Seeing The Everyday

Daughters

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I have few memories of Octave being a still baby, even as a newborn. In hindsight I can see that the lack of memories has less to do with my memory and is more telling of her little spirit. Her energy was and still is big, loud, and kinetic. I can so clearly see and feel her desire to do more, see more, say more, feel more, give more, take more, be more.  So. much. more.  Her rest is seldom, both literally and figuratively.  Just her presence, let alone her words, beg me to dig deeper than I’ve ever dug and to see myself clearly.  She rocks me, shakes me, and leaves me upside down before she asks me to arrive at my fullest potential, every.single.day.  She is my mirror, my joy, my teacher of patience. This is such a beautiful blessing but usually after it is unflattering, hard and messy. I am most certain she heard me preach to the world all those years ago just how much I LOVE being taken out of my comfort zone, because that is exactly what she does almost every hour of every day. But oh how she melts me. She melts my heart deep and wide, making herself at home in the most untouched spaces inside these bones. No one can soften me the way she can, truly no one.

Bijou is only nine months old but her differences are obvious, even from the most oblivious passerby. When she was growing inside my belly I could feel her little spirit already teaching me something different from her sister. She came earth side and those words I swore I heard her whisper in my womb, became a little louder but only loud enough for the most steadfast ears. She is present, and rooted, exuding a comfort that I never knew until I knew her. She doesn’t question or ask much of me, she just looks into the deepest place she can find and wants me to stay there with her. Her spirit feels so familiar that when I look deep into her eyes I feel like I have known her my whole life. Yet sometimes I feel like I don’t know the first thing about her. She is equal parts mystery and transparency.

I’ve been told to be careful how I talk about and compare my daughters differences. Surely I understand and want to be sensitive, yet I can’t help but find it to be more helpful than harmful.  I think it would be lovely to be a grown woman reading words your mother wrote about you from the moment she first met you.  I think it would be empowering to look back over your life and see how some traits were so uniquely you, even from day one. I think it would be positive to teach your children that their differences are celebrated and needed, not only inside a nuclear family, but in this world.  But selfishly this sifting, organizing, and reflecting is good for me too.  I feel the need to articulate and understand how and why they grow me. It’s important for me to express that just because one might make me more uncomfortable or stretch me to my max, does not mean that I value and love her any less than the one who holds my hand right where I am at. Their differences are what I need, and even more, what the world needs. These girls are my daughters, but I am forever their student. It is from them I am learning the most complex, heart wrenching, visceral love I have ever known. Every morning I see my life lessons laid before me inside my bottomless cup of steaming truth, but I’ve only begun to take my first sip.

Surrendered

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It’s 2 am, or something like it, when she sneaks into my room filling our bed with four warm bodies, leaving me the smallest sliver of space.  She kisses my face, tells me she loves me, and just wants to snuggle.  The tired inside these bones starts to shift and breakdown.  The tears start flowing, and suddenly uninterrupted sleep seems so unimportant when it’s traded in for this.

Soon they are all sleeping sound, except me, the one who might need it most.  I could be bitter,  I used to be bitter.  I could be tired, I used to give in to the tired.  But in this quiet vulnerable space, side by side with my tiny tribe, I see myself.  I see my mishaps and regrets, but  I also see a heart that has doubled in size and overflows will a fierce and selfless love. Sometime after becoming a mother of two my heart has transformed and redefined itself.  I’ve given in, surrendered, and said yes.  I’ve said yes to it all and in return this heart has fallen deep, deeper, deepest, into the most joyful heartache I’ve ever known. Interestingly, I didn’t feel like a mother the day I learned there was life growing inside of me.  I am not so sure if I felt like a mother the day I birthed Octave into this world.  It is now, almost three years later that I can confidently claim my name as a mother, and even better, their mother.  There’s not too much I really need in this life, just keep me where the light is, and where they are.

 

 

Movement + Light

 

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I am captivated by the way she moves.  I am moved by the light that dances in her, with her and around her.  I am tickled with the beauty that’s born from the simplest act of pouring cream in my coffee.  Little goes unnoticed, nothing goes without praise.  

I am lost and then found, or perhaps, found, forever lost, but these moments are enough.  This life is more than enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Here Now

Be here now, I tell myself.  My aching arms and back are only temporary. This belly, and these hormone induced bi-polar like meltdowns are only temporary.  No place to call our own is only temporary.  My little lady needing her mama so much, is only temporary.  And yet there is so much of the present that I wish could last.  Can she fit in my arms forever?

These photographs capture my days.  My days of rocking and rocking and rocking my little lady to sleep.  She must sense she will be sharing me soon.  The bathroom mirror I glance in to see if she is asleep yet.  The window I always leave open to savor that good NW air.    My protruding belly.  Her bum in disposable’s half of the time. Sigh.  A ring to remind me we can get through anything together. Forever.  The calm I feel when she is finally asleep.

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Lately I find myself wanting to document and share, but sometimes I feel confined by the history of this blog.  Everything I’ve shared here has always weaved in and around food, and while I will always celebrate the colors and tastes that fill our bellies, I want this space to grow with me, with us.

A year and a half ago I found myself in the middle of nowhere, WY and I became consumed with my kitchen and making every single thing from scratch, maybe for lack of anything else to do.  I discovered a domestic life was far more attractive than I could have ever imagined and suddenly cooking and baking became my catalyst for finding joy and navigating the newness of motherhood.  I found myself as a wife and mother, in rising doughs and fermenting cabbage.

Now I am back in a city full of life, with everything at my fingertips.  I am finding myself once again in movement, light, rain, and puddles.  I am finding myself wanting to capture this season in photographs rather than food.  Maybe it’s not having a kitchen to call my own, or maybe it’s this stage in pregnancy.  Regardless of the reason, I am filled with a desire for a new creative outlet.  The only problem is I am just a wanna-be photographer.  I took a few photography classes in high school but beyond that I have no idea what I am doing.  I just know I love capturing life with my camera like I love chopping vegetables and whisking batter.  I also love to write and while my lack of formal education leaves my confidence low, it is something I must do whether I am “good” at it or not.  This online space gave me confidence in my kitchen endeavors and helped refine my love for cooking and baking.  I have hopes that this space could do the same thing for my photography and writing if I let myself express ALL the things that make my heart go pitterpatterclunk, regardless if it is related to fresh baguette out of my oven.  This space will continue to be a keeper of our favorite family recipes, memories, and thoughts on food, but I am inspired to let it become more than that if and when it feels natural.  So here I give myself permission to grow and evolve and share beauty wherever I find it.

Wild and Free

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I walk promptly to catch a bus that makes shapes and predictable patterns inside the veins of my favorite city. My unfamiliar heavy gait finds amusement in the wet pavement.   I’ve known this sound for years but after seasons in the desert it has never been quite this sweet.  I arrive at the bus stop moments before the bus arrives, but just long enough to stretch my tired calves along side the curb and smell the cigarette of the woman walking past.  Long enough to take note of all the things I love about the moment.

I gaze out the window, like a child entering a fairy tale, only it’s real, all of it.  Octave peers out her window with eyes that mirror mine.  She rests her eyes only to chew off another piece of her fruit leather.  We enter the city with patience and fervor, there is nothing that goes unnoticed and nothing that is left to be praised.  Everything looks and smells wild.  My heart feels just the same.

In giddy awe I remember that just weeks ago my life resembled nothing of the present.  I laugh with the newly profound realization that we didn’t just leave behind Wyoming but we left behind three American virtues… a “good”career, our automobile and television.  We left all three without apprehension or regret, and traded them in for the intangible.  We traded them in for the look in my husband’s eyes, and for the newfound peace inside this swelling belly.  We traded it all in for that moment I looked Octave in the eye and said, I love our life.  

Home

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Home is not always where the heart is. You see, my heart is intricately woven into time and space with my husband and daughter, and yet still we are not home.  Home is where my bones know peace, and where my mind effortlessly follows. It’s where desire, and nostalgia dissolve into the present, leaving nothing more than deep sighs of content, and belly laughs exchangeable for an abdominal workout. It’s where cousins kiss repetitively, leaving their mamas swooning over a family bond that runs deeper than I can seem to wrap my head around.  Home is where green things grow, and where mountains hold secrets, and symbols that I acknowledge, and inquire about daily. It’s where beauty begs to be praised, and where my heart is open enough to sing such praises without much effort or intention.  It’s where coffee runs like water, but still, I savor its aroma like I may not get the privilege to smell it tomorrow.  It’s where I move across chilled wood floors, and am known by the most beautiful dance community I have ever found.  It’s where that space inside my chest swells with purpose, and meaning, and where the little things become my every-thing’s.  It’s where I am so connected and present that I forget about my camera, except to capture my little Lorax.  It’s the place I want to give octave, and the new bambino, growing, and dwelling inside the most creative part of my being.  It’s the place I can’t resist much longer.  My suitcase heart is finally asking to come home…

Saturday: A Photo Essay

I want my life to rest in neatly folded piles beside my bed at night. I want to open and close my days with a piece of twine wrapped loosely around a leather-bound memory keeper, so I can capture, hold, and remember every last detail. I want to sigh heavily after a good days work and marvel at a beautiful, functional, organized kitchen. I want to wake before the sun, and prepare lavender scones with fresh lemon curd, and freshly pressed coffee.  Most days I manage to only accomplish the cup of freshly ground coffee, and steal a piece of morning sun for me, and my camera.

My photographs in this space only catch a glimpse of my days, and usually my favorite moments in the kitchen. What I share is in fact reality, but only a fraction of it. I have eyes and ears that crave beauty, and live to capture it. Some days I feel like a beauty thief, trying to desperately savor and soak in all that it is. I consider myself fortunate when I have my camera beside me, and am able to keep those images in my head alive.  Moments of the early light that sneaks in my window as I pour my morning cup of coffee, or the vulnerability of poached eggs just moments before Octave sticks her fingers in, and smears yolk into the carpet, are moments that stand out in my days.  I am not trying to portray something that does not exist, I am simply trying to hold onto moments I declare lovely, while they last.  I am trying to capture how I see and feel life.

But sometimes the photographs of food are staged, and the counter where I photograph is unusually clean, and the food is strategically placed under good natural light. This small, well used counter space is a beacon of hope in the midst of chaos and destruction. What you do not see is the kitchen table and white couch being colored while I take those photos. You don’t see the berry stained cupboards and grimy base boards.  I am not necessarily trying to hide those areas of my life, I am all about transparency, and I suppose they too are beautiful in their own way. However, I see that all day long, and I desperately want to hold on to the clean, quiet moments, especially when are few and far between these days.  My kitchen is my sanctuary and I take great pride in the presentation of food, table setting and dish washing. Food is where I put my energy, and this just happens to be a food blog that documents inspirations, recipes and happenings in and around the kitchen.  The fact that I wear yoga pants and sports bras almost everyday of the week, and am lucky to wash my hair one of those seven days, and haven’t scrubbed our bath tub in two weeks, does not get talked about, yet is very much my day in and day out reality.

Today I didn’t feel inspired to share “A Week In Photos,” instead I wanted to document an average day, in and around my kitchen, and share photographs that capture how I see my everyday life…the spilled milk, dusty mobiles, random meals that always happen at the end of the week, and beautiful fragments of light.

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6 am:  I wake-up and take in the morning light.

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6:15 am: Octave is already ready to go “bye-bye,” on the “bike.”  I sit and drink my coffee as she eats ,and I become increasingly annoyed and fixated on the fact that our dish towels have no drawer.

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7:00 am:  I make breakfast and a mental note to dust EVERYTHING, one day soon.

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11:00 am:  We go for a walk, and I wear shorts for the first time in months.

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I teach Octave about shadows, and we look at our own.  I see my silhouette and exchange my bun for a pony tail.  I make a personal vow to stop wearing my hair in a bun everyday.

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Noon:  We stop at Grant St. Market for lunch and limes.  We sit outside and stare at sunflowers, only to think of Colorado, Jill, and Aunt Lucy’s backyard.

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3:00 pm: We come home to find a missed call from Jasmine.  I dwell in the simplicity and freedom of a home phone.  I may not ever want to go back to being tied to a cell phone, but I tell myself not to form an opinion too soon.

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3:00-5:00 pm: Octave refuses her nap and cries for much longer than necessary.  I am too frustrated to document, so instead we watch The Food Network, while I regain some momentum to start dinner.

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5:00 pm: I make my first casserole-esque type dish (I don’t even like casseroles,) in attempt to use up every last vegetable in our kitchen.

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6:45 pm: Octave goes down for a very early bed time.

7:00 pm: I sigh and make myself a killer gin, lime & rose cocktail, think of my mom, and wait for hubs to get home from work.

To Rest in Beauty

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Beauty blows in and changes by breath.  Surely it is everywhere, available always, waiting to be acknowledged and praised.  But sometimes in the most unassuming moment, it rushes in, overwhelms the space, and leaves me in awe, wondering how and why I was chosen for and given this life.  The pacific is such beauty and magic that my littlest lady, running and dancing a million miles a minute, stops and feels it too.  She dances fully and exhales deeply to the sound of the ocean, just like her mama.

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The good evening light shines on my 92 year old grandfathers face.  I wonder everything and yet ask little about his life.  There is not enough time to know everything I desire to know. So, I pour some red, massage his wise and well lived shoulders, and savor these precious moments.

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My love arrives a few days later, and my soul rests in his presence.  Together we are home. We open good bottles and eat fresh seafood.  We rest and watch, chase and play.  Our beach babes are on the move, chasing the ocean and catching the wind.  My sister and I kiss and cheers to the good life.   This is indeed the good life.

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I reach for my lens to capture this beauty but beg my heart to capture this feeling.  Remember this forever, I tell myself.  Forever and ever, past all the ever afters.

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