Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sitting on the water's edge.

The sun was reaching the edge of the deep blue sky. Not a cloud to be seen for miles. As I sat there contemplating what to do next, I was surprised to find the ocean to be as calm as I'd ever seen it. No white caps, no crashing waves or thunderous sounds; just the sea lapping up the shore as if it were a relaxing summers day. Not an ounce of thrashing at the water's edge; only peace and serenity.

I wondered how cold it would feel if I just walked right in. Imaging myself walking right down the slope of the beach, continuing off the steep ledge near shore to sit on the deep dark bottom. I disregarded the thought, since I knew I'd end up floating to the surface and back to shore. There was no current to be pulled out by. I didn't have a towel or a change of clothes, so I sat there instead wanting to feel more alive; as the numbness was dulling the senses that existed before.

Often as a teenager and thereafter, when I was struggling with coming to terms with a loss or choice in life, I'd sit at the beach looking for answers. I always feel the presence of those who've passed on, down by the water's edge. There I'm faced with the reminder that as much as we want to control our fates, the world has it's own plans. Much like the ocean, we have no control over the tides, the thrashing, or the calm moments. At any time, it could shift. The ocean always holds answers for me as God's whispers blow off the water.

Footprints is one of my favorite pieces of writing. My parents had it on their wall growing up, and I now have their framed print on my mantel. When I need help, I go to the beach, toes in the sand, waiting to be carried. Most people don't know why living near the beach is so important to me, but maybe this story helps you to understand. When we lived 20 miles away, it was not the same to sit around a reservoir digging my feet into the dirt. Unless I was running, not much was coming to the surface.

In the past twelve years, since the first step in my lifelong journey of running began, I can only think of three or four times where I realized how deeply I not only want to run, but needed to run. Running is more about mental health for me than medals, races, or times. Though, I do enjoy the snacks at the end of a race. It is my therapy. Being pregnant, more sick than last time (where I ran up until six months pregnant), I've not gotten more than a run or two in. It's been difficult to face the challenges ahead without the ability to use my body as I would like to knowing what is in store.

I'm not in any healthy shape, I'm sure I'll receive a firm talking to at my next midwife appointment, and I am still exhausted daily despite resting as much as is humanly possible having a three-year-old-baby-guy running around. My body is craving tons of salts and sweets in order to curb this lingering nausea as I venture into the 20 week mark. I even want to drink coffee (bleh!).

This coming year won't be a success story of getting super fit while pregnant, reaching any milestones, or doing much of anything other than taking it one day at a time. For someone always so ambitious, it's hard not to feel like this this year is a waste. I don't do well on "idle".

I've decided, for now, not to give up. I may not be able to give 100% to everything and everyone, but I'm going to do my best a little at a time. This past weekend, I took the time to garden and remembered how much fun it was to play in the dirt. Now I get why Miles loves to scoop, squish, and dig everywhere. I wasn't going to plant anything this year, overwhelmed with all the life changes, but I am glad I chose to get these seeds started.

Watching the garden bloom is a soft reminder of how slow the process of growth is in nature, yet how bountiful the result when given the right time, nurturing, and light. Maybe I will see growth this year, just not in clear measurable ways.

I started cilantro a few weeks ago and it already grew like crazy.

More herbs and plants starting in the garden window I love so much.

Life has a funny way of sending you signs.

After getting my garden together, Chris and I went to the Christmas Tree Shop (Miles spent time with his MiMa and PopPop). I wanted to look at a little adirondack chair from their flier. On the flier, it was white with a cat on it. My initial thought was, how cute, I wonder if Ruby would even sit on it (she's like a real dog who gets dirty and all)... but Bambi would've LOVED it.

When we arrived at the store, who was on the box... on a ruby red chair no less - - my little girl, giant deer ears and all. I miss you baby, but I know you're around growling somewhere.

Chris wouldn't let me get the chair... He thinks I'm nuts. You know; we've already established that.

So, I went on to spend the rest of the weekend with my guys working on home projects. The list is endless, but since we love our forever home, it's more enjoyable as well.

Miles went under the house with Daddy to run internet cables... he loves his headlamp.

And he loves my old tripod to take pictures. I need to get him a camera...

A Miles original with me supervising from the couch.

And Ruuuubs... we sing to you every day "Ruby, dooby, do". You love to play fetch, you are the sweetest dog I've ever met. I dremeled your nails all by myself, we played outside, and I brushed your teeth! You never snarl and you're all just love, licks and cuddles. It's hard not to feel like Bambi had something to do with you coming into our lives at just the right time.

Don't look so sad, soon enough it'll warm up and we'll be outdoors all day every day.

- kate -

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A sentence per picture from the #NesiWedding2015

Miles was in his first wedding over the weekend at the ripe old age of 3! I don't think I've been in a wedding yet (other than as a reader once), and I'm far older. Doesn't he look handsome?

Daddy and Miles had big jobs at the end of the aisle.

Miles stole the show, as he loves to do.

And they're married!

A family photo thanks to PopPop. Whew, I feel so huge already...

And someone's puppet made a grand appearance at the reception for the Best Man's Toast...

I didn't take too many pictures at the wedding as I left my big guns at home and used my 70D and a 35mm L lens for fun. I couldn't pass up a bunch of Miles looking dapper for the record books!

- kate -
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Being Pulled Out by the Current

If you've read this blog for some time, you'll come to realize I don't write when I am struggling; trying to make a positive out of a negative and failing miserably. This past year has been extremely trying and I'm not even close to making it through what lies ahead. I've been searching deep for the words to express my sadness and how to find the positive within it.

This past week was overwhelming, exhausting physically and mentally, and really took it's toll. I've been summoned to the darker side and I'm just too tired to fight it. Wrong decision after wrong decision.

It's as if I've been sucked out with the under current, feverishly fighting to swim against the rip tide that is trying to drown me instead of swimming with it and finding a calmer place to make my way back to shore. I'm just about ready to give up and let it pull me out to sea.

Phone call after phone call, email after email, I've been fighting the little things in life while trying to process something quite bigger. In just the past five days, I've fought with insurance companies (who doesn't these days), dealt with crappy over-priced auto repairs, drove all over the state for two days, and found out I do not qualify for family leave under our wonderful state and federal guidelines.

I'm facing a maximum of fourteen days off using all of my sick time to spend with my newborn before having to return to work. I love where I work now and those I work with, but I had grand plans to do things right the second time around. I thought I'd be able to avoid the depression I experienced with Miles in those early weeks and months; yet it's already crept up on me with this new reality.

I started out this pregnancy ten pounds overweight. I have gained more than I should've at this point much to my dismay. I've been knocked down, dragged out, and down for the count for months with no end of this morning sickness and exhaustion in sight. It's difficult to have no control over your body and your mind. It's even more difficult to feel little control over anything else in relation.

I wish I had the zeal and passion I saw last night pouring out of Neil Degrasse Tyson on 60 Minutes. To feel that exuberant about a subject, and feeling like a kid again. For a quick moment, I felt like maybe I could reignite the zest for life I've had when I trained for a half marathon, picked fresh food from the farm or started a photography business and took all sorts of risks without fear of failure; that was before children. Then the thought faded into the darkness.

At least this baby guy has been doing very well despite my downfall. Not that I get credit for his good looks, behavior, amazing intelligence or quick wit...

Maybe the weather will warm up and help me make better decisions and see some positive aspect of my failure aside from no loss in income. Detachment feels like the only way to survive. I realize there are far bigger problems in the world for others and I should suck it up, but I'm just tired of battle after battle; is this all there is?

- kate -
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Three years ago today.

“The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.” (unknown)

Three years ago today, Miles entered into my life. Over the past several years, I've struggled to keep up with all of my passions with photography, cooking, running, and getting back into shape on this blog as I entered into the realm of motherhood.

I've shared the ups, the downs, and in-between of my experiences and many of Miles' enjoyable moments openly, with some inner conflict. As Miles has grown, I've realized how much less I want to share his amazing comedic timing, or the silly things he chooses to do as a child. I feel a sense of responsibility to allow him this time to explore without his life being on display, for-potentially-ever on the internets; searchable when he's ninety-five and working on his retirement career.

I've chosen to write less about his life and growth this past year, as I feel now the choices should be up to him to share in the future as he sees fit (and we'll teach him about that when the time comes). He cracks us up, he drives us batty, and he takes us for a ride on a daily basis. I may not always make the best decisions, but this is one I'm starting to really like; giving him the freedom to be captured in our hearts, not always on camera or published online.

This past month, I'm not sure I've taken more than a few photos. Gone are the days of hundreds of images, or thousands in my LR catalog at the end of the year. I'm trying to savor more of the present, while focusing on the future.

I haven't been writing much, as there hasn't been much to share. I'm still in the throws of morning sickness at almost 17 weeks now, which I experienced through 20 weeks with Miles. I'm somewhat exhausted, though I can peel myself off the couch now and then to get outside for fresh air with the baby guy.

Cooking seems to be a hit or miss thing these days, as I have little desire to eat, create, or make meals. On occasion, I've felt a burst of excitement or energy to make something new, but those days are still a bit of a ways into the future. Even foods I've always loved have just become banal to my palate.

Exercise has been a love/hate relationship. Weeks ago, when attempting to workout through the utter exhaustion, I would find some peace from the nausea only to return home barely able to move, and sicker than ever. It wasn't worth the effort most days, that hour of inner peace, for it all came back with a vengeance.

I'm starting to feel a bit better with exercising again, sticking with weight lifting and the elliptical, but most days with our schedules, I've put it aside to get other things done. As the weather warms, I know I'll be outdoors more with Miles at the playground and walking Ruby (she's loving the warmer temps!).

That's where things stand. Not much to speak of, other than loving my career again, and trying to make it through the days and weeks of pregnancy (it's not my favorite experience as it is for so many others). We're very much looking forward to finding out what addition will enter into our lives this year, too!

As always, I'm looking to stay healthier this go around and find that joy for photography, writing, and cooking again as well. In the coming weeks, when the energy reveals itself and my passions return or redefine themselves, I'm sure you'll see more excitement on the blog.

Happy Birthday, my little baby guy! It's going to be a fun day of activities with Momm-a and Daddy today :) I'm not sure who is more excited :D but I cannot wait to see how much more you change in the coming year!

- kate -
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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Greek Salad, Homemade Hummus, and a Secret Message

My brain has been on the fritz now for a few months. It took me three trips to various food stores to finally get all of the ingredients for this homemade greek salad for lunches this week. And well, I actually want to eat this goodness once again.

I had a list, but forgot a few items from the recipe, then realized later that we ran out of olive oil. Why do I make homemade stuff? I guess I enjoy driving myself crazy. It would have been far easier to just buy it prepared or anything prepared at the first store, ha.

This weekend, we spent time with friends, Abbey and Jay. Abbey has been making homemade hummus for quite some time and I had a chance to eat almost all of sample her hummus. It was yummy! We talked about tahini, and I mentioned I had tried to make it years ago, but never fell in love with the flavor.

Thus, I was so delighted by her hummus (I'm not a fan of store hummus so much) I decided to try to make it again! I toasted the sesame seeds first.

Then I processed them with 3 tbsp of olive oil (right before I ran out of it!). And thus, we have tahini.

Then I made hummus using dried chick peas... which took all day to cook. I had to keep shutting them off to go back to the store, so it was a nice long 5 hour process of the fast soak method and then cooking. I always forget how long dried beans take... canned would've been easier. I just like the healthier "idea" and costs of dried vs. canned.

The final hummus was fantastic. I'm bringing it for a snack this week at work most days. YUM!

In other news, Miles is turning into a little photographer. He uses one of my old tripods and sets it up to "take pictures" even though he doesn't have a camera on it. He's too funny! I want to look into kiddie digital cameras so we can actually save some of his photos. A few times he's grabbed a hold of my camera and snapped some interesting ones...

And we posted this on social media a few days ago... "Miles is cooking up something good." After a little while, people caught on to the hidden meaning...

...on his shirt.

This go around, I just haven't felt like posting a "guess what / we are" social post. We've been trying to share with others in person instead of going the whole online route. Personally, I loved keeping it my little secret for quite some time (aside from being sicker than ever before and struggling to just live a basic life). It was something the world didn't have to know about, but now it's getting a little more obvious as the weeks progress.

It's going to be one fun summer!

- kate -
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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Simple recipe fail.

I love writing in riddles. I oftentimes don't directly address my thoughts here, but I hint at things changing or happening in life... only to see who might be paying attention; and to be surprised at who actually is. This little blog has changed shape, size, and everything in-between in the last six years. I cannot believe I've been at it, almost daily, for all that time. Who knew I had so much to say, or not say.

Just thought I'd share that. It was on my mind.

So, while I may seem like a great cook, because I am - - - right? ...here's a fail this weekend: I forgot the oil before baking eggplant chips.

They smelled so good though, man.

Whoops! Simple mistake. Bummer.

- kate -
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Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY Studio Backdrop Stand out of PVC Pipes for $20 #photographer

When I was asked to put together a white background for an indoor winter photo session for my first ever and longest client, I was a bit nervous, but I was going to rise to her request!

I usually shoot newborn portraits indoors, and other portraits outdoors (aside from my own personal shoots). When it comes to backdrops, I've used them often with newborns, but easily draping them over furniture to set them up. This was new, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Spend hundreds on a metal kit, sandbags, etc.? I wasn't sure how often I'd use it, so I didn't want to go down that route just yet. I do however wish I came across this idea years ago, because it's totally going to improve my newborn photography setup now.

DIY Backdrop Stand out of PVC Pipes for $20

I used PVC pipes because they are lightweight and easily taken apart to travel. They are also relatively inexpensive and allowed us to build to the specifications we wanted (and allow for future expansion).

The total size is 5 feet high by 5 feet wide. This is enough for children, or sitting adults.

We purchased two 10 foot pvc pipes at 1 1/2" diameter. Larger diameters seemed a bit much, but the thinner wouldn't have held my heavy white blanket.

For the base, we purchased 4 2ft pieces and cut them to size.

The joining pieces are elbows and T pieces, and we bought the finishing end caps for the base.

I also bought 2 heavy duty clamps ($2 each) to use to clip my blankets or any fabrics to the backdrop and they worked like a charm.

I can make this stand 5 feet wide by 5 feet high, or I can move the poles around and go with a thinner width at 3 feet and 5 feet high, etc. I also wanted the central bar to be able to make it smaller for a newborn session, as I don't need 5 ft tall for those sessions.

It is rather sturdy. Chris used pipe sealant on the base parts to make it solid, but the rest of the pieces are able to come apart. You can always use sandbags to hold it down if you're using heavier backdrops. I also liked that it was lightweight, as if it were to come down on someone, it would not hurt like a metal stand and need all the extra baggage to keep it in place.

The T joining pieces - all come apart.

The elbow pieces.

And when taken apart, this is how I store and travel with it. I can take apart the sides even more, but that wasn't needed in order to fit into my car.

This project was quite fun to pick out the pieces and put together. I already have ideas for future sessions using it, with my own children, as well as with Chris and clients. Chris plans to use it as a backdrop when he does video podcasting, and I may look into other backdrop types or fabrics for something fun. I no longer need white walls in my house, as this can go anywhere the light is best!

I'm all about keeping things simple, mobile, and safe. This did just the job!

If you have any questions, please contact me and I will do my best to help you get setup.

- kate -
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Because I'm Happy.

I had all intentions of sitting down to write up a bunch of helpful blog posts and stories about the recent week, but then I decided to take a nap and have oatmeal and blueberry tea.

So much has been swirling through my mind, but one thing that hasn't -> stress. I absolutely love my new position and the new people I work with. I can finally get back to being a "librarian" in every sense of the word; instead of whatever it was that I was imprisoned in before. What a difference a week makes!

God is good. Life is good. I feel like a whole new person. I feel so lighthearted. So ready to tackle anything that comes my way and ready to really learn and grow more. I have no regrets; it all happened for a reason. And good thing, because this guy needs a fun, happy Momma.

Chris magically convinced Miles to wear jeans today, because hey, you can put your tools in them. So, bam. We finally have a kid who will wear regular pants other than to parties. He always says, "Mom, jeans are for birthday parties."

The guys are out doing house reno and repair at MiMa and PopPop's today.

I'll be enjoying some time to relax (should probably go to the gym...) and messing up recipes by not following all the directions (whoops!).

Ah, it feels so nice to be able to get back to normal life again. Now... if spring would hurry up, then I can get back outdoors, too!

I'm debating on some new workout goals. I'd like to get stronger than I ever have been and focus less on cardio. With the new job, I'm pumped to get back into a normal routine again. I am hoping to hop off the elliptical this coming week and back into the weights area. Though I'm afraid to face how weak I have become.

Always restarting, but never giving up completely.

What are your goals for the new month ahead?

- kate -
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Nathan's One Year Portraits

I can't believe it's been six years since I first photographed Charlotte as one of my first ever newborn sessions, and now after all these years and many many sessions I've been honored to photograph her with her little bro as he's turned one!

Paula wanted an indoor session for the winter to capture his little teeth and his big personality. It was too cold to go outdoors this time of year! So, I worked my magic and had Chris build me a quick backdrop stand (details later) and we put it to good use indoors.

I'd say not bad for some fun while the snow fell outside on Valentine's Day!

P.S. I can't get my photo blog stomper thing to look just right, so the actual photos are not as grainy... meh, technology.

Looking forward to catching up with these little ones outdoors when it's warmer this summer,

- kate -
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

If it was easy, everybody would do it.

A quick video that I came across might give you a little push... It definitely reminded me of where I need to focus and stop getting distracted with useless activities to pass the time.

Turn your pain into greatness.
Allow your pain to push you where you need to be.

Happy Thursday. Today is my Friday :)

- kate -
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