Another Year!

I turned 38 last week. Thirty-eight! What a wonderful age! Not perfect, but okay with it. And that is wonderful.

I was pulling the boys around the yard in the wagon and noticed some berries (from shrubs I chose years ago specifically for the berries—back when I had time for that!). I knew that I should go get my camera to capture their beauty before the opportunity passed. While I’ve been busier photographing for work lately, I haven’t been shooting as much around here. I’m hoping I’ll be doing more of that this year. I miss it, and I need to let the creativity flow.

I preoccupied the boys with some popcorn and grabbed my camera before running to the back of the yard to cut a few clusters of the berries.

It took a few popcorn refills and answering a few–um, a lot–of questions about what I was doing, but I finally was able to snap a few pictures.

And then, this.

So, I retreated to the back porch and draped the berries over the edge of pretty little urn.

I was feelin’ it. Adjusting aperture and angles and shooting away.

Then, I heard Tice holler for me to look at them. I have to admit, I was a little annoyed to be interrupted. When I turned around, my view from the back porch was big brother pulling up his pants after finishing his business in the flowerbed and little brother doing his best impression of the same.

I had to laugh. And take a quick picture, of course. (I added the butterfly in Photoshop, because, you know, the internet…)

With several more distractions from the boys, I only managed to get a few good shots of the berries. But at least I got a few. Which meant I was on track for my new year’s goal. It’s the small victories, ya know.

And a moment of reflection as I was going through the pictures: (Ramble Alert!) On one side, I had stolen a moment to photograph a little bit of beauty. On the other side, loud and proud boys showing me their skills.

I almost said that one is real life and the other is just a pretty vignette. But they are both real life. The beauty + the crazy. Real life is complicated and complex. It is more than just a pretty vignette. It is more than just crazy moments. Combined, it is crazy beautiful. The crazy mom moments make the lovely little vignettes even more appreciated, and the vignettes help give perspective and a little respite from those moments of crazy.

They each make the other more meaningful, more beautiful. I need both. That’s balance for me right now. At thirty-eight. And I need to keep reminding myself these things when I’m wishing that I had a little more time without interruptions. When one side is not enough, I just need to change my perspective.

Happiness is in the embrace of what is, not what is missing.

Cheers to embracing what is in 2016!

 

 

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My Big Boy

For almost a year, he always referred to our house as our ship, and he was Pirate Ewin. He still does it sometimes, but not all the time the way he used to. His imagination is on to new things.

It’s such a cliche, but isn’t it bittersweet to watch them grow up?

Four is so fun, though. He has more opinions and ideas at four, and no one has told him what’s “cool” or “uncool” so it’s easier for him to be true to himself.  His favorite color is still pink (I got him a pink chair for the porch–even though it makes me twitch a little bit…), and I dread the day that someone tells him it’s a girl color and he actually listens. He does like to argue, though, so maybe he’ll stand firm.

He’s (mostly) past the meltdowns that popped up at three, and his imagination grows bigger with him each day.

He often asks to wear his “neck thing” to church.

He looks so big here…

…but sometimes he still seems small.

He loves his little brother with all his heart and he wants to be just like his daddy. So everything is as it should be…

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Island Lighting

Our Ikea lights above our island are almost dead. We bought them in 2006, and I figured they wouldn’t last forever. I thought I would probably get tired of them within a few years. They weren’t exactly what I was looking for, but they added a little modern touch to our kitchen, and at $40 each, the price was right.

I have gotten a little tired of them, but they weren’t at the top of my list of things to replace until they started giving us trouble. For the first six or seven years, we never had to replace a single bulb, but for the last few years, the bulbs have burned out constantly. Now, even new bulbs won’t work, so it’s kind of hard to keep ignoring it. It’s hard to tell in pictures, but in person, it’s very noticeable. Out of 24 bulbs, only four work… Classy! And those little halogen bulbs aren’t cheap.

Interestingly, there are a lot more options out there now that are more along the lines of what I was originally looking for. My taste hasn’t changed much. Not sure if that’s good or bad…

If these industrial style pendants from Lowe’s had been available back then, I would have definitely chosen one of them.

I’m still considering them, but I’m also considering some that aren’t quite so common right now.

The rest of these, I found on Etsy.

The one below is interesting. It would have to hang lower since our ceilings are 12-feet. I like that it is plain–I could change it up with some kind of mesh or fabric if I got tired of it. I don’t like that it is copper; our bar top is copper, so I’d rather have something that wasn’t so match-y.

 

I love the industrial look of this one! It would be beautiful in a group of three. But the shadows might be weird. And even though I love how the rope looks, I know it would be impossible to dust.

This one looks vintage with a hint of industrial. The shade is hand made pottery! I would hang two of them.

I love the look of the old funnels–probably my favorites based on looks alone. What I don’t like is that they are so big–they might kind of take over. I’m also worried about the light being too directional; we need the light to be substantial enough to help light the cook top and the area around the island.

I think these are at the top of my list right now. I love the details of the cord’s loops and twists. It’s offered with different sized globes, and although I love the look of the white globe, I’m leaning toward the clear to keep the area light and airy.

After I decide on the fixtures, the next step is to figure out how to arrange them. Unfortunately, our boxes are not aligned in a straight row… The electricians did this one day while I was at work. It works fine for the current fixtures, but I knew it would probably be an issue when they were replaced–and here we are!

So, here are some of my options:

-Choose the clear globes above, and use three–maybe different sizes?

-Use two and try to patch the bead board. Grrrrr

-Go with three and try to use some kind of board to disguise the box placement so the fixtures hang aligned. (Hopefully that makes sense.)

 

I wish I could try them all before I commit! What do you think?

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Nine Months of Life

Suddenly I have a nine-month-old! My big boy is growing and changing every day, with more and more personality coming out. He is still pretty laid back, a lot like older brother. But I think he has a few more opinions at this age than brother did. He definitely lets us know when someone does something he doesn’t like (such as take away a toy…), but he always forgives quickly. It doesn’t hurt that his big brother is usually right there to hand him something new or make noises to try to make him laugh. He’s starting to sleep a lot better, which is amazing. I’ve been taking him into the playroom before we go to bed, and I’m thinking he might not even wake for a feeding if I wasn’t moving him. He’s able to easily sooth himself back to sleep after waking (or letting out a cry just because he has to fart…), so hopefully I’m going to start getting some more sleep, too. I feel like I’ve lost the majority of my brain cells in the past year. I can’t believe I used to write for a living, because right now I can barely write my own name. Even writing this blog post feels monumental. I’m only doing it because I feel so guilty that I haven’t documented his monthly milestones like I did with Tice. How did I do that? And I had a regular job back in those days. Oh, yeah. I could do that back then because SLEEP.  Luckily, it doesn’t take much brain power to do laundry, so I can (sometimes) still keep up with that. And by “keep up with that,” I mean the washing and drying, but not necessarily the folding and putting away. Alright, back to the nine-month-old.

Here are a few things that I can remember that I don’t want to forget. :)

-He has seven (or eight) teeth now.

-He is almost as excited to see Tice as he is to sees me. And now he’s lighting up when Harper gets home.

-He isn’t a fan of the bottle.

-He still has no interest in a pacifier or his fingers, but he chews on toys like a beaver.

-He’s army crawling like a pro.

-His fine motor skills are impressive. He can pick up the tiniest of crumbs with his little pincher grab, and he loves to point. He’s starting to wave, too. So he’s basically the opposite of Tice–Tice was advanced in gross motor, and slower to develop fine motor skills.

-

This one cracks me up. My baby is offering me some grass. Every caption I can think of has to read in Tommy Chong’s voice.

Those big brown eyes and that little smile that’s always waiting to erupt slay me! This boy is such a joy.

–Natalie

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The Pool in February

 

Yesterday was unseasonably warm–even for Texas. When it’s 82 degrees and sunny, sometimes a four-year-old just can’t be convinced that it’s still too cold to play in the pool. So, I decided to quit trying to convince him and just let him figure it out for himself.

At first I didn’t bother bringing my big camera out, but I did manage to get a few with my phone. He never would admit that it was too cold, and he actually played in the water longer than I thought he would. But eventually he decided to get out and “let the water warm up in the sun.”

Meanwhile, his tractor needed a bath. Since he parked it in a perfect place to snap a few pictures, I brought out my camera.

That water was so dang cold, but he didn’t mind a bit.

Little brother loved watching–at least after he forgave big brother for splashing him with a cannonball.

Personal space is overrated.

They both have a pretty high tolerance for what I might consider irritating. I’m learning to just leave them alone and try not to intervene unless needed. I guess they’re just acting like brothers.

Oh, and just to keep it real: The party ended a few minutes after that last shot when Tice nailed me in the chest with a golf ball. Luckily it was me and not his brother–or my camera!

–Natalie

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