Right Now I Am

Right Now I Am



Right now I am...

staring out the window, watching the snow melt in the impossibly bright sun. 

watching the birds return to the feeder in droves after weeks of absence. 

chasing a few birds away from our mailbox, after they decided to start building a nest. 

feeling nervous about two job interviews I suddenly have lined up for Tuesday.

procrastinating on heading to the mall to shop for an interview outfit.

regretting how poorly my work clothes fit after a fall spent recuperating and a winter spent hibernating. 

loving the printed versions of my most recent photo books (I can't wait to share them with you next week). 

mourning that I binge-watched the third season of House of Cards in just a few days and there's still another month before Mad Men starts. 

excited at all the days with sun and temperatures over 45 degrees in the upcoming forecast. I love winter, but spring has always been a transitional season for me. 


Coming up...  I have a new series written about documenting a Disney vacation in a photo book, including a complete album walk through at the end. Following that, I'll have walk throughs of my printed Week in the Life and December Daily photo books. I'll also be sharing my Winter spreads from my 2015 family album and start to tackle 2014. 

Week in the Life 2014

Week in the Life 2014 Photo Book: Sunday

This is the final post detailing the pages of my 2014 Week in the Life photo book. You can view all of the posts in this series here.

Sunday, November 2nd, was my husband and my 17th wedding anniversary. 17 is a crazy, unbelievable number. I've known him so long that it's hard for me to remember that I haven't always known him. I forget that we didn't go to high school together and I get puzzled when he says he doesn't know all the cheers we used to sing at high school football games. Oh yeah...you weren't there.

The image for this opening spread was taken at Benihana. We went to dinner as a family to celebrate our anniversary, because that's what you do when you haven't made friends with anyone in your new town and don't have child care options.

I have an extreme weakness for two comfort foods: donuts and pizza. Also known as two of the worst things you can eat in a single week. See Friday and Saturday and you will know I was batting 1000 when it comes to Responsible Food Choices When You Have Trouble Managing Your Weight.

An aside: It occured to me as I was writing that last sentence that I wasn't sure if the phrase was batting 1000 or batting 100. And, since baseball absolutely bores me to tears, I don't really know what that phrase means, except that it is said sarcastically. I get the gist, but I don't get the exact reference.

It also occurs to me that the phrase is an idiom. And while I know what idioms are, I rarely think about their existence. But on Wednesday I was volunteering in my daughter's class and sat through a lesson her teacher gave on idioms. Her class of 2nd and 3rd graders were having a hard time coming up with good examples of idioms because they are 7 and 8-year-olds without a lot of life experience. But now, I am hearing idioms everywhere. Idiom! Idiom! There goes another one, now...

Anyway, we had delicious Square Donuts for breakfast to begin our anniversary celebration. This image of my daughter ogling the box of donuts absolutely cracks me up. I'm pretty sure I snapped it with my iPad.

The round Sunday date stamp is from the Thankful for This Day brush collection by Ali Edwards.

I finished up Sunday with just two images and a few words. I took several photos at dinner, but most were pretty redundant and didn't tell much of a story. My daughter took the two photos of my husband and I. My husband snapped the bottom image on his iPod.

When I look at all three photos, I can read anxiety all over my face. At the time I couldn't really handle car trips or sitting at a restaurant without wearing a stomach binder. The binder, plus residual abdominal swelling post surgery made me look 6-months pregnant in almost everything I owned. It also made it impossible for me to wear anything other than dresses and low-rise yoga pants. I still can't wear normal pants.

To complicate matters of getting-dressed-and-leaving-the-house further, it was a cold day. My best-looking dresses were summery, or intended to be worn with tights, which were way to painful on my tender belly. So, I was filed with anxiety and sadness about having to be out in public and knowing I didn't look how I wanted to look.

In the midst of all my handwringing about this outfit not working and that one not being great for the weather, my daughter kept saying, Momma you look fine. Why do you think you have to look perfect? You don't have to look perfect, you know?

And even typing that right now I get a huge lump in my throat. Huge.

Because she knows something I don't know. It's something I want to know, but I have spent a lifetime inhaling the opposite message from the women in my life and the culture at large. I hate that I modeled all that angst for her. I hate that I can't be the kind of woman role model that says, Eff what anyone else thinks. Wear your yoga pants and sweater to Benihana because you just had surgery 6 weeks ago and everything hurts so bad you want to cry. But instead I'm modeling the apologize for existing message that women spend so much their adulthood trying to undo.

Yep, I get to teach my daughter that she/me/everyone else is not good enough. There's some standard that we have to live up to. We need approval. We are here to be judge.

Nice, Mom. Nice.

Parenthood is so damn tough. It's not because we lose sleep, deal with Common Core math, or have to worry about high fructose corn syrup. Parenting is tough because it cracks open your vulnerable places and says, Take that mess and help make another human turn into a thriving adult. Yeah.

To Every Parent Out There,
Good luck with that...


Thanks for walking through all seven days of my 2014 Week in the Life photo book. I'll be sharing the finished book with you as soon as I receive it. 

Week in the Life 2014

Week in the Life 2014 Photo Book: Saturday

This is the sixth post detailing the pages of my 2014 Week in the Life photo book. You can view all of the posts in this series here.

The opening spread for Saturday begins with an image of my daughter doing what makes her happiest: playing Minecraft while chatting with her friend in Seattle and simultaneously watching a YouTube video. Yeah, she's more wired than I was when I was 10-years older, and I am a geek who remembers when you didn't even use the term dial up because there was no other word for talking to your friends on computers. It was just called chatting. And chatting is how her dad and I met, way back in 1996. Super old school nerds, we are. And it's a shock to no one that we bread a supernerd kid.

When I look at this image, aside by being stricken with so much love for my babygeek, I'm amazed at how much has changed in just a few short months. She got a hair cut. Those long johns had to be replaced by a bigger size. We no longer have that iMac. It was sold and we bought a newer one off Craigslist. 

Time, man. It waits for no one.

Simple, Saturday morning breakfast images. Look at that crema on the Americano. Can you spot me in the spoon?

I've already named my favorite spread from the week, but it was in a super-fierce, crazy, death match with this one. I love this spread. Big puffy hearts an unicorns. It makes my heart ache in the best of ways. 

Marriage is a constant negotiation between unraveling/revealing yourself to another person and allowing yourself to be naked and seen. My husband stopping in the hardware store to take a selfie (which is absolutely not something he would do), it is the essence of love. It is his way of saying, I see you. I know what's important to you. I want to help.

It's Love.

More food imagery. Lunchtime Everyday Life PNG stamp is from Everyday Life Brushes and Stamps by Cathy Zielske. 

Her hair still in braids from trick-or-treating. That expression. That little hand. Killing me. Just killing me. That Minecraft screen is going to look super-nostalgic in a few years when she is deep into something else.

I was in a lot of pain this day, so my husband and daughter went alone to an arcade. He snapped a few photos for me on his iPod. The fact that she is wearing wolf ears here reminds me so much of Louise.

Finishing up Saturday with the only shot of the week to feature all three of us. We're having Taco Tuesday on a Saturday. Following this week, Taco Tuesday has become a tradition in our house, and in turn shaped an entire new approach to mean planning for me.

Little did I know  at the time that I was documenting something quite significant. Memory keeping is awesome like that.

One more day of the Week in the Life series to walk through. Then I'll show you a few pages from my finished photo book. Thanks for hanging in there.

Week in the Life 2014

Week in the Life 2014 Photo Book: Friday

This is the fifth post detailing the pages of my 2014 Week in the Life photo book. You can view all of the posts in this series here.


Friday in this Week in the Life was anything but an ordinary day. Two monumental things happened:

  • Halloween, and 
  • Our first snowfall

The opening spread shows off my daughter's stash of Halloween candy. Love, love, L-O-V-E love that little hand grabbing for a treat.

An interesting similarity running through the first three spreads for Friday: warm, soothing, comfort foods. You can tell from the food that the first real cold snap was having its effect. Oatmeal, mochas, hot tea. Repeat. 

Aside from foodstuffs being low-hanging fruit for photographs, what I was more interested in when I took these images was capturing the details: the partially-ripe lemon, the remote control, the IKEA napkins, my thrift store soup mug, the camera lens mug that my daughter gave to me for Christmas, the fall leaves, my tea kettle, the iPad always nearby, the green sweater I can't stop wearing this winter because nothing keeps me as warm...

I know that when I look through this book in the future, those little details are the ones that are going to transport me back to this time and place, when we were very new Midwesterners and everything was strange and exciting.

The following four images will definitely have a prominent place in our 2014 family album. My daughter's bus stop is just two houses down from ours. Every day, after she gets off the bus, she races the bus to our front door. And, amazingly, every day she wins. I had been trying for weeks to capture a great image of this, but usually timed it poorly. With a little luck from the photo gods I finally captured this quintessentially her ritual on this day. I

Magic. Absolute be-still-my-heart MAGIC. 

Following in the footsteps of 1-million other girls, my daughter was Anna for Halloween. The weather made our trick-or-treating quite adventurous. The journaling was long, so I told the story in two spreads. Our collapsing pumpkin in the second image makes me laugh.

For the final spread on Friday, I told the tale of our first snow fall. Snow on Halloween was a complete shock to us. Thankfully, it was a complete shock to long-time Midwesterners, too. It definitely made for a Halloween we won't soon forget. 

Next up, Saturday and Sunday. This week, and this project, is drawing to a close.