she learned how to go underwater at a friend's house this week. it broke through all kinds of fear about the water. she showed me first how she went under in the bathroom sink, complete with goggles.
then she took a bath in the tub with the goggles on pretending she was a fish.
one hot afternoon i ran out to grab some groceries and get the mail and i came back to a note saying "we're at the pond!"
i ran down to join them, finding her in the water and him dipping his toes in tentatively. she couldn't wait to show me her water somersaults and underwater swimming. i told her how proud i was of her. i was amazed by how just making that one leap through a fear she has had for so long could allow so much joy to open up for her.
eventually the sun started going behind the trees and her teeth chattered despite the enthusiastic splashing. we forgot towels, so she wrapped herself in the deflated floatie and we trekked back home.
these are summer nights. the smell of the grill going, the birds in the trees, the windows open and the breeze coming through, the smell of the pond and the bathing suits drying on the line, our diets of greens from the garden, the little one running around picking blueberries and peas and plopping down to eat them in the grass. the breakfasts and dinners outside in the sunshine and lounging in the hammock reading books.
the summer is passing us by quickly. for those who live in maine, we know how fleeting it is. how we can blink and it's over in a second. and then the long winter sets in and we feel almost like we put everything on hold again until the summer days arrive.
so for now, we will savor every single second we spend together this summer, starting with our first camping trip together this coming weekend. i'm going to hang on to every moment like it's the only one we've got.
how are you enjoying summer?
this week you:
we've had a few gatherings with friends this summer. not as many as usual because the rain has just been relentless. but what we have managed has been fulfilling and so much fun.
we spent a chilly evening (despite it being "summer") down by the river. we barbecued all kinds of veggies and hot dogs and settled on a picnic blanket as the sun set to enjoy the feast.
we are planning on a lot more of these as time goes on. especially now that we have a brief break from traveling for weddings. i miss entertaining and our friends so much.
a big thanks to Maria for snapping some shots of us all together!
we packed up the car with lots of snacks and water, some favorite strawberry picking books, and headed out for a day of adventure starting at acres and acres of strawberry fields. we picked over 20 pounds of delicious berries. the little one leaping from row to row with a giant smile on her face, dripping strawberry juice. she kept saying "Mama! We're picking strawberries!!!!!"
i gave them both the option of strawberry jam or frozen berries. they both chose frozen berries. the little one likes them as ice cubes in her lemonade and he just likes to eat them as is. so we picked and picked and picked. the little one giggling throughout it all, he trying to find the biggest berries than anyone else, and me just enjoying the day we got to spend together. we rode off to our next adventure, all sticky with strawberry juice, singing all the best tunes we knew.
i made them strawberry shortcake after a long day of berry picking, complete with homemade whipped cream. they devoured all of it, leaving just crumbs in the pan. we spent the rest of the night washing and hulling berries while some french tunes drifted through the open window and the little one ran wildly through the yard.
we finished the night with a potluck at a friend's house; all of us tired from a long day of berry picking, but very well fed.
next up? raspberries! and blackberries! and blueberries! oh, i think our freezer will be quite full this winter...
we're experiencing a very rainy summer so far. our beach days have been limited, outdoor play happens in between downpours and thunderstorm, and i just weeded the garden after a full two weeks of watching it all grow from the rain.
the good thing about all this rain is i don't feel particularly guilty for having to work inside at my computer all day long. but on those days i devote solely to the little one and our summer together, we are just itching to get outside.
one day we had a friend over and we went down to the pond (a 3 minute walk from us! swimming, fishing, and kayaking!) to fish and catch frogs.
on the way back we bumped into our neighbors. they asked how many fish we caught, and the little ones said excitedly "a thousand striped bass!"
well, not exactly...but a bullfrog was good enough :)
wow. life is full. life is busy.
we have been doing so much lately. i have a hard drive full of photos from the past two weeks and literally no time to upload them. i'm hoping soon i'll be able to have a chance to sit down here and share some. some sweet moments were captured.
tomorrow we're off to another wedding, and the weekend after too. then we have a couple of weeks to just relax and enjoy summer before it passes us by. i've booked a camping trip for us and we spent yesterday getting things we needed to prepare. we're all so excited!
thank you for all your enthusiasm about the e-course giveaway! i'm announcing the winner on sunday evening, so there's still time to enter! and thank you so very much for warmly welcoming mark once again to this space. what a sweet guy, eh?
for now, here are some photos from an outting we had this past week. an evening at our favorite place to eat...
this week you:
it's been close to three weeks since school was done for the summer. i was worried about my work suffering; my vision being delayed once again. i was not looking forward to the time mothering would demand from my already too intense work schedule. how could i possibly do it all? do i need to give up one for the other? i felt panicked and wondered how my work and income would suffer as a result of time away.
balancing motherhood and work is tough for anyone. i work essentially four jobs. it gets tricky. timing, intention, energy, hard work, direction...it's all part of a successful livelihood. and for someone who is solely responsible for all of it, adding a child into the mix can feel incredibly overwhelming. and when you have my personality, doubly so.
i do things 110%. everything. from loving, to parenting, to working. it's how i live life. having to balance two very important things can get tricky. two very important things that demand equal amounts of time and energy. it's been a fearful thought as my business grows. how to do it all.
and then m and i started talking about adding another. was i done? no. not at all. but how could i? how could we? it seemed too scary to add something else to the mix of already demanding things. and as we have talked and discussed and weighed options and i've shed tears and laughed and fought back fears and overcame even more, we settled into summer.
she's home. she's home and dancing and prancing and singing around the house. she's asking for snacks and drinks and outings and playtime and stories and pushes on the swing and ball games and visits to the pond. and i realized that i had just completely absolutely let go.
the e-mails piled up (hundreds by the day). the clients had to wait a few more hours or even a day until i could respond thoughtfully. the editing got piled up for nighttime after she's gone to bed, when i'd really like to be curled up in m's arms half asleep myself. but i sit down and do it. because it's what i have to do. and i am always so grateful for it.
and we have our rhythm. our relaxed, anything goes summer rhthym. and as i make her yet another snack during the day, or pick up more toys, or read another story, i realize just how much i love it all. this is my life. this is what counts. this is what is meaningful. this is my chance. and i've always known that, i've just never figured out what to do with the rest of it. because you see...i'm not just a mother. i'm an artist, a photographer, a lover, and a friend on top of it. and sometimes it's hard to balance all of them. or feel like by devoting your time to one, doesn't take away from another.
m has said that artists lead seemingly selfish lives. because we need to make hard choices to do what we love and be ourselves. our work reflects our love, energy, skills, and desires. our work is who we are. the many other aspects of our lives we strive to fit seamlessly into it all. joining all the things we love into one great being.
and that being ebbs and flows, rises and falls together. as a whole. the little one is my soul, my love. my work is my soul, my love. m is my soul, my love. there is no way to separate them. i inhale and exhale them all together. it is only now that i can see the path to holding it all together.
it is easy. i let go.
i savor the moments like they are my last. whether i am running through a field of buttercups with my little one, editing photos from the beautiful wedding i just shot, or laying on the hammock in the arms of m. there is no feeling like i should be somewhere else or doing something else. i try hard not to worry about the work waiting for me, or think about when i might get to it. i simply am grateful for what i have now.
so i say to life...bring it on. i am open. i am so excited about what's next. my future. our future. and all it entails and holds. it will always require thought and time and energy and work and intention, but most of all, it will include love and happiness.
and for that, i am incredibly grateful. and i realize that i can handle all of it. because it's exactly what i would choose.
a little video i put together to share with you. footage from the last couple of weeks. enjoy!
the sun was out. we took shelter in the shade under a tree. him and i sipping white wine on the hammock, swaying back and forth. she settled on the picnic blanket with her markers and paper, sipping on lemonade.
she sang some songs, we talked. there were trips inside for more drinks, library books, and the Times. we snuggled, all three of us, in the hammock reading to each other.
we hung the clothes to dry and painted our new shed. we watched a lot of old colorful cars go by. the windows were up and the doors open wide. the gentle breeze blew in one window and out the other. the house smelled of freshly cut grass and fragrant flowers.
there were giggles and many pushes on the swing in the apple tree. he took pictures while i obliged her with some underdogs.
then we retreated back to the hammock, all quite content with our afternoon of doing "nothing."
sometimes home is the best place to be, and i think that if we had the choice, it's the only place we'd be.
this week you:
we seem to do a lot in a week. and yet not everything we want (or have) to do!
here are some things we have done:
the little one played her fiddle for the customers of the fried seafood shack next door. she made $2 that night. (we both dropped $1 in, although she said it didn't count.) by the way, have you seen her recital video here? she totally rocked it!
we worked in the garden. a lot. we made a trellis for the peas and beans, planted more carrots and beets and got the beds ready for the tomatoes coming next.
i made an apple pancake for them. mark devoured it (it's one of his favorite!). i've been making nut granola (paleo!) for me and eating it every morning for breakfast. it's hard to believe it, but i officially overdosed on fried eggs!
she practiced her compositions on the piano one afternoon while mama cleaned.
she ate rolled up turkey slices while walking through the house and climbing on everything like a monkey. i'm still finding pieces of it...
we played more games of kickball.
we spruced up the front of our house with some more potted plants and two new shrubs our neighbor gave us as a housewarming gift. next up, painting the exterior. colors have already been picked out and we're getting ready to paint!
and lastly, we ended the day with some before bedtime skateboarding and games of hide and seek.
what have you been doing lately?
i am so behind responding to all of your incredibly wonderful and sweet comments! summer is already kicking my butt big time! i'm struggling keeping up with all of my t0-do's, but hopefully this week will be full of space to allow me to do that. just know i appreciate every single one and look forward to finding the time to say so individually! xo
this week you:
as a business owner, i am frantically wondering how on earth i can continue my more than full-time job during the busiest season. will i find the balance i need to maintain both? i suppose i have no choice. the delicate balance of all parents.
what are your summer plans? how do you maintain that balance?
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oh, the little one and her clothing. just like him, she has a style all her own. and she has ever since the beginning. i can remember letting her pick out her own clothes from the time she could walk. she was pretty intent on a certain "look" even then. it's always been layers with her. and comfortable clothing that is easy to move in.
she prefers stripes or polka dots over solids (and the more, the better!), socks on over her pants (knee socks), leggings instead of jeans, short sleeve shirts over the long sleeve ones, and pretty much always adds a skirt to everything. she went through a phase where everything HAD to be purple AND polka dotted AND striped (mama was really struggling finding clothes during that stage!), and then moved on to adding just about every color in the rainbow.
she's particular about shoes (luckily her feet haven't grown in about 2 years!) and wants her hair braided daily. her sock drawer is overflowing with stripes and polka dots and hedgehog prints, and we won't even get into what she will wear and not wear to bed.
the scene in the morning is typically the same: her clothes are carefully laid out on the floor, usually by her. but some days she comes into the kitchen and says, "Mama or Mark...please pick me out a really funky outfit!" so we do, and she either adds or subtracts to it. this morning it kind of went like this:
and some more from the style files of e:
our weekend started with friday night breakfast for dinner! we had all four burners going making omelettes filled with greens and goat cheese. we light our candles every night, say our blessing, and dig in. then we have our family movie night. this week it was "the sandlot" which is a personal favorite of mine!
saturday morning started with typing some letters, taking some pictures, a bath before her ballet recital!
then it was off to the theater. she looked so amazing up there and enjoyed herself so much. she's already looking forward to next year.
then it was back for a backyard cookout. we ate smores too!
sunday was full of birthday party fun, gardening, and another cookout at a friend's house this time.
it was a full and busy weekend. we collapsed into bed sunday night absolutely exhausted, but i told mark it was the best weekend ever.
what did you do over the weekend?
stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow!
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this weekend was so special. we celebrate my sister's birthday and mother's day at the same time every year and have a simple gathering full of good food, wine, and music.
this year we hosted and it was just so much fun!
we started the weekend with going next door (yes...next door!) to a fabulous greenhouse and got a bunch of annuals to plant in pots for gifts.
on sunday morning i awoke to a choice of either breakfast in bed, or breakfast upon return from a run. so i chose to run! i ran 6 miles in the pouring rain and returned to my two loves waiting at the door with a towel to dry me off. they had the table all set with a fabulous breakfast (bacon, eggs, and kale) with espresso AND some champagne (wow!). they had the most fabulous gifts for me (how did i get so lucky?!) and both told me i was the best mother ever. aw!
we celebrated all day and into the night...mostly just celebrating being together, because as mark says..."it's what we do best!"
how was your mother's day?
this week you:
the little one was so excited to have her very first official "opening" at a gallery space south of us. she painted a 4 foot long horse (that she drew and mark cut out for her) for the show called "Heads or Tails" and it was a total hit!
they hung it in a superb spot and she was so thrilled about the whole thing. we made a special night out of it and some of our very best friends joined us and my mom, and we wined and dined and then went out for gelato after to complete our night of celebrating!
we crawled into bed at a later hour than usual, completely content and a wee bit exhausted with our special night all thanks to the little one!
we are so proud of you my little e!
p.s. for you locals, the show is here! her piece is for sale too (i hate to see it go though! i may buy it myself!)
our lives have been very full lately. full of this and that, good and bad, easy and hard, fun and work, laughs and tears...all things that remind us that we are human. life is a mix of everything, because it's, well...life. and really, who would want it any other way?
we're so very busy at the moment, and finding a time to just breathe and relax can be challenging. tonight we're working in the studio before a very long day tomorrow (the little one has her first opening at a gallery!) and looking forward to a rainy weekend that may just slow us down a bit.
i captured these images from around the house earlier in the week. somehow just looking at them makes me slow down, take a deep breath, and relax.
what are you up to this weekend, friends?
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don't forget!!! the next creative photography e-course starts TOMORROW! sign up here now!!
we had a very busy weekend! planting fruits trees, hauling alpaca manure for the raised beds, going out to our favorite little spot to grab a drink, ballet pictures before the big recital, writing books, movie night with a buffet of our favorites, planting our first greens, and ending it all with smores before starting our very busy week.
what did you do?!
we had our first spring beach visit this past weekend. we went down to a favorite little beach of ours and met some friends. despite the cold, wind, and frigid atlantic ocean temperatures, the girls promptly requested their swimsuits and headed for the water.
we all said they were nuts, but it didn't matter. they found a warm tidepool and hopped right in.
they ran in the sand, explored a driftwood fort, and made a sand cafe where they served us all kinds of yummy creations!
the car is still filled with sand, as it will be all summer long. it's a nice little reminder that the warmth is returning and the short, cold days are coming to an end. we are so ready...
how was your weekend? what adventures did you go on?
this week you:
a week late...again....
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thanks for all of your sweet comments on the barnaby bright giveaway! i'm so glad i could introduce you to two wonderful musicians! random.org chose #26 and #40!
Its a win all around because I have been introduced to lovely new music!
Wow! My new favorite! You find the best music.
so sophia and shari...please send me an e-mail at erinlittlephoto(@)gmail(.)com and we'll get you all set up! congrats!
boy, i've been absent. from everything. have you noticed? it's been a whirlwind of a week and weekend. so much stuff going on. but despite everything, we did manage to enjoy a little bit of relaxation.
we made some raised beds for the side yard. super easy and super quick. i can't wait to fill them and get planting. i've so missed gardening. i have plans for expanding the perennial beds, adding lots of fruit trees and berries, a stone patio with pergola and grape vines. the little one is remembering all the gardening we used to do and is just as excited!
we ended the weekend with our sunday roasted chicken and i made a 1-2-3-4 cake for them. now we start vacation week!
we are also gearing up to fly to California on thursday to shoot a wedding, but we'll be gone for about five days, so we're scrambling to tie up loose ends and get everything ready. so much to do!
how was your weekend? are you gardening yet?
this week you:
what a busy weekend!
this is what our saturday looked like... (sunday to follow!)
he leaves me love notes. and i always put a note in his lunch. everyday.
gherkin enjoys the sun. these poor cats are now indoor cats and they are struggling...
baked apple pancake. i bake so much for them and i adore it so. recipe here.
and espresso for us.
creative play in the morning.
she loved it. she really requested "pie" upon waking. so this is what i gave her. she approved.
and he can't be more grateful for my baking. he's always so excited when something comes out of the oven!
what did your saturday look like? xoxo
we had the most fabulous weekend, complete with sun and warmth and open doors and laundry on the new line and painting outside and drinks on the patio.
we talked about garden plans and wedding plans and played baseball in the yard and went for walks and smiled in the sunshine. i think all of us in maine have been awaiting a day just like that. we just didn't want to go in.
here is what it all looked like:
what did you do this past weekend?
we're a little behind on the 52 project! what a busy week! so here is last week:
this week you:
a simple thursday. this is how it goes...
espresso. making lunches for my loves. drop the little one off at school. come back home. kiss m goodbye for the day. go for a run. tea.
back home. the sun is finally out. we are excited. it's warm. i text mark and tell him to come home soon! we are enjoying the sun in the front. i sip a glass of wine sent by a dear blog reader, thinking about how lucky we are to have people who love us from so far away. she reads to me from her new chapter book. we play catch and run around in the sun, dreaming of summer gardens and all the things we will create with our new yard.
his truck pulls in the driveway. i run and jump into his arms. there are kisses and hugs and smiles all around. another glass of wine is poured. we settle into our evening. i make dinner, she runs around and draws pictures, he helps us both.
there are games before bed. she is read to from a book she as been longing for. then it's upstairs to the studio. mark studies his new camera and now he is typing on his type writer. a love letter, i presume. i just checked...i was right. he's typing how much he loves me.
then it's bed. and tomorrow it's friday. and we all love fridays.
what did you do this thursday?
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(Above photo is from the Hirshhorn Museum, and taken with my iPhone!)
somehow i got a week behind (?) on the 52 project! so i'm doubling up weeks...
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and just for all you camera lovers out there...this photo was shot at an ISO of 16,000...yes...SIXTEEN THOUSAND! no noise reduction either. amazing, eh?!
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i'm really enjoying her 52 weeks...who are you loving?
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This week you:
well, i refuse to refer to this storm as "nemo" because all it reminds me of is a cute little fish, and this was anything but a cute little fish. we woke up to 4 feet of snow in most places. the wind was so intense that it made huge snowdrifts around the church. our front door was partially covered this morning. what fun!
we shoveled for about three hours. we mostly felt house-bound and decided to make the best of it. more bacon (always) and tea. sewing for me, painting for him (he painted the stair doors black!), a movie for her. we are almost out of food so dinner was interesting (hello kale and all the ways i never thought i could cook you!) and luckily i made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies yesterday. i bake a lot for those two.
luckily the snow was light and fluffy, which made shoveling not such a complete horror. she made a snow cave (and i was such a mom not letting her go all the way in...she had to have her head sticking out at ALL times) and we made snow mountain slides. there's a pile next to the car that's at least 9 feet high. and the subaru was buried. the snow was all too deep for her to walk in. it was rather hilarious! poor wee thing.
so yea...nemo?! really?! i would have called it something more like "king kong" but that's just me...
well, the blizzard started today. it's hitting us pretty slowly, but school was canceled and mark stayed home from work. so we had a day all together, and we have nothing to complain about a three day weekend!
the winds are picking up (hurricane force, really?!) and we're preparing for the bulk of the snow tonight. tomorrow we will have to shovel out so we can eventually leave the house, and there will likely be snow fort making and snowball fights. then mark and i are headed out someplace fancy for a special night out on the town.
but here's a little glimpse at our snow day...
morning puzzles. she started this before we had the bacon going. she also had her running shoes on. she brought them to our bed, woke us up, and said, "I'm ready to run on the treadmill!" (and she ran...for about 30 minutes...)
morning grinding of the beans. every morning. sometimes i hear it from upstairs and i swear i can smell it too.
morning reads. she still loves some of the same books i read her over and over again as a wee toddler.
it's a blizzard out there. snowy and windy. very pretty. i love watching the snow fall outside of our tall windows. i feel like we're in a snowglobe.
bacon and eggs. he made bacon this morning. i made a "toad in the hole" for her. i had my tea, he had his coffee, she had her tea. we feasted on the best snowday breakfast ever.
him. cutest kitty ever. he also likes to pose for the camera. he likes to sit in my seat in front of the heater and get warm.
horse play in her room.
she learned how to knit in school. she's knitting me a scarf (love!).
we had one of her very best friends over for afternoon play. they filled the living room with toys and adventures. i fed them crackers and cheese and hummus and hot chocolate.
he wore a vest his mama knit him. i told him he looked like charlie brown and was wicked cute. then i kissed him. the little one thinks it's absolutely hilarious when we kiss.
we hung his latest piece. he painted me.
dinner was moose chili (seriously) and a glass of wine. we ate by candlelight and talked about our day.
then, inevitably it's cleanup. sometimes we battle each other over who does the dishes. it's comical. he always says, "you cooked! let me clean!" and i always say, "who cares! i love to cook! go paint! i'll clean up." but he tells me to get lost and cleans up. then i take pictures of him doing it....
now we're painting up in the studio. he's working on a huge piece. i'm finishing up a small one. we'll soon head to bed knowing we'll wake up to even more of a winter wonderland outside. there will be bacon (again) and coffee and tea, and we will settle into another mellow day.
happy weekend, friends! what are your plans?!