Thursday, May 31, 2012

the last day of pre-k.

last day of pre-kHis last day of school was Tuesday.
Max and Miss Michell
And his end-of-school-year program was that night.
one final walk to the car
The final walk back to the car from the church.
He will officially be a big Kindergartener in three months.
When did he grow- up? How did that happen so fast?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

four years & a little bit of me.

almost open

I say "bless you" when my dog sneezes.

I believe one of the best things you can do for your kids is provide them with an education.

I believe it's never too late to go back to school.

No matter where I live, I will always call Seattle home.

I would go back to my college days in a heartbeat. SO much fun.

You couldn't pay me to revisit junior high or high school.

I love holding hands with Max. I will miss the feel of his little hand in mine when he gets older - terribly.

I once kept a rubber mallet by my bed when my husband was traveling and there was news of a bad guy pretending to be a salesman doing bad things to women. My husband and a few friends just laughed and laughed when they heard it was a rubber mallet. Still makes me chuckle.

I have irrational fears about being outside when it's thundering. (It's thundering and my dog is whining to go outside. Um, no. You'll have to hold it dog.) (There was thunder and lightening when I wrote this Friday night.)

Oh so torn between ranch and blue cheese. Blue cheese usually wins out, but ranch I do love thee.

Doritos are evil, but I love them.

Currently addicted to Grey's Anatomy. I am watching from the beginning on Hulu. I'm on season two. I have 114 107 episodes left to watch. I'll be watching on my laptop for a long, long time. I hope it doesn't burn-up before I finish. (Or maybe I do...then I could get a new laptop...)

This book is making me want to make some big changes in my life. More on this later.

Other newly purchased books: Grace Based Parenting and The Gifts of Imperfection

Max had his speech therapy assessment Friday. He tested at a 6 and-a-half to 7 year-old level. He's going to keep me on my toes.

It irks me when people hang the U.S. flag incorrectly. Stars always, always go in the upper-left hand corner people. No matter which way you hang it. Always.

Thank you to all of you who left lovely comments about the photos in my last post. You are all too kind. They really are some of my favorites from this year. In fact, they might just be my favorites.

Today is the last day of preschool. Pray for me and our three months of summer break. I am scared.

Tomorrow night is Max's kindergarten open house. Sniffle, sniffle...

And finally, by the grace of God and pharmaceuticals - I am four years seizure-free today. I plan to talk a bit more about this later today or tomorrow.

(And my post edit - my brother finally proposed to his girlfriend on Saturday night! YAY!!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

the light: his morning.

A little slice of our early morning today. He zones out watching PBS Kids (great mom, huh?) until it's time to eat and get ready for school.
watching tv

the blanket
Today I decided to underexpose a bit and showcase the darkness and shadows. A little different, but I like it. Might as well use our dark, dreary days to my creative advantage, right? Perhaps I've found a style I like.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

52 linked: anger

Linked 52: anger

I'm a bit of a hot-head. There, I said it outloud. My mom, dad, brother and husband know it, and probably even Max senses it from me :-(  I let the little stuff really get to me. I can go from zero to 60 in seconds. More like, zero to 120 in seconds. And then I just let it gnaw at me for hours or days. My blood pressure goes through the roof (fairly certain of this...), heart pounds, and my chest, neck and face flush (well, this kind of happens all the time when I talk to just about anyone, which I am VERY self-conscious about. Extremely. So much so that I have developed a bit of anxiety about it and wear turtlenecks when I'm going to be in a social situation and the weather permits {good thing I live in a cloudy, cool state} and rarely wear v-neck shirts of any kind. Need to see the doctor about this. But I digress...) Anyway, I'm not sure when I became the girl with the anger issues. I mean, I don't consider myself an angry person. But I let so much little stuff that I should just let roll-off my back bother me that I can easily spend too much time in an angry place  - if it's one of those days. And I'm a thinker, so I can be stuck in my head for a long time mulling-over that thing that set me off. (Oh I am again painting a not-so-pretty picture of myself...)
Examples of things that I let get to me:
Having to tell Max to leave the dog alone 239 times a day.
Having to tell Max to get dressed 95 times before he does it.
Cleaning-up messes that others make. I'm oh-so serious when I say "You make the mess. You clean it up. Now. Not later. And you clean it up thoroughly." A half-hearted cleaning-up of a mess will make me even more mad.
Going to the bank to get something out of the safe-deposit box only to be told to sit down and wait, and then watch the employees help three other customers. (Yea, that happened yesterday. And yes, I got up and told them that I wasn't happy to be asked to wait while they help other customers who came in after me. Got a five dollar Starbucks card and many apologies from the nice gal who helped me.)
Just a few examples...there are many more things that set me off - the driver who cuts me off, or doesn't signal before changing lanes, all of that little stuff that sure, it's annoying, but it sets me off more than it should.  I realize none of this is at all healthy for me - mentally or most importantly, physically. I'm sure my body has been flooded with enough stress hormones to power a small city. I don't have to be a doctor to know that's not good. So, what do I do with all of this anger? Honestly, I'm not sure how to manage it. I'm aware of my problem and thinking about it. That's a start. And when I do get upset and I'm at home, I clean. It's my little release.
So you get a selfie today. Taken weeks ago, but I chose it because you can see the top of my head, and I did describe myself as a hot-head. ;-) And now you know even more about me that you probably didn't really need to know. But you still love me, right?

Monday, May 14, 2012

mustache max: 2012.

getting into character
You may remember this series I took last boy with a 'stache. I told him he could play with the mustache band-aids only if I could take his picture. Well I bought a little package of mustaches a couple of weekends ago and when he found them and wanted to play with them I told him only if I could take his picture.

my little big man




I need to find things to bribe him with more often.

Friday, May 11, 2012

linked 52: up

Friends, I got nothing today. We've had blue or mostly blue skies all week with more on the way - with temps maybe getting up to 90 on Sunday and Monday. I've just been looking up at those blue skies, trying to enjoy it while we've got it. And after the week I've had alone with my son and dog while Eric is in Seattle (let's just say parts of it haven't been pretty), I need to just take my time to look up to Him.

52 Linked 2012 A new theme every week.
A few other friends are joining-in on the adventure.
Please stop by and see their interpretations of our word of the week.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

how motherhood wrecked me.


The title of this post sounds completely awful. I am well aware of that. But it's honest. And before you jump to conclusions and decide, "Well now, she's not the gal I thought she was" - hear me out...

A few weeks ago my friend Tracey posted this blog post, and asked us share about the good and bad of motherhood, and what we are learning to value. I read through the comments and was almost finished with writing my comment when it occurred to me that what I was writing sounded really awful and downer-like compared to the other comments. So, I highlighted and clicked delete. Instead I told Tracey that everyone else said it better, and that I had written something and decided to delete it. She replied to my comment and said that she still would love to hear what I had to say. 

And this is what I told her (my exact email back to her)...

I'll try not to ramble on too much... ;)

Having a child wrecked me. I know that sounds awful. Horrible. But it sums-up how I felt and still feel at times. I had horrible PPD. I was so lost. Still am really. It's called Maternal Depression at this point - when it lasts this long. I read an interesting book about it called The Ghost in the House. Very good. I could relate to just about everything in it.
Motherhood has shown me that I'm not all of the things I thought I was - like patient and calm and nice all of the time. I had no idea I was a screamer until I had Max. It brought out a lot of negative characteristics in me. A lot of things that make me hang my head in shame like I've never done before. And not a day goes by that I don't think, "You aren't mother material. You never should have been gifted this wonderful child. He deserves more than you could ever give him." (that's why my struggle with not being able to have a second child hurts so much - because even though I want another, I don't think I'm deserving of another one.)

That said, I think it wrecked me for the good. I think He is working in me more so now than ever before through Max. He is showing me unconditional love, and to look at the world with wonder, and to ask questions about everything and anything, and to laugh at the silly stuff that we learn to not laugh at as we get older. He is showing me His grace every single day.
And the greatest thing He is teaching me is that I am worthy of love. I am loveable. He is teaching me - through the depths of Max's love for ME - to love myself. To love myself through all of those things that make me feel ugly and make me hang my head in shame.

Yes, the greatest lesson motherhood is teaching me is to LOVE MYSELF.

(And now I am crying while I drink my Coke and eat my fries...)

I thought long and hard about sharing this with all of you out there.
My words aren't pretty. I'm almost ashamed to have written them out and sent them to someone (whom I haven't even met in person) to read.  But having been one of the many moms who attended regular meetings for moms with PPD, I know there are a lot of women out there who suffer in silence. It's the elephant in the room that moms are so darn afraid to talk about or even acknowledge. And that kind of makes me mad and sad all at the same time. 
Being pregnant for nine months and giving birth to a child is life-changing for a woman. Sure, men change when they become fathers, but it is nothing compared to the change that women endure. It's hard, it's painful, it's exhausting. The Andrea that went into the hospital and gave birth to Max five years ago is not the same Andrea that is sitting here typing this. That Andrea was left at the hospital and is wandering the halls. The Andrea that went in those doors did not come out. I used to jokingly tell my friends this after I became a mom - when we would complain about missing our former selves before kids. There was really a lot of truth behind those words for me though. Within hours of coming home from the hospital with Max I was in full-on identity crisis mode. I had no idea who I was anymore or who I was supposed to be. I was thrown into the role of mom where I had no idea what I was doing. I longed for the old me - the me who knew exactly who she was and what she did. I still long for the old me some days - the me who was settled and comfortable with who she was. The me who was confident and independent and knew what she was doing. She's still in there somewhere. I just have to find her again, and I have a feeling that may take awhile.

There is so much more of my story I could tell, and I do plan to tell it one of these days when I get my thoughts in order. Of course I hope my honesty here hasn't shocked any of you. I think every mom worries that other moms will think she isn't a good mom, or doesn't love her child enough. I love my son to pieces. So much so that it hurts sometimes. I have one child. One. I get to devote every ounce of my being to just him. This one little person with the 'stache is teaching more than any other person has about how to love myself just as I am: through the good, the bad, the ugly, and the shame.

***I have to say thank you to Tracey for reaching out and asking to hear what I had to say, even if it wasn't pretty. Thank you for listening, friend.***

Friday, May 4, 2012

52 linked: mother

71/366 one of my favorite photos from my wedding day.
Dear Mom,
I just got off the phone with you. You once again let me talk your ear off.
You always listen. Just listen.
You always have the best advice for me and all of my problems.
And you tell me how much your worry about me. And how much you love me.
Do you know that I worry about you? I don't tell you, but I do.
Do you know that I wonder what the in the world I will do someday when you are gone? Who will I talk to? Who will I go to for parenting advice? Who will I be able to go to when I need lifting-up? Thinking about all of that makes me want to cry.
I always enjoy talking to you. You show me the positive when all I tend to see is the negative. You continue to parent and show me a different way to look at the world without belittling the "glass half empty" girl I tend to be. You are still tending to my growth - to the growth of the girl you will always be a mother to no matter my age. You accept me just as I am - and I think that's the biggest gift a mother can give her child.
Thank you for all you have done for me. A million thanks will never be enough.
You make my heart sing.
I love you.

(An iPhone photo of a photo will have to do for this post. Taken on my wedding day. This is my favorite photo of my mom.)

52 Linked 2012 A new theme every week.
A few other friends are joining-in on the adventure.
Please stop by and see their interpretations of our word of the week.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

on my mind lately: photography

I spend far too much time looking "out there" at other people's work.
Wondering how they get wonderfully clean, color edits. I've not been happy with my color edits lately. I sit down to edit and I'm overwhelmed with choices and actions and knowing what I want it to look like but having no idea how to get there. I don't really have time to spend hours in front of my PC playing around in Elements or watching tutorial videos. I have a five year old. My time should be spent with him, not some computer program. So I don't pick-up my camera.

Wondering how they can take photos with high contrast and not end-up with chromatic aberration. I've been researching and reading and Googling, and I just walk away from my computer more frustrated than before. I know there is a solution, but I have no idea what it is or what I'm doing wrong. So I don't pick-up my camera.

I look at my surroundings and wonder what is worth photographing. All I see is a mess. So I clean and vacuum and wash dishes and try to make peace with the clutter. So I don't pick-up my camera.

I think about what to blog about and my mind is blank. No ideas. Nothing creative. Writing is not my forte, so sitting down to be creative in this space is really tough for me. I spend so much time reading everything else out there that I end-up feeling overwhelmed. So I don't pick-up my camera.

I have so SO many questions and no one to ask them to. And in this creative world there seems to be this unwritten rule that people aren't going to share too much with you for fear of letting you in on the "secret" to their style. I totally get that and I completely respect it, and that's part of the reason I don't ask the questions. I feel like I shouldn't. I'm a hands-on learner. I learn best by talking with others and exchanging ideas and information. I don't have any photographer friends here to bounce ideas off of. So I don't pick-up my camera.

You can see the pattern here...not picking-up my camera.
And I know (I know) that the best way to resolve all of the above problems is to pick-up my camera.
But it all seems so overwhelming some days:
I pick-up my camera, struggle with settings, delete a few photos in-camera, download, criticize my work, delete a lot more, see if there is a blog post among one or two of the photos, sit down with Elements and criticize some more, get overwhelmed with editing options so I hurriedly edit and settle for something other than what I envisioned, struggle to say what I want to say in my blog post, publish, and walk away wondering what I'll post about next time. Wondering what I'll take photos of next time. 

Why is it such a struggle? Why is the creative process so full of self-criticism? I don't look forward to it. I really kind of dread it because I know it will take me to this place of comparison and self-doubt and frustration with my photography skills, and ultimately with myself.
I'm frustrated and I don't know what to do.

And that is what has been on my mind lately.

(And it took me a long time to hit publish on this post.)

april 365+1

UntitledI was feeling lazy last tonight and didn't even want to try to create a collage in Picasa (maybe for May.) So you get the photo from my Project 365 Pro app off my phone. And hey, this way you get to see the photos in order without me going nutty trying to put them in order myself. I think the size is a lot better - you can actually see the individual photos! I kind of fell off the 365+1 bandwagon a bit this month. Some days I just wasn't feeling it.
{The 17th and 19th are my favorites. :) }

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


May 1, 2004 we said I do.
And eight years later we're still holding on to one another.