Sunday, March 29, 2009


What does it mean to serve and protect? Do any of us really know who have not taken that solemn oath to do so? Other than the families they leave behind every time they walk out the door, only to breath again when they return?
A lifeline for my little man, and so many others like him who live their lives with a UCD. The difference between life and death, health and illness, safety and risk. Take the time to learn about these disorders, if for no other reason but to become aware of something you never even knew was around you.

What does it take to walk the walk? To fill those shoes? Those are some mighty fine feet, my friends, and some shoes that have seen some action!

The latest photo assignment: SAFETY/RISK. I know, kind of a tough one, huh? But it is funny, because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that we live our lives each and every day with both safety and risk. Each and every one of us. It is just that some live with more risk than others, whether because of lifestyle choices, careers or chronic disorders, to name a few. And the chronic disorders and career examples affect my life every day, so they seemed the most obvious choices to use to complete this photo assignment. I did not have to wrack my brain to come up with something to photograph after all...I only needed to represent what I live with every day.
Where would you have pointed your camera if given this assignment?

Monday, March 23, 2009


Our latest photo assignment was MACROS. I was not sure how mine would come out, not having a macro lens, but after taking numerous photos of the same things from many different angles and with different lighting each time, this is what I came up with. The photo above shows some of my beach treasures from our last OBX vacation. I had some really great finds, but one of my favorites was this piece of green sea glass, unlike any I have ever seen or found before. I often wonder where these things come from, ultimately washing up on the shores to be found by someone lucky enough to spot them. And it saddens me that so many people just walk right by, never knowing what they might have found if they had only looked...

As I thought about what I would photograph for this assignment, I remembered this sand dollar that my brother had found at the beach...yes, during the same vacation in which I found the sea glass. It was a vacation full of incredible finds, really, because after 16 years of vacationing in the Outer Banks, we had never found an intact sand dollar or whole conch shells (we filled several grocery bags with conchs of all sizes). I really wanted to capture the beauty of the sand dollar and its incredible detail, including the sand that was still on it. Even without a macro lens, I still think it came out pretty good!

This bottle is so small and delicate, with great color and charm. It was a gift from my husband's late grandmother, and is actually one of my favorite things that I call mine. I am not really sure why, except that it has just spoken to me since I first unwrapped it. I appreciate the hunt for something unique, like this bottle, and the intricate details that make it so special. This photo does not do it justice...I wish I could have captured more of the detail in more clarity.
This was a fun and challenging photo assignment. All of them have really helped me to take better pictures and experiment a little more, with different settings and lighting and perspectives.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

For all the stay-at-home mommies out there...

I stay home with my kids. Because I think it is the best thing that I can do for them. And because I did not want to miss a thing as they grew up and started crawling, walking, talking. Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom was difficult, because it meant giving up that life outside of the home and a second income. But it is the best decision I have ever made. Not because it is an easy job--in fact, it is the hardest job in the world. Well, in my humble opinion. So I find it comical that people think it must be wonderful to be home all the time. You know, with all that "down time" that I have to do what I want around the house. This is a tribute to all of you stay-at-home moms who know exactly what I am talking about...

I was due April 22, 2004 with Coulby. I was huge by the end of my pregnancy with him...turns out he was a big boy, especially for my 5'4" frame. So I looked huge and felt extremely uncomfortable and was ready to have the baby and move on. Not that I did not love being pregnant, because I actually did, but by the end I had, had it. Plus I had started dilating and was 100% effaced by mid-March, so I thought Coulby was going to make his grand entrance much sooner than my due date. He did not. He was born April 25, 2004. And that is when everything as I knew it changed. Drastically. Not just bringing-a-new-baby-home change, but bringing a new baby WITH a metabolic disorder into our lives. and it was then that I knew I had made the right choice to stay at home with Coulby. I would never have trusted anyone to meet the very specific needs that Coulby has. I would have been a nervous wreck. I was anyway! So this started my journey into stay-at-home motherhood.

That first year threatened to break me--my spirit, my sanity, my sense of self, my name it! Metabolic disorder aside, I went from being an active working woman with a second part-time job while working on my Master's degree, to being a mom. At home. Alone with an infant. Very little socialization. Very little time for me. Very little sleep. Often times it was too much of a hassle to try to go out anywhere. You know, packing up the bottle bag, the diaper bag, loading the baby into the car seat, and carrying all of these things to the car at the same time! (On a good note, this taught me how to carry all of my groceries into the house in ONE trip!) Coulby was a pretty good baby, but he had his moments! And those were the days that my husband would come home from work and would not even have made it to the door before I was handing him a crying baby, as I was crying. Oh, and when I really needed Coulby to nap, so I could get something done or take a nap myself, those were the days when he would hit the crib and scream in protest. I would pick him up again, calm him, go to lay him back in the crib, and the screaming would start again. And so it went: pick up, calm, lay down, screaming baby, repeat. On top of everything else, Coulby did have several hospitalizations in his first year, and we were always worried about him and keeping him healthy. I swore I would not make it through that first year. But I did. And by February 2006, I must have forgotten about all of the stuff with Coulby, because I was pregnant again!

Isn't it funny how we have a baby and then all of that infancy stuff disappears from our minds (sleep deprivation and all of its effects, early mornings, late nights, spit up, the bewitching hours, teething, diapers, drool...) so we can have another baby? I think if people really remembered all of the difficult things about having a baby, they would not go on to have any more children. I think it is the good things, like all of the firsts, and the toothless smiles, and the happy baby giggles, that we remember the most. Because the good things far outweigh the difficult. They make it worth it.

Caroline was due on November 1, 2006, and arrived October 29, 2006. I was amazed at how easy it was to bring her home. We got to experience all of the new baby stuff that we missed out on having Coulby and all of his medical issues. Plus Caroline was like a little dream baby. Quiet, content, just easy. And I had settled in to being a stay-at-home mom, too. I think that made the biggest difference in bringing her home. Coulby had to suffer all of my insecurities of being a new parent, as well as my adjustment to being home.

And now, I absolutely love being a stay-at-home mom. It is the hardest job in the world. Every day is new and unscripted. The day revolves around the kids and their moods and their needs, and some are not always fun. Nap times still do not always go smoothly, and I suck it up and say, "oh well," to any quiet time to myself. I spend much of my days chasing after Coulby to get him to drink formula, or rescuing the cat from the attacking children, or cleaning up Caroline's pencil wall art. There are toys everywhere, cleverly hidden in baskets that get dumped upside down, spilling all of the contents out. I pick up those toys about five times a least. I change poopy diapers (and sometimes they are the ones that make my eyes water), remind Coulby to use the potty before we leave the house (and he STILL has to go right when we get in the car or to a store!), try to squeeze time in to do mountainous piles of laundry, and put the "time-out" chair into use when my little boy pushes the limits (making me long for the days when all he could do was scream). I think in mommy terms now, and have accepted the "mommy brain" as part of the territory. I always say that I will be smart again...some day. I do not get out much and I have not had a "date" with my husband in forever, and i often wonder if I will know myself anymore by the time the kids are both in school all day every day.

But I also laugh. I laugh at my kids and the funny things they come up with. I laugh when Coulby makes up his own songs, or Caroline starts dancing to those songs. And even when she breaks open eggs on our counter or pours salt all over the table or pepper on my bagel and in my coffee. What else can you do but laugh? These kids are funny. They are not wallflowers that say "Yes, ma'am," or sit with their hands folded in their laps, never breaking a rule. They live!

My husband has the glamorous job (or so many people think), so a lot of time when asked what both of us do, I feel the limelight bypass me. And that is okay. Because I know what I do as a mom, and I know how difficult and wonderful and frustrating and fun it can be! Moms make the world go 'round, especially those brave enough to be stay-at-home moms. I applaud you all!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

FAVORITE THINGS photo assignment...

Some of my favorite things are the first signs of Spring. This ladybug is a small reminder that Spring is on its way...I just hope it comes soon!

Coulby's passion right now is trains! Everything trains! He can find a way to incorporate trains into anything. In fact, his teachers at school say they often have to remind him that he cannot make his letters into train tracks, and that when he draws mommy's face, he should not include a train track that would look interesting, huh? Anyway, his train had to be added into my favorite things assignment. I did edit this photo, but the edited version would not upload. So this is what you get!

Snuggle time with Coulby is one of daddy's favorite things. This photo was obviously somewhat staged, but Coulby had come into our room that morning to lay with his daddy. This is exactly how he positioned sweet. When I asked them to sit still for a photo, they both closed their eyes.

Two of Caroline's favorite things: Books and Elmo!
The "favorite things" photo assignment made me think about all of my favorite things...and the list was endless. But I did not want the whole focus of the assignment to be on me and what I like, so I took a different approach. Everyone has favorites, so I took a photo representative of each of my family member's favorites. It was a fun perspective.