Tag Archives: photography

The Up and Up

These pictures are from Friday when it felt a whole lot like spring instead of winter. It was one of those days that idealistic moms-to-be daydream about as they rub their pregnant bellies

Benton and I woke up and he gave me a bunch of kisses and said “I ooou.” This is his short version of “I love you.” We had breakfast  and then went out to Grant Park.

He is completely obsessed with stairs since it is his latest skill, so I thought it would be fun to go to the statue of Grant and let B loose onto the hill. He went nuts for about an hour or so. It was nearly 50 degrees outside, and the sun was almost warm.

I offered him my hand a few times to see if he wanted help on the way down the stairs. Denied. BIG KID. I get it.

After all those stairs, we went to a new restaurant in my south loop hood called Waffles. I was so happy, just sitting there on my date with little B after a fun morning in the park. The waffles were perfect. Sometimes life is so good and simple.

Benton then passed out in the stroller on the way home, and I transferred him to the bed without any trouble. We both napped. Then we went to another park in the afternoon with a million other neighborhood kids. This is completely bonkers in January. The sunset blew my mind. I ended the day with a fabulous tapas dinner with good friends and stayed out way past my bedtime. Just a really sweet day, no?

Not every day is like last Friday. Especially in the winter. Today, I found myself in the familiar winter funk again today. I wish I could say that it wasn’t common for me to feel this way, but I can’t claim that. I don’t like my mood to be so dependent on the weather and I would do almost anything not to feel this way. But it’s extremely hard for me to control. So grey is what I felt. This winter has been so mild so far, that it makes me feel even more silly to feel so low.

I have probably written about winter sadness every year on this blog. I’m tired of writing about it and certainly tired of feeling it. But I figure I may as well stick a few paragraphs in here at the end of some pretty pictures and get it out-of-the-way for 2012. So there you go.

I know that getting out of the house and getting exercise helps. Seeing friends and not being alone too much helps. And sometimes comfort food really does help. Taking photos and posting them here helps me end the day end on a good note. So thanks, little blog. You do me good.

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The Museum

Hi there! You want to go on another walk? You want to Go GO GO GO on an adventure? You and Benton have a lot in common. Poor guy never knows if he is getting into the stroller for a ride to the dry cleaner or a museum. It could be the PARK!…or the grocery store.  The stroller is the equivalent of toddler gambling. He participates because he knows it could be his ride something really good.

Lucky for you and him, today we had plans to meet friends at the Field Museum.

I adore the museum campus. The Shedd is my favorite building, but the Field is a respectable behemoth of a place. The park that they reside on is outstanding (in the summer).

Look how pretty the Shedd is, sitting with the best view of the city and the lake.

Back to the Field. We met up with Kate and her littles this morning and let the kiddos run around the stuffed animal exhibit before feeding them a lunch at the in-museum Corner Bakery. Please enjoy these blurry photos. The museum is…dark. And toddlers are fast.

He repeatedly ran towards the whale hanging from the ceiling. BIG FISHY. BIG FISHY. He woke up from his nap requesting said fish.

Next, we always visit the bears. This place is better than a zoo for little ones, because there are no crowds and the animals are super close. They are just dead is all.

Then comes the hundreds of stuffed monkeys. Kind of creepy and yet another good place to show off the always cute toddler skill of "What sounds does the (such and such animal) make?" See also: more running.

Boy howdy, these are blurry and terrible photos. But how cute is this stroller maintenance in the African exhibit? Elise is master of her umbrella stroller. Don't mess with her. Don't.

Then after lunch, it is a race against the clock to get the kids home to nap. This is Benton's face about 2 seconds after being snuggled into his stroller palace. He fell asleep 5 seconds after this was taken. Stroller naps are dangerous beasts for us, but I had luck with the transfer into the bed today.

We are lucky to have the Field and other museums as our neighbors. So many exhibits to see, especially as Benton gets a little older. His brain is absorbing and analyzing more than ever, and I can’t wait to see what happens when he starts telling me what’s in that growing mind of his. I think he is going to be a pretty cool kid.

Four Score and What Seems Like a Bajillion Years Ago

Well, lucky YOU!

I just typed and deleted two paragraphs about blogging and why sometimes I do it and other times I don’t. But no one really cares about all that, and I don’t feel the need to apologize or construct some fake blog guilt, because WHO HAS THE TIME? It would be dumb.

Anyway. I’m still here and I am perfectly fine. Yay! Shockingly, I have a lot of energy for someone who parents a toddler and is approaching the third trimester of growing a baby boy. I still don’t sleep through the night and probably won’t for a while, but I am kind of used to it after a couple of years. Most days I can function as a normal human. So, no that is not why I have been away.

The other day, I was looking through some old photos for a #flashbackfriday pic to upload to Instagram. I found myself lost in my DPH (daily picture of happiness) albums from not so long ago but what feels like a lifetime ago. Unexpectedly, I got homesick. A real achy feeling. I missed my dusty camera. My REAL camera. I missed my old neighborhoods. I want to look at things differently again, searching for the DPH that I used to post so religiously each day.

I want to take the time to fall in love with little details and daily moments, and to make capturing and reflecting on them a priority again. I want to celebrate the big things, too. My life is richer now than it was when I created those albums, so why was I achy when I saw them? Do I miss the ritual? The daily reflection? The creativity? The perspective it brought to me? Yes, I suppose I do.

Life is about to change again in a big way this April. In no way will it be easier to photograph and write when I add another person to care for. I know this.

But somehow it has to work.

I am not promising DPH every day again. Or long posts or perfect images that were captured with a real camera and edited on a real computer. But I am promising myself to live with that goal in mind. I’m excited to make this a priority again, and I hope the achy feeling in my heart was just some pent-up awesomeness that is about to come out.

While Justin put Benton to bed tonight, instead of laying in the dark with my glowing phone, I went into the quiet living room with my camera. I captured some shots of the Christmas decorations that I refuse to take down until it snows at least a few inches. These aren’t life-changing photos, but the act of taking them was my first step towards a place I want to get back to. Or forward to. Forward sounds right.

BOOM

 

What's this?

Hmm. Seems to be a baby child on the beach in March.

Yes. He has been here before, but this it his first sit in the sand.

The first time he has really touched it.

Interesting stuff. It can't really be gotten. And flows through tiny fingers.

I feel so lucky to witness these firsts. To spend the day with my buddy. To be part of his life as he takes in more and more of this world. My friend's mother who said 'the first six months he is yours. And after that? Your job is to introduce him to the world' was so right. Spring is such a fitting season for this age. One day there is nothing to see, and the next the buds are bursting. New. Wow! Look! This! That! Go! BOOM.

 

 

Zone

Everyone has a way of zoning out. I assume.

Do you have an activity or ritual that you are familiar enough with, that it takes little to no effort to do? It eases the active mind into a comfortable resting stupor while still being somewhat awake. Tonight, I zoned out to the point of drooling. I am locked in a non-blinking comfortable stare with my old friend Photoshop.

My starting point was photo of a sewer drain and I let my mind unravel from there.

I took this on a walk yesterday as I giggled about art school to myself.

Translation 1: Sewer Mandala!

Translation 2: Street Lamp Sewer Sparkle Best Time Fun Good

Translation 3: Sewer Rock Candy Iceberg

Wah

I have a mom confession that may cause you to slap your computer. Benton isn’t a crier. He can literally go for days without crying. It is kind of weird. I mean he will cry if he is trying to crawl and does a nose dive into the floor, or gets a shot, or something like that. But otherwise he is not a fussy kid.

I KNOW. We’ve been lucky. Please don’t hit me. However, in the last week, things have changed a bit.

Enter: stranger anxiety. The first time I witnessed anything that might be classified as stranger anxiety was months ago with the pediatrician. He doesn’t like her at all. Waaaaailed when she entered the exam room. I happen to agree with him. Good instincts, little Benton.

The second time was at the cobbler. I go to the cobbler a lot because Justin and I are super rough on shoes. This dude is a super duper crusty old man and B DOES NOT LIKE him. He cried when the man waved and said hello to him. I actually thought it was kind of funny, since he hadn’t had this reaction to anyone else.

Then this weekend, stranger anxiety started in earnest. He seems to be OK after maybe 10 minutes with the new people/surroundings, but at first he will likely wail. Big sad cries. This is out of character for the little man, but I guess it is the phase we are in. I wonder how long it will last…?

Enter: teething. Three razor-sharp objects are pummeling my B’s gums. Teeth are dumb. Except they are necessary to chew food and such, so I guess I will allow it.

His first two teeth came in one-at-a-time without incident, so this is the first taste I have had of a sad teething baby. It is…sad. The last few days have been full of more whimpering and crying than I am used to, and he has definitely been a high-needs baby. I feel so bad for him, but I feel good that I have been able to comfort him. This also means I haven’t been able to put him down hardly at all. He is needy and attached to me.

Today we seem to be coming out of the worst of it, but geeeeez. I tip my hats to you parents who have high-needs babies all the time. Exhausting at best. You must be superheros or something.

P.S. Benton James is now an EIGHT-MONTH-OLD. This hardly seems possible. I don’t have a photo shoot from the day he turned 8 months because of the teething, but here are some recent pictures from his first swing outing at the park.

 

Really?

He was staring down another baby that was five swings away, minding her own business. SHARING IS CARING, B. I cannot comment on the disaster that is his outfit.

Is that a smile? Maybe?

Caught it!

 

 

 

 

 

Newb

When I got pregnant with Benton, I was the only one of my friends in Chicago that was going to be a mom. Since that moment when I saw the two pink lines, I have sought out and welcomed new mom friends into my life, while trying not to completely lame-out on my friends without kids. I hope I’m not failing them.

Last week, my friend Michelle had a baby. In the city. This means I have a new mom friend in Chicago. This is a huge deal to me. And I am sure having a baby was kind of a big deal to her. Just guessing.

On Sunday I got to meet him. Even though he is the same size as B was when I brought him home from the hospital just 8 months ago, he seemed impossibly tiny. He was a breach baby for most of his baking time, so he was extra frogged-up in the leg area. A ball. I wanted to tuck him under my arm like a football and run home. He was perfection.

I taught his mama to wear him in the Moby wrap, and I hope she enjoys having him close to her heart while she gets things done around the house or walks her high-energy canines around the neighborhood. Or just sits on the couch with him. Because there is a lot of that in the first 3 months.

B was being a little pistol, and has recently developed stranger anxiety. The poor dear was extra clingy and nutso, so I had trouble taking proper pictures of the baby. Low light and wild child  B made for some blurry captures, but I think they still ooze sweetness.

Can you see the blurry madness that ensued? Yes.

Oh mylanta. The difference a few months makes. I love seeing Benton grow and change into a little person. But I will admit to you all. I miss the squishy lumpus newborn.