This is my Monday morning.
I recently asked Jenny why some photos look extra soft and dreamy. After discussing the technicalities, she started to wonder why one would want a photo to look soft and dreamy; and I realized that this is exactly why I love talking photography with Jenny. She is very curious about the “how” in creating photos — but she goes beyond that, always asking the “why” as well. It isn’t just how our photos look, it is why we take them.
More often now, and especially since starting this 365 project, I’ll ask myself why I am taking a photo. And I’ll wonder, “Will this photo help me remember — and help my children remember — this time in our life?”
Remember that knitted blanket that I wrapped him up in every night? Remember listening to podcasts most mornings while I cleaned up the kitchen from the night before . . . or attempted to clean and then ended up just snuggling and nursing instead? Remember writing in little bits and pieces because it was so hard to sit down for any length of time? Remember the unmade bed? Remember, most of all, his chubby little hands and feet and the way his hair is growing in like a baby mohawk?
Well, we managed to get off the couch today. Just barely. But I’m so glad we did.
This is the northern edge of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, one of my favorite places. Travel east over the dunes, through a cedar swamp, across a meadow, and you will come to my parents’ garden. Growing up, this beautiful wild land was, quite literally, my front yard. Walking here brings me great peace. Watching my girls explore this place makes my heart swell.
I’m checking out at the grocery store — signing the credit card receipt with one hand and holding a baby with the other. My big girls are helping me with the bags and the cashier says, “Look at you, you old pro. You make it look so easy.” It was a nice thing to say, but I had to laugh to myself. Well, nice cashier, if only you knew what an effort it was to get out of the house today. And, in fact, what an effort it is most days to even get up off the couch. Life would be so much easier if we could all hang out right here, eat popcorn, and read books until this little man can talk to us and walk around on his own two legs. Not that I want to rush anything, mind you!
We didn’t have pets when the girls were babies. Now we have a cat, a dog, and ten chickens (okay, the chickens aren’t really pets, but they are a part of our daily lives). I wonder if Wallace will relate to animals any differently as he grows — because of his early introduction to our furry and feathery friends?
I’m longing to get some outdoor photos . . . but it has been cold and it is not easy to get out with a little baby. Nevertheless, I had so much fun taking photos of the girls playing with silks this afternoon. I was using a slow shutter speed purposefully — but looking back at the images, I think I should have closed down my aperture as well. It helps to have this doorway as a backdrop, especially during winter.
10 minutes after the girls were leaping around to Irish dance music, they transformed the silks into a ticket booth.
Two years ago, before Christmas, Jeffrey put a large wrapped box under the tree. Over the next couple of weeks he made a lot of comments about it — things like, “I really splurged on our family this year. . .” and “It’s a pretty major gift . . . I hope everyone likes it.” The box was the source of much curiosity for the girls and me. Was it a game? A new camera? (My secret hope.) Maybe even a TV?! (We don’t have a television.) Finally on Christmas Eve, Jeffrey said it was time to open the box. Inside were six fabric bags, containing matching red footed pajamas for everyone in our family, including the cat and dog. The girls were ecstatic, and I burst out laughing because it was just about the last thing I would have expected my husband to buy.
The girls loved their “feeted” as they called them, and they wore them and wore them until they became “un-feeted.” And even after their toes stuck out, both girls favored those jammies above all others. But our girls have grown over the past two years, and I hadn’t seen those red pajamas for a while, until last night when Ellen must have pulled her pair out of the back of a dresser drawer. “Mama,” she asked me, walking into the hallway, light from the bathroom spilling onto her toes, “How did these get so tight?”
Grandmommy knit these beautiful balls for him. I think he is feeling quite loved.
Wallace had a baby date tonight. I took a lot of photos but this one with the daddy hands was my favorite. So much love for those daddies.
We are getting ready to go out for a walk on this balmy February day.
Her: “Mama, can I wear those boots that Aunt Kim gave me?”
Me: “Hmmm . . . those aren’t really snow boots. They are more like fashion rain boots.”
Her: “Well, I’m going to wear them.”
Me, slightly annoyed: “But they aren’t warm and they have heels!”
Me, halfway through our walk: “I like those fashion boots, Amabel, they are very photogenic.”
I’m watching her play and thinking about a podcast I listened to this morning. A neurosurgeon interviewed on “On Being,” cited studies that show how imaging some things can be as powerful as actually doing them. So tonight I’m going to imagine myself on the beach, exploring a place like this little world Ellen created on a baking sheet. I could sure benefit from an outside adventure and a little fresh air — even if only in my imagination.