Friday, July 01, 2016

getting back into the swing of things

Sitting on a swing, looking up at the clouds, with your head way back and hair flying in the wind is one of the best feelings since I was a little girl. The feeling hasn't changed for me as the years speed by and I remember it well. Now, my almost-two-year-old son has that same feeling -- "higher, higher" he tells me over and over and over again! But since he's come around, this swing called life hasn't been moving so high and it's time to get going again. We used to just go places and as much as I swore I'd NEVER dare to let having a baby change that -- it just did. We used to go to Montauk for my birthday (december 13th) and valentine's day and walk on the beach in the frigid, cracked-dry-skin kind of winter day my birthday always seems always to fall on. We'd go on adventures and find new places. We used to drive with the windows all the way down. Life certainly doesn't stop to wait for you to catch up and sometimes, we've just gotta force ourselves to jump back in and get back on that swing. Now the windows are almost always down and g loves the wind in his hair and on his face just as much as I do (most of the time anyway)! It feels amazing. We have a couple of small trips planned for this year and working on more. Traveling isn't just one of those things I "like" to do. Just as much as photography gives me that air I need to breathe, venturing to new, near or foreign places is just as critical to me. This Thursday on 07.07.2016, DM and I will have been together for 9 years and married for 5 years. The following day, our baby is turning two years old. I don't know where our lives are going because it's moving so damn fast but I'm so excited to have the wind back in my hair.

this was my last birthday and for the first time in my life, as far as I can remember, it was actually warm enough for me (not us) to walk barefoot on the sand. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

bitter vs. sweet

one week old, post second bath.
I assume all newborns who are put in a mesh seat in the kitchen sink don't enjoy their first baths either. But he was so calm after I put my lips on his and wrapped him in one of his sweet hooded towels. this is, of course, my favorite. I've got a thing for bunnies!

There are a lot of sweet moments in life between all the bitter ones. Those are the ones I immerse myself in. They usually go extremely fast and they are easy to miss; but I am always on the hunt for them, stopping dead in my tracks when I spot one and usually do what I do best by freezing time with a bunch of photos.

Some people like to read books, take baths, go for a run....me? I like to take pictures...all of the time. I've been asked to just put the camera down and enjoy the moment. Though for me, capturing that moment is how I enjoy the moment! Sure, I wish sometimes I were able to take maybe a few less, but it's an unstoppable desire. Later, after days, months or years have passed and the memories have faded, I am aways grateful to stumble upon those photographs again, bringing tall 5 senses right back to a fresh memory. Being a photographer is bittersweet. Sometimes you don't get the shot and then you've really missed the moment, both first hand and documented. There's a bit of anxiety trying to get that great shot, so I am not able to fully soak up every sense of the moment. We all make choices and mine are undeniably out of my control. It's instinctual. It's who I am and how I breathe.
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Feeding off of bittersweet...I have a recipe I contemplated sharing with the world. I, of course, did not write it, nor am I the one who found it. Like most of my recipes, I got this one from my dear mum-in-law. This is for the fudgiest, richest, yummiest, diehard, unbeatable, bittersweet, chocolatey, unavoidable, go-to brownie recipe you will ever try and never go looking for another.
note: that heart in the batter just happened when I poured the chocolate in. happy accident! 

If you're like me, you'll wanna lick the kitchenaid bowl clean too! Per usual, I was running late to my party so I didn't get a photo of the finished product. But they always look so pretty and scrumptious in my heart-shaped polish pottery, lightly sprinkled with confectioners sugar to cover all the cracks and imperfections from cutting before they've cooled enough, again, because I am always late!

Artpark Brownies
2/3 cup butter
5 ounces unsweetened, best quality French chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup sifted flour
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Butter and flour a 9″ square baking pan.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler, over boiling water. When melted, add vanilla and set aside.
3. Beat eggs and salt in mixer. Add sugar and beat at high speed for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is quite white.
4. Add chocolate and butter mixture and beat at low speed, just until mixed. Add flour and combine quickly, until there are no white streaks.
5. Pour batter into baking pan and put in oven. Immediately turn oven down to 350° and bake for 40 minutes. Note: the normal toothpick test will not work on these brownies, but if you want to try pricking them with a toothpick, it should come out not quite clean. Do not overbake; these brownies should be fudgy.
Makes 12 brownies. (mine make a lot more because I cut them tiny.)

There isn't a party that I go to without baking this puppies and likewise, there isn't a person that doesn't come running up to me with chocolate on their lips, telling me how amazing they are. If you like chocolate. If you like sweets. If you like GOOD brownies -- try these! Don't say I didn't tell ya so!
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Yesterday was Memorial day, and I'm always looking for an excuse to have a party. It was all thrown together last minute, but going to be perfect -- until....we checked the weather. For the few days leading up to it, The forecast persistently said it was going to pour 100% ALL DAY! My gut feeling was that it wouldn't. And it didn't! As the day came near, the percentage dropped until it eventually and finally said it would only rain until noon! It was hot and humid, but it broke enough with some sunshine to add for everyone to be outside. 14 adults + 11 toddlers between 2-3 years old. Everything started real pretty and it ended looking like a college beer pong party. *note to self -- kids love tortilla chips, water dispensers and red party cups!* I wouldn't have changed a single thing (except locking the sliding door and keeping the kids outside.) It was everything we'd hoped it would be to start off this season right! We are so lucky to have made an incredible and irreplaceable group of friends in the past year or so. I would be so lost without each of them and this was a way for me to thank them without actually saying thank you for the billionth time. But just for the hell of it -- THANK YOU! Thank you for being my friend, for teaching me something new every day we speak or get together, for being there for me, for staying there for me, for letting me in, for everything. This is just the beginning!
waiting for me not to look so he can push the water spout!
old warped post and orange strap gone. new post, all stained, pretty and straight is in!
he opened and closed the screen door about 30x in 1 minute when I took this photo.
practice makes perfect, I guess?
where papa goes, he goes. what papa does, he does. what papa has, he takes!
"what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine." - my mil
may I please eat all the cheese and fruit on your cheese board now? O:)
I didn't get to take many photos, but once the party started, it didn't stop for a few hours :D
 the morning after!
we went to the gym for 1 hour and he was asleep on our 5 minute car ride home by 1130a.
 living the life.
fake smile when I say, "say cheese!"
 not sure if he was playing w/ sound or the water in his ears? but he did this for a couple of minutes.
graham and kaylee!
every day that the sun shines at this time. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
g's hair has been extra curly with this heat and humidity -- a trim is needed.
he was so busy for an hour after we got home from swimming for 3 hours!
I even got a recording of him unknowingly beatboxing!
(humming and clicking his tongue at the same time!!!)

Friday, May 20, 2016

the backyard, part II - we got a fire pit!

this is a continuation from my previous post.

that was then. this is now! - 05.11.2015
I'll keep the 2 guys in the front here and get rid of those 2 in the back!
those string lights turned from hanging up and plugging in,
to one of the biggest projects we've done to the yard. but oh my god were they worth it (if you're asking me. maybe not worth it if you ask DM) :O
my man -- the hardest working guy I know.
 I love this one! It's so rare that I can get him to smile for a photo!
 not sure if I'll ever get around to planting those biodegradable mint pots you see on the coffee table. they've been there since the beginning of April! :X
 "no chawie, das mahn!"
 our old sectional had damaged parts, so somehow DM got us to keep the old one and get a new one for free! now we've got one big one. guess we'll have to buy that pretty teak one later down the road.
 raisins are his favorite snack of all time. "raithids" he calls 'em. melt my heart.

 that back right corner of our yard is gonna get a little raised vegetable garden.
pretty anxious to cover as much of that ugly fence as possible.
there's about 50' of it.
 these trees are growing a mile a minute.
 these baby emerald greens (all 35 of them) have a story of their own! It involves me renting a uhaul alone and driving an hour to get them and almost dying when the truck started swerving when it hit the routed out emergency lane just 5 minutes away from getting home. this project was the perfect example of my determination. anyway, they'll take a few years to cover the fence, but we've got to start somewhere! trick is keeping Charlie bear away from peeing on them! Hope he doesn't kill them!!!! :/
 the barn grass is starting to die back from the roundup treatment I did.
will have to do a second treatment.
 that's his outdoor dog bed I bought directly behind him.
:D our patio is finally dressed with 4 oak adirondack chairs and a fire pit.
^ lupine ^
we got 4 yellow knockout roses to go against the big rock and we'll need to add one more. a row of boxwoods will go in front of those and be trimmed to a low hedge once they grow together. then in the very front, a border of lamb's ears.

my sedum garden on the big rock has turned into one of my favorite spots to garden. there are so many little cracks and crevices to watch things grow. my goal is to fill every last crevice with a plant. as with everything else, it's a work in progress!

he plays with his screws and tools from morning til night, anytime we're home.
always asking, "what's this?" even when he knows the answer. 
when he nicely wants help, he says "I want mommy..."
my copper herb planters.
please, please, pleaseeee let this grass last!
annoyingly obsessed with his red ball.
uh oh, there's that burrowed-browed cranky face.
"no, I dont want it." "uppy mommy"
not squirrel-proof, but v. pretty, bird feeder.
his obsession with screws has grown stronger and stronger over the past 2-3 weeks from watching dm fixing and putting things together constantly.
pointing his toes to the grass and asking me v. nicely if he's allowed to leave the patio without shoes on. I'm raising a really great kid over here.