Saturday, July 30, 2011
A long drive on winding roads to the entrance of Shawnee National Forest, yesterday's wedding was simply beautiful. This little junior bridesmaid (or as she preferred "mini bride") was so hilariously entertaining! I could photograph weddings like this all day, except then I get exhausted! More later...
Friday, July 29, 2011
Recently I went to an open house for some friend's new space. These ladies are very talented and very busy wedding coordinators and florists, an industry that I've been working more with. Not only are these ladies friends for other reasons besides business, but these are people that will eventually be pushing my business. I knew other vendors would be there, in fact 90% of those RSVP were vendors (like other photographers, florists, caterers, ect).
These types of things don't really make me nervous, and there were a few familiar faces. One mom I met turned out to live a strikingly similar life. Ya know, photographer, mom, same-named child, going to same school, ect. We got to drinking the free wine, one thing led to another, and I realized I spent almost the entire evening talking only to her. That's ok though, she was pretty hilarious.
We became friends on FB, a place I use to network, market, and advertise my work. I started on FB for these exact purposes, and though I do use it for personal stuff, I post all my previews there. I don't find anything wrong with this plan, until yesterday. I was posting about my upcoming week, about how busy I'm about to be )2 weddings and 3 portraits in 1 week) and she commented that I was boasting, and enough already. I was floored, people usually take that sort of negative criticism and keep it to themselves. I have rather thick skin and try to live with the notion that very few people will be able to make me feel bad about myself (give that up to my self-built ego/confidence). But this instantly knocked me down. I removed to post, feeling embarrassed and ashamed for bragging.
Then I woke up this morning and felt pissed about it. If I had the nerve, this is what I'd say: Sorry you may not be busy right now, and that you've been doing this longer, but there is enough room for all of us. In this male-dominated industry, don't you believe that us female small business owners should stick together and be a bit more encouraging? I am honored that you are jealous, I work hard on my craft, I'm up till all hours of the night editing, planning, organizing, scheming, and researching modern trends in my field. But one thing I don't do is this: I don't hate on others for being busy. In fact, other photographer's business pushes me to get mine going even further. I want to figure out what they are doing differently than me, and how to differentiate myself in this saturated market. So instead of making me feel insecure, you've actually empowered me to push harder, faster, and with more vigor. Thank you competitor, thanks for bringing it on.
Labels: failures turned positive
Thursday, July 21, 2011
It seems like our days have formed a somewhat predictable pattern these days. Easton is always the first up, running straight into our room and pouncing on my face. The smell of his poopy morning diaper always pushes one of us to get up and tend to him. As we lay around mumbling about our early riser (for about an hour), Syl awakes. She, like her parents, needs to adjust to this thing called morning. We all snuggle in bed, while still being pounced by Easton.
Dave heads to work as soon as he can, leaving me to morning routine & breakfast. It is a dreaded time for me, and probably for him too. I hate making breakfast, and a few times a week we head to our fav breakfast place where everybody knows our name. We've got it down to a cheap art, splitting 2 dishes and spending about $9 total. Yes, it's more expensive than cooking at home, but the adult conversation and kid-friendliness of everyone up there (who have all known me since pre-baby days) makes my mornings a bit more grown-up feeling. Plus I need lots and lots of coffee to function.
After breakfast, I look at the clock: 8:45 am. Yes, we are dressed & out the door, with breakfast done, before 9. Most people I know are just waking up. But due to my hyperactivity and micro-managing skills, I can get 3 people dressed, fed, and ready for action quickly. It is yet to be determined if I am scarring them for life.
Most kid-oriented places aren't even open yet, so we have to mill around doing piddly activities. If at home, it's easy. We have toys and books and junk strewn about. A few days a week we head to the YMCA, where I pawn my kids off on the unsuspecting/awesome childcare staff. I know they like my kids, I have the chattiest little 5 year old helper and the quiet 2.5 year old plays well alone kid. Easy. I work out and get the most beautifully isolating hour of my day.
By 10:15, we are ready to meet up with other moms or run errands. My kids are hungry again, so the activity has to involve snacks (requested in the whiniest tones a 2 year old can physically make). The next 2 hours involves wearing my kids out, with friends, at the playground, at the store, wherever. When we arrive home, it's lunch and promptly to bed. Easton is super tired, and Syl naps most days of the week. I clean my house frantically while they eat so I may work or rest during their naps.
And ahhhh, the next best time of day: nap time. Yes, I have the only 5 year old known to man that naps. It does cause for a later bedtime, but I don't care. My blood sugar is always low at this time of day and I get real snappy. I need a break from the movement and demands. If Syl doesn't want to nap, she has to read books or play quietly in her room for 45 minutes. If I'm busy with work, she can come down and work next to me, but she has to be self-sufficient in that time. I generally have my nose to the computer editing, answering emails, making calls, pulling my hair out. It's always something at nap time.
After naps, if we have no agenda, we hang out and play at the house. Both kids are usually in a great mood after naps and are willing to play together happily. We build forts, paint, bake, clean, roll cars around, fold laundry, whatever. This is the time of day I call: Countdown till Daddy Arrives Home (or sometimes How to Not Go Crazy!). We make dinner, sometimes watch a cartoon, and wait wait wait. Everyone is hungry, but no snacks after 3 or else no one will ever eat dinner.
When Dave gets home, we eat together. Sometimes I leave to go to the gym if I didn't to go in the morning. If I don't work out, I can't sleep. Exercise has become many things for me: solitude, healthy, therapy, medication, solitude. I'm a better mom, wife, photographer, woman, friend if I get to workout. The days I don't go (like today), I have to spend my energy somehow or else I get real crabby (and today I will be heading int0 104 temps to shoot an engaged couple. done and done).
Evenings are the variable in our lives. Twice a week, Dave leaves before 8 to go to band practice. Those nights suck for me. Once a week, I leave right at dinner, go workout, shower and my mom's, then meet my girlfriends for drinks. Those nights are so much fun, though I do have guilt and end up missing my kids. The other evenings, we watch a movie, or go to a playground, run to Target to kill 2 hours, or go get ice cream. Dave likes to relax after a long day at work, but I'm always eager to get out of the house and do stuff. It's hard to balance the evenings and weekends, but we get by. And every now and then we get a date night, which involves going to a small restaurant, drinking martinis, and eating adult food. Those nights are bliss, but usually only once or twice a month. Boo.
The kids are always in bed by 9 or 9:30. I know this is about to change soon with Sylvia going into kindergarten. She will be worn out from the long day, so I'm hoping every one's schedule adapts. Once the kids are asleep, I usually work on editing photos and scheduling things, blogging and emailing, getting orders together or planning something or another, until midnight. It's hard for me to unwind and settle down for the evening, sometimes a glass of wine helps. Some nights I abandon all things business and watch mindless tv for two hours. But I always go to bed thinking how I wasted the evening. It's hard to balance life with 2 young kids and a budding young business.
I am optimistic about how our schedule is about to change. With Syl in school all day, I will have all of Easton's nap to work on photography. Eventually he will be in some sort of part-time preschool and I will have even more free time for my work. It's hard to admit this, but the more I work, the more I want to work, and the more I pull away from spending time with my kids. Parenthood is full-time, 24 hours a day. But for stay-at-home parents, the juggle becomes knowing how to separate your alone time with the dedication you need to be productively raising young children. I choose to not turn the tv all day long, but I have my nose in the computer a lot. I want them to see that my work, my passion, my business is important, and that they need to be self-sufficient sometimes about playing. I remember having hours of alone time (2 older brothers wanting nothing to do with me) and really exploring life with an active imagination.
So that, my friends, is a day in my life. I was inspired by posts found here.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
As I pull the large Ikea bookshelf away from it's dusty wall, several over sized signs fall over. They are all oddly shaped, some triangular, some circular, a few with worn edges. I laugh out loud, the memories of these signs evoke a chaotic and youthful time in my life. A time when diving hundreds of miles to a march just took getting the days off work. Or hours of protesting and volunteering was never a chore. These signs now sit dusty, hidden behind shelves filled with puzzles and light-up games.
I'm moving the large Ikea shelf into my son's room. It matches his haphazard decor, I may as well put it in his room, fill it with junk, and give it a good cleaning. The top 2 shelves are filled with my old books. The only books I decided to keep around when childproofing our lives. Alice Walker, William S. Burroughs, "S.C.U.M. Manifesto", Ayn Rand, ect. I don't really know why I kept these specific titles. Once I've read a book, I don't usually revisit it. But for some reason, these books remained shelved, permanently reminding myself, my children, my grandchildren that I was once a liberated feminist poet Beatnik hippie cool chick. I wasn't always the "mama." I supposed I keep them to remind myself that one tiny part of me mourns that old self, wishes for those days of carefree selfishness, and hopes that the those stories may be picked up by my own children.
Yes, I'm keeping my memorabilia to tell them "You see? Mama was cool once."
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
This was the first year we didn't attempt to garden at home. We simply don't have the sun for it, and up till a few weeks ago, we had a big dog that liked to pee on everything. Anyway, Syl helped me start all our vegetables form seed back in March. Everything was nice and planted, properly labeled, and ready to start the growing. Then I watered, and all the labels were ruined. From the first day on, I felt our vegetables were doomed.
But I'll be damned if those little seeds did grow! They grew so quickly, in fact, that I had to transplant them 3 weeks earlier than what everyone was telling me. Ah well, what could I do? Also, when transplanting to the community garden, I had no idea what to put where. Remember, nothing was labeled, everything was a mystery. Crap.
Fast forward 6 weeks, those little seedlings started to sprout taller and bigger. I could quickly tell what was corn, carrots, and onions, but everything else was still a mystery. Then we had the location to deal with. The community garden is in a bit of a questionable neighborhood. I would take the kids there at 8 am and run into people walking around with joints hanging out of their mouths. Then the garden kept getting trampled, by both humans and canines. The more time I spent at the garden, the more invested I got in it's growth. I wanted this to work, I wanted my plants to thrive, I wanted to eat some fresh vegetables, I wanted my kids to experience food from seed to plate.
After the first few hiccups, things have been smooth sailing. My corn sky rocketed, my lettuce grows and can be cut every 4 days, my broccoli was ginormous (which apparently means it ain't gonna have any florets). Today, as I opened my first ear of corn to see it's progress, I saw the worms. I was told about these corn grubs, but I was horrified at the site. I decided to go ahead and pull all the corn that was big enough, despite wishing it had another week or two to get fat.
When I returned home, Sylvia saw the enormous ears of corn. She jumped up and down with glee, she was so impressed with herself (and her mom's ability to remind her that we needed to water the garden). I'm now wishing I had planted more stuff, but that's what next year is for. So for the rest of the summer, we will be eating more corn, many many tomatoes, broccoli leaves (and hopefully florets), lettuce on a regular, and watermelon (spotted the first round watermelons today!). We shall see what I can get my kids to eat!
Friday, July 1, 2011
Easton has finally made the transition into a twin bed. We decided to forgo the toddler bed action due to the fact that we can't lay in there and snuggle with him, very important stuff. Plus we already had a twin ready for him and didn't need to purchase anything. So far, it's been great. He may get out once or twice after bedtime, but he sleeps in there alone all night. The problem comes in the morning, we've been finding him roaming the house for GOD knows how long. He doesn't come in and wake us up, he's sneaky about it all. The other morning, he awoke at the awfully early hour of 5:45 and wouldn't go back to sleep. I fell back asleep in his bed (though I was a waking zombie all day) and found him dumping every single puzzle piece all over my newly cleaned upstairs living room (our house was a 2 family).
Usually, he heads downstairs. Though our house is rather child-friendly, my kids are never free-roaming. So I've been locking the gate at the top of the stairs (though if he wanted, he could slide underneath, something his sister discovered long ago because of the kitties). I don't scold him, I don't even make a big deal about it, but it concerns me. This morning he was making fake breakfast in his fake kitchen, which was perfectly fine, except he kept dumping the wood food on me. Awesome.
If only he'd get rid of those pesky diapers...