Living Hard

So, it’s a new year and I’m already exhausted.  I have lots of things I’d like to blog about, Christmas, a year in review of my art photos etc, but I am just so tired.  We’re in the middle of a move, I really want to start running and get back in shape, planning a first birthday party for Evie.  And I’ve been feeling a little burnt out on photography.  I think all the editing etc has started to become just one more thing I have to do.  And I don’t want that.  I want to want to be behind the lens.  I’m doing an Instagram monthly photo challenge to try to keep it fresh.  And I’m trying to not put too much pressure on myself to blog or shoot if I’m not inspired or simply don’t have the time.  THat being said.  I took this series of photos and I just loved how gangsta Evie looked in her hoodie, getting into stuff, she even naps hard.  She’s definitely come into her own and she has a personality 🙂

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Science Rockstar

We had a membership to the Museum of Science and Industry that we let lapse knowing we would not make it with a newborn.  Now we have an older baby who loves new experiences and a car so it’s much easier to make the trip.  With family coming into town it seemed like the perfect time to renew our membership.  We can go when we have time and not feel like we have to see everything in one trip.  MSI is seriously my favorite museum in the city and we take everyone there.  I cannot stress the amazingness of having a car to get there.  Before it would take over an hour and we’d be exhausted by the time we got there, now we can save the hassle and use up all our energy at the museum itself.  We all had a great time.  It was beautiful all decorated for Christmas and there was a pretty cool Peanuts exhibit that Evie enjoyed.  That is until she got tackled by over jealous toddler wanting to give her a hug!

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Evie was enthralled with everything as were we all.  My 19 year sister in law and I participated in a demonstration about how sound used to be added to the silent movies and were deemed Science Rockstars, we even have the stickers to prove it! 🙂  We hit all the major must sees.  The Fairy Castle was a hit and if Evie loved it at 10 months I can’t wait for her to see it when she’s a bit older!  I think my favorite part of the whole day was Evie’s face when she saw the baby chicks.  They are amazing.  They were kind of gangster that day, staring us down.

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I think Evie loved everything except this reindeer we met!

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One of the perks of membership is the member lounge.  The perfect spot to take a break and have a cup of coffee…or a bottle.

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It was a loooong day but Evie was a champ, though she finlly gave in to her exhaustion at the end.

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The rest of us ended the day with a trip to Target (all the Neiman Marcus stuff was half off, what the hell!  So I rebought and returned to get the savings!)  and chinese food.  And we all got a good nights sleep so we could get some portraits with Grandma before they headed out.

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Postcards

Since we didn’t get the overhyped 2-4 inches of snow we were promised and since the world didn’t cease to exist, we decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry! It was a lovely winter day and much fun was had at the museum which I hope to recap. But for now, I just wanted to share this photo, my last of the day. I love the vintage postcard feel.  It makes me feel nostalgic for his wonderful day.
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Living the Moments

I thought about what happened on Friday in Newtown a lot over the weekend. It hit me hard, as it did every parent in America. I am often affected by what I read in the news, but I’ve never had to close my office door so I could cry like I did with this story. I thought about it a lot and I read about it a lot. My husband asked me why I kept clicking stories. I read comments that accused those wanting to know the details of the day and the victims of sensationalizing it, turning it into entertainment. I don’t think that’s true though. I think a part of me thought and still thinks that the more knowledge we have, the more sense we can make of it. Maybe if I know what happened and how old these children were I can understand it. I can prevent it from happening to my own baby. Knowledge gives me the illusion of control in an uncontrollable situation. Every day I drop Evie off at daycare like so many others drop their kids off with nannies, teachers, relatives and we have to go about our day trusting that they will be ok. That we will see them again. That there won’t be a car accident, a fire, a gunman. I think that parents live with a constant fear that something could happen to harm or hurt our children and the hardest thing we do as parents is trust that our kids will be ok. Because if we let that fear rule us we wouldn’t ever put our kids down. They’d never learn to walk, to run, to explore. I think if I have a point it’s just that terrible things can happen, and sometimes they do. But we have to live, to have to faith.

I feel like a lot has been said and written already about this tragedy and I’m sure the internet doesn’t need my words on the matter too. But, I just wanted to say something, I needed to so that it’s not bottled up in my heart and the pit of my stomach. I want to echo President Obama’s sentiment, “You are not alone”. I cannot stand that this happened and that none of us can change it. What we can change a little bit is how we live our own lives. What we can do is live our lives. Really live them. Take the vacation, drink the good stuff, use the fancy glasses, play one more round. In twenty years you won’t remember the money you spent, the extra $10 here or there. What you will remember is the experience, the time with your family. We’ll still take our spouses and children for granted at times, it’s human nature and it will happen. As long as we make an effort to make the small moments count, to participate, to enjoy, then there will be little to regret.

Evie has been doing a lot of new things lately. She’s scooting like a mad woman trying desperately to properly crawl. She waves at everyone and everything. She’s trying to stand and has figured out that she can pull herself up to look over the back of the couch. She hits blocks together and pulls the plug out of the bath tub. She does these amazing things with a smirk and a smile on her face. I take a lot of photos of my daughter. There are no photos of this. I was too busy enjoying the moments. I hope you will be too.

It’s A Wonderful Life

I love the Christmas season!  I wrote about it here last year.  Each year we decorate our tree with ornaments that remind us of our trips, our memories, our lives.  When we hung this years White House ornament I realized that they’ve been matching up with the major milestones in our life.  The year Thomas and I got engaged:

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Last year when I was pregnant with Evie:

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This year, the year we bought our first new car:

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We are enjoying this Christmas especially because we get to add Evie to all of our traditions.  It’s amazing to see it all through her eyes, the glee at seeing Christmas lights for the first time, the pop of the eyes as she tastes her first candy cane, her attempt to sing along with me to Christmas carols.  She’s loved it all.  Except Santa.  She’s not too sure about Santa yet.

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Maternity: Keysha & Zack

I’ve known Keysha for about five years now. We’ve seen each other get engaged, married and now start to expand our families.  While I’m sad that we don’t have the time we used to get together for vodka drinks and cheese sticks, I am excited about the new phase in our lives and look forward to plenty of mommy and me dates with our little girls.

I was thrilled to be able to spend the afternoon with this great couple at one of my favorite spots in the city, The Garfield Park Conservatory.  I seriously love these two, Keysha’s silliness and Zack’s subtle sarcasm make them the perfect combination.  They also possess a put togetheredness that so many of us strive for but rarely achieve.  They are Kennedyesque in their poise and my camera and I love it.  I embraced the flats and tunics full stop during my pregnancy, but you’ve got to admire a woman who can rock the heels and minis like this mamma to be. Congratulations Keysha and Zack, you are going to be wonderful parents.  Little Ariel is lucky to be coming to home to a house already filled with so much love.

I mean seriously, look at her!  Pregnant in heels and fierce.

This is Keysha’s “Don’t make me count to 3!” face

But I have a feeling this baby girl will have her parents wrapped around her little finger.

Parenthood is an incredible journey — it’s beautiful, it’s gross, it’s exhausting, it’s rewarding and you will have so much fun!

And Keysha?  Don’t forget, just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you have to stop being yourself 🙂

The Sea is Calling

We had a great time on our cruise, and while we didn’t spend as much time in the ports as we may have done in the past, we still made some time to get off the ship.

This will be pretty photo heavy because I have pies in the oven, laundry in the dryer and a nine month old trying desperately to test out the esc key.

Coco Cay, Bahamas

I had been here once before and was really looking forward to a massage in the beachside cabanas.  Unfortunately the spa was closed due to damage from Sandy which had passed through the week before.  The effect of the storm also included cooler water temperatures so Evie’s first dip in the ocean did not go very well.  We still had a nice afternoon.  The sun was out, the temps were in the 80’s and we managed to score a grove of hammocks perfect for napping, reading and sipping coco locos (be careful, they are not for the faint of heart!).  The bbq lunch was delicious and even Evie got in on the action sucking on a rib bone my dad gave her.  Thomas and I took a walk along the beach which was nice, but it was really hot out and it was nice to be back on the cool ship.  By the way, if you ever cruise with my dad, don’t fall asleep in a hammock reading a book, you may wake to find yourself 25 pages ahead in the story!

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

We did not have a car seat with us so we had high ambitions to walk downtown instead of taking a taxi.  Blazing sun and temps in the 90’s killed that plan pretty quickly.  Instead we walked around a bit, there are a few shopping areas close to the port including a great pet shop called, “How ‘Bout Your Pet?”.  We picked up some of their special liver treats for our westie Oz.  We took advantage of being in the US Virgin Islands by grabbing a few beers and some free wi-fi at an outdoor cafe.  It was nice to be iPhone free for the week, but also nice to have a chance to catch up on email and Facebook at least once.  We ended up checking out the butterfly farm right by where the ship was docked.  At $12 per person (Evie was free)  it was a little pricy, especially given that we only spotted three different types of butterfly.  They were very pretty though and admission included a bird show which was very cool.  And truthfully it was worth the price of admission just to see Evie’s thrilled expression of wonder at each new sight she took in.  However, if you want to save some money (and who doesn’t?) you can walk through the garden in front for free and still see some butterflies.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

It’s a mile walk into town at this port or you can take a taxi.  We had planned to walk but it was sooooo hot.  Luckily my dad and I had ventured out earlier for a quick run and picked up an informational booklet which mentioned the water taxi.  Perfect!  I highly recommend it.  It’s $7 for an all day pass and it has three stops you can choose from.  I’m not sure what they all are since we got off at the first one.

The last time we were here Thomas and my dad were outside a shop waiting for my sister and I when my dad walked off and returned with a pink frozen drink, handed it to Thomas and said, “Drink this”  This turned out to be St Maarten’s specialty, a Guavaberry Liquer Colada.  It is DELICIOUS!  Magic in a cup.  Seriously.  You can walk around downtown, do a little shopping, have a colada and then have another one at the little outpost right off the port before getting back on the ship.  That was basically our whole goal for the day.  Find the Guavaberry drink place.  My secondary mission was to buy  a Michael Kors watch and I was pleased that I hit both my objectives.  I highly recommend Little Switzerland, good prices, great service and a guarantee.  It was a beautiful day and a great end to the port days.

Evie did really great in all the ports.  We made sure to keep her as shaded as possible and had plenty of sunscreen on hand along with a stocked diaper bag.  It may have been easier in port than on the ship actually because we did a fair amount of walking leaving plenty of time for her to fall asleep in her stroller and get a decent nap in.

I think in the future we may look into more excursions or have a plan/destination in mind beforehand otherwise we just end up drinking and shopping which is fun, but you can only do so much of it.  Of course it will be much easier once Evie is older and car seat free, however we hopefully will be cruising again before that day comes.  We can already hear the sea calling again 🙂