought/takeout food. Except the cupcakes. I made those.

Carrot cake!

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Just goes to show you: all you need for a fun get-together is good people, and thankfully, I have plenty of those.

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Thea might be one of those kids who never properly crawls. But she sure does get around. She does this little army crawl/scoot that is super adorable. She’ll stand while leaning or holding onto something for a few seconds, but won’t pull up to that position on her own.

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I’m also not sure about a first word! She sort of says hi, yeah, banana, and a slew of other things. She’s just going to be one of those people who does things her own way, and a little outside of the box.

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She loves it when I sing Chi Baba Chi Baba to her. If she is crying, it will instantly calm her down. If she is content, it will always make her smile. Basically, I either have a lovely singing voice, or a hilarious one. You choose.

She just sprouted her very first tooth. As of her birthday, she was still a gummy lady!

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Loves eating and OBSESSED with bananas. The millisecond she discovered solid food, she pretty  much refused to eat any purees.

She continues to be a pretty light, and sometimes fitful sleeper, compared to her brother, who, I swear, would sleep through anything.

What a cute bean.

Kate and Ollie.

This was an impromptu Oakland photo sesh with my good friend, Kate and her adorable little guy, Ollie. Aren’t they lovely? Ollie just happens to be Eddie’s bff. We were on a play date that started at the Carnegie Library, moved to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and ended at the Porch at Schenley for some late brunch and a beer or two. All within walking distance of each other. Good god I love Pittsburgh.

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Photo Challenge – Week One.

As I mentioned before, I downloaded Andrea‘s ebook: The Busy Mom’s Guide to Growing as a Photographer. It’s a collection of photo challengesThe first challenge is a month-long challenge giving no direction to your subjects. The challenge focuses on process over finished product, and is designed to just get you to shoot every day. Or just shoot more. I would be lying if I said I took pictures every day last week, but I did manage to take more than I usually would. Here are a few of the ones that I thought turned out okay.

Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, one or two of these were on my memory card from before I started the challenge!

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Thea.
dippy
Dippy the Diplodocus 
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I definitely didn’t tell him to do this.
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Four-fifths of Ginger in the snow.
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My family on a walk in Highland Park.
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Eddie amused himself on the walk by stomping on the melting snow.
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And methodically poking holes in all the snow piles with a stick.
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Eddie gazing out over the “ocean”
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One of Eddie’s “scenes.” He likes to arrange his toys and books into little landscapes. Here, his National Geographic Book of Animals, and a Consumer Reports magazine is the background, and he’s arranged an assortment of his cars, trains, and a fork into a little stage. 
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Potty time. 
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That face. OMG. Matt drinks a hard cider in the background.

A photo experiment.

It’s pretty cold and dreary in Pittsburgh, these days. I’ve been feeling a little stagnant with my photos. I don’t get out much, and when I do I am so bundled up, that carrying my camera with me just seems like one more thing I need to think about.

I took a few with a friend and her son at the Natural History Museum, and that was great. I’ll post them sometime soon. But other than that, I haven’t been taking too many photos.

I feel like there are such awesome images waiting to be captured out there. Winter light can be so beautiful. I’m missing out.

I’ve been focusing a little more on improving my illustration skills. Which you can check out here, if you happen to have an interest. And I just downloaded this awesome ebook, written by a fellow Pittsburgh mama photographer, Little Story Studio. She’s kind of my secret photography crush, because her pictures are just gorgeous, yet so honest and down to earth. The way she uses natural light to capture mood is pure genius. I can’t wait to get started on some of her photography challenges.

But, in the interim, I dug out some old photos, that I didn’t originally love enough to publish, and tried out some different Photoshop processes. Pretty happy with the results. I took these last September, when my family attended a benefit at Memorial Park in New Kensington.

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Peanut Butter Cups

I made these delicious (and maybe healthier?) peanut butter cups.

This is the deal. I try not to have candy or sweets or much junk food at all in the house, because if it is there, I will eat it. But one night, man. I just really needed something to appease my sweet tooth. And I had:

silicon baking cups

chocolate chips

peanut butter

coconut oil

sea salt

a freezer

I made these. And I hid them from the kids. I do not regret it at all.

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Eddie’s Third

We had a party for Eddie last month. His birthday was a few weeks afterwards but it worked best to have the party earlier.

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A few takeaways:

One: It was easy. It was one of the lowest maintenance shindigs I have ever thrown. Sort of by accident. I rented out the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library. I didn’t make anything. I just went to Costco the morning of and bought a whole bunch of snacky-kid-food-things. I thought about decorations, or making it a theme party. But then I didn’t. The holidays are just too crazy. And I knew Eddie wouldn’t care. I thought about making him a cake, but then I didn’t. I just got a grocery store sheet cake with Lightening McQueen on it. I’m sure he liked that better.

Two: The Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library is fucking awesome. Its a large space, filled with all kinds of toys, climby things, and wheelie things, with room for tons of kids. And I think you can borrow the toys… hence the name “lending library” although we’ve never explored that option. We had the space for over six hours, all to ourselves. They have a little kitchenette, with a fridge, a microwave and just like, random plates, kid forks and sippy-cups that you might need. Small little kid tables for little kids to eat at. They have a little honor system “snack bar”, which is basically fruit cups, string cheese, applesauce pouches in the fridge. And coffee. So I could drink coffee for a dollar, even though I didn’t think about bringing coffee and definitely needed coffee. It’s like they knew. “She’s going to need coffee.” And its all 100% volunteer run. So that was great.

Three: Seriously? How fucking cool is my kid? Eddie is so cool. He’s smart and funny and kind (most of the time) and rambunctious. He says the most hilarious things. He likes cars and trains, you know, like lots of little kids. He likes to be alone a lot of the time. He’s not always the biggest fan of other people. In fact, he seems to give zero fucks about what others think. Which means it can be very difficult to persuade him once he has made up his mind. And it also means he has no interest in being cute or funny or performing in any way for strangers. Nope, he reserves the sternest silence and biggest and best stink eye for strangers. However, he’s amazingly sweet and affectionate toward people he likes. Those who have earned his trust. We got to the PTLL early to set up, so Eddie had a good half hour of all the toys to himself. He was on cloud nine, and it occurred to me, that had we invited no one at all, it would have still been a great party in his eyes. I kind of love being a mom.

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I took some pictures. But I have zero guilt about having no picture of him and his cake. Or everyone singing, or him blowing out the candles, because that was the funnest part and I’m so glad I just looked at him with my eyes instead of getting pictures. Because his little face when everyone was singing “happy birthday” to him was the greatest. He does this little thing when he gets excited where he clenches his fists and just kind of shivers a little. My sister calls it “getting ready to blast off into space.”

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It was great.

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Mixing Patterns: Thea is Ten Months Old

Thea is ten months old. She is very busy with the following activities:

  • Army crawling, but not crawling-crawling. And also log-rolling to her desired location.
  • Clapping and “dancing”
  • Eating all the baby food like a maniac.

I’m completely in love with that sweet tuft of hair that sticks up. We traveled with her over the winter holiday, and learned that she does NOT enjoy sleeping outside of her own bed. Noted for future reference.

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And since I adore the cute little star shirt that Thea is wearing in these pictures, I will take a moment to go on about how I love patterns. As I have mentioned before, I simultaneously like and dislike so many things about kids clothing: I dislike how overly gendered it is, and the very limited color palettes, and design themes for the assigned gender. But I love seeking out the stuff I really like, and putting my kids in fun color and pattern combos. They won’t let me do this forever, so I may as well enjoy it now.

Little toy rocket ship from Bannor Toys.

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Hanging out with Elliot and Lucy

Happy New Year!

In honor of the new year, yesterday I ran approximately 0.5 miles on a treadmill before nearly collapsing in exhaustion. #newyearnewme

In all seriousness I am not usually one for resolutions. They just don’t stick with me. And it seems to me, if you can’t stick to something, it probably doesn’t really mean all that much to you. So maybe reexamine why you think you want to do that thing you resolved to do.

There is one thing I’d like to do this year. I won’t call it a resolution; its more of a goal. And goals I can definitely get behind. I’d really like to get paid for one or more of my creative hobbies. Be that photography, visual design, or illustration; I’d like to start freelancing on the side. It’s not really a matter of how much money I make, its more about validation and actualization for me. These are things that I have been passionate about my entire life, and it’s time for them to become a more active presence in my life.

These are some pictures I took in November. And this little outing was one of the catalysts for my 2017 goal. It was Lynn’s idea to get our families together, head to a local park, and take some pictures that we could use for holiday cards. Her family was much more cooperative than mine! But, I still think we got some good shots, and I love the one of our boys on the tire swing together. (which Lynn actually took!)

Fun fact(s): Lynn and I went to high school, college, and grad school together about 250 miles from Pittsburgh. Counting our summer jobs during high school, we’ve worked together at five different organizations. So glad we both ended up in the same city!

Here’s to 2017! May your resolutions be stickier than mine!

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