the good life… with a little more nothing

Gwen!It’s still hard for me to believe, but a few weeks ago this little monkey turned one. She also started walking, and now she’s in college, working on an ambitious Furniture Climbing degree with a minor in Bumping One’s Head On Things. It is ridiculous how fast kids grow up these days, no? If this one doesn’t land us in the ER at least once before she’s two, we’ll be very lucky. Her favorite things are shoes, a toy bus, and a dancing stuffed bunny. She will eat almost anything, although she’s not as fond of fruits (except avocados, those are a big A+). She is as jolly and giggly as she is hot-tempered and stubborn — I did not know babies could have mood swings, but Gwen makes sure to have several each day. She can say “kitty” and “Ella” and “ny-ny” and “kick kick”, and when she grins, her dimples are magnificent.

Ellie!And what about this little girl? Well, she’s very precocious and full of thoughts — so many thoughts! She tells us she’s getting a computer for her birthday (I have no idea who put this idea in her head) and that she’s going to marry her little sister someday (hey, works for us — we’ll only have to pay for one wedding, and we already approve of her future spouse!) Her favorite Halloween costumes, in no particular order: Rapunzel (from Tangled), a zombie (her sister would accompany her as a sunflower, a la Plants vs. Zombies), a bird. She has the facial expressions and vocabulary of a thirteen-year-old, but with all the sweetness of a three-year-old. She is afraid of trains (but only the sound they make — she loves riding them) and thinks having a little sister is awesome, except for the part where she has to share her toys, but only sometimes. She is my cuddlebug, and I think four is going to suit her well.

The much dorkier monkey in the photos above has had a busy couple of months. Tim and I had the pleasure of spending a week in San Diego with our co-workers at the beginning of September, which was awesome and worthy of its own post, if I could ever find the time to write it. I’ve never been in a situation where I loved my job so much that I had to remind myself to stop working… and that’s where having children keeps me grounded, since they have this thing where they need to be regularly fed and bathed and snuggled.

AutumnFor the last few weeks we’ve tried to get out and about as much as possible. There’s a certain sense of urgency that sets in about this time — winter is coming, enjoy this while it lasts. Normally I find autumn inspiring and invigorating, but I’ve had a difficult time getting into it this year. S.A.D. may be the culprit; I have to soothe that panicky little bird in the back of my mind that tells me the cold will never end, that we’ll all be sick and miserable and stuck in the house FOREVER!

In an effort to pick myself up a bit, I got back on the exercise bandwagon. Well, I didn’t quite fall off the bandwagon this summer, but I was definitely dragged behind it for a while. I’ve been taking 2-3 mile walks in the evenings, and I’ve just recently discovered Just Dance 4, which will keep me company when it gets too cold to go outside.

So, that’s my life in a nutshell. I work, I enjoy our family, and I carve out time for myself when I can. What I struggle with is finding peace in the chaos. There’s always one more CSS bug, one more runny nose to be wiped, one more load of laundry, one more trip to plan and pack for, one more project to start. “Just one more thing” turns into “ALL THE THINGS” and at the end of the day I am exhausted and yet, full of experiences and life. But I wish I knew how to live in the moment, just… being. I’ve never been good at that — I get impatient in the time it takes to pour myself a glass of water, for pete’s sake (because there are SO MANY THINGS I COULD BE DOING in those ten precious seconds, right? Who has time to pour water?!?). I take long walks because I have a destination in mind, with no focus on the journey. In the interests of keeping my sanity, I think I need to spend some more time on… nothing. Yeah, that’s exactly what I need. A little more nothing.

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a breath of fresh air

ellie plays in the leavesI’ve come away from the long weekend feeling motivated and inspired. Maybe it’s the fall air, or maybe it’s that I finally feel rested and “caught up” for the first time in weeks. We spent a few days at my parents’, and the peace and quiet (and the extra sets of hands for Miss Crazy Toddler–thanks mom and dad) gave me some time to think. And when I think, I make lists!

My big to-do list for the month:

  1. Fix my treadmill–or, in the event it can’t be fixed, purchase a new treadmill–and make a point of walking almost every day. I miss my old routine from a few years ago and I think I’d feel better if I could jump start that habit. In the meantime, I’m going to take advantage of the nice weather and walk outside at least once a day.
  2. Figure out where to configure a small studio space in our home so I can continue to work on photography this winter. One shoot per month would be ideal, more if I have the time/inclination. Research lenses and consider a couple upgrades (a new AF prime would be practical, but a Lensbaby with a few inserts would be frivolous and fun–and who’s motivated by practicality, anyway?) Speaking of photos, I’ll be posting some new photos from a recent shoot soon!
  3. Start mapping out the next few years, to whatever extent possible. I’m starting to feel that late-20’s “itch” (Saturn return, anyone?) to figure out where I want to be and what I want to be doing with my life. Not that I’m not happy with things right now, but I want my daily life to actively contribute to more long-term goals. The problem is, I don’t really have any long-term goals–common sense dictates I should start there, no? Part of this will involve working some more on my life list, which is something I’ve been picking away at here and there but have yet to really focus on.

I also got to play in the leaves with my favorite girl this weekend, which was a joy (as you can plainly see.) It was a reminder of what is truly important… fun times, my family, good health. As a Professional Anxiety-Ridden Worrywort, I often forget how lucky we are. Sometimes it takes a simple moment to bring me back into focus.

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i’m guessing it doesn’t get easier, huh?

Ellie at the beachWe’ve had some amazing fall days over the last few weeks… I’m soaking it all up as fast as I can because I know in just a few short months it will be cold and snowy again. Last weekend we took a trip to the coast to visit family and I had a photo shoot with a nice young fella, and this weekend we spent Saturday morning at the Common Ground Fair, baking in the unseasonably warm sun.

“Getting out” seems to be the theme of the last few weeks, to the point where I’m looking forward to a weekend that doesn’t involve, well, anything. No plans, no deadlines, no long car rides or coolers–don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with Tim and Ellie doing all these things. It’s especially fun to see the world through Ellie’s young eyes–simple things like apple-picking or a walk along the coast take on a whole new meaning when I see the joy reflected on her face. We’ve made some wonderful memories and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. But I’m also exhausted! I think hibernation is in order, if only for a weekend or two.

Tim, being the saint that he is, gave me a few hours’ break this weekend so I could work on my latest project, a personal web portal. Now that my personal blog is separate from my photography and illustration websites, I wanted a single place that brings everything together in an attractive way. I’m so pleased with the way the portal came out, especially where it was built in just a few hours. Beyond that, I’m finishing up the latest influx of custom orders and working on a backlog of blog posts for Calobee Doodles. It feels nice (and a little crazy-making) to be so productive.

For the record, my kid is growing up way too fast. I don’t think I expected to have a miniature human being bossing me around so soon or so eloquently. We’re living with a very short, very loud, very temperamental camp director. It’s ridiculously cute when she marches up to Tim and demands “Hugs, Daddy, hugs!” Almost makes up for the fact that she’s recently decided sleeping is for losers. Maybe it is, but I am fine with being a well-rested loser!

I feel like I’m juggling everything, but just barely. T & I have talked about another kid, but I can’t imagine how that will work, logistically. It seems like we’re struggling to fit in everything we currently want and need to do, and what kind of load will a second kid add to the mix? On the other hand, I felt much the same way before Ellie was born–hard to imagine thinking of life before Ellie as “busy,” but I distinctly remember asking myself incredulously, “How do people with kids do it?!?”

Now that I have one of my own, the answer is… I have no freaking clue. Nope. No idea how we manage to keep the house relatively clean, make sure Ellie is clothed, bathed and fed, get a full night’s sleep, work a full-time job, have a relationship with my husband, maintain friendships and spend time with my various creative endeavors. In fact, at least one of those things always gets lost in the shuffle, and it seems the key is to accept that you can’t do it all, but you shouldn’t completely neglect anything, either. Hah-hah, because that’s just as easy as it sounds, of course!

Despite the sheer amount of Crazy that seems to have infiltrated our lives, I don’t want to wait too much longer before we start thinking about future baby Moore. I’d prefer to get the baby stuff out of the way sooner rather than later, while I still (barely) have the energy for pregnancy and 3 a.m. feedings, before I’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to live on three hours of sleep at a stretch. I think (I hope) Ellie will eventually appreciate having a sibling, too. Just one more minion in the arsenal as far as she’s concerned!

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labor day weekend

big grinsWhat a gorgeous weekend! Totally makes up for the fact that last week was so unbearably hot. I say it every year, but summer is fast out-staying its welcome. I’m ready for a cool breeze and an excuse to wear fleece, and this weekend delivered on that promise.

On Saturday we drove to Freeport to see one of my absolute favorite musicians in concert. Now, I’m not what you’d call an “audiophile.” I don’t have an extensive collection of music, and my taste has been called into question on more than one occasion by an embarrassing number of people, including my parents, my brother, several roommates, and even my husband. I don’t make a concentrated effort to seek out new music. There are very few songs that move me to tears. In short, music is nice, but it’s not one of my “things” like it is for some people.

That said, there are a select few musicians who I get ridiculously excited about, whose albums I will always buy without hesitation, and who I’d happily pay good money to see in concert multiple times. Joshua Radin is one of those people. I’ve had a total crush on his music since I first heard “Winter.” When I heard he was coming to Freeport as part of L.L. Bean’s Summer in the Park concert series, I literally squealed like a schoolgirl.

The concert itself was wonderful. The weather was perfect, we had excellent seats, and the atmosphere was friendly and low-key. We got to the park several hours in advance so we could reserve our spot, did a little shopping at Bean’s, then just hung out. We watched the band set up and play a couple songs for sound check (if I hadn’t forgotten my camera, I could have gotten a picture with Josh at that point–so bummed! But he did wave and smile at me, so that was neat.) Ellie was so well-behaved, charming everyone around us. She didn’t make a peep throughout the whole concert… just laid her head on my chest and snuggled up. I cannot think of a more perfect way to spend an evening than with my family, listening to my favorite music and cuddling with my kiddo.

Yesterday we were treated to this beautiful sight for a few moments, and I’m glad I had the presence of mind to grab my camera before it faded. I did very little to enhance the photo, just a slight contrast bump and white balance adjustment.

rainbow

In celebration of our extra day off, we decided to take a little road trip to a local orchard for u-pick apples. Ellie had fun toddling between the trees and helping us throw the fruit into our grocery bag. I got a short video of her first apple-picking experience (she was more interested in eating the apples than picking them), then it was back home to make the first crisp of the season; so delicious!

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