V in my shoes
Motherhood is a vastly important theme in my life, partly because I lost my mom, and partly because of the way my own daughter’s birth has changed me.  My word of the year is CREATE, and one of the projects I’m so excited to unveil is Makings of Motherhood.  MoM is a collaborative blog where two lovely women whom I respect and admire will be joining me in sharing photographs and perspectives on motherhood.  I’m honored that Michelle GD and Barbara Paulsen have agreed to walk this path with me.  We are three women of different ages living in different states.  Our children range in age from toddler to teenager, and I’m so looking forward to sharing our honest experiences with the world.  Please join us on February 2nd when I will publish our first official post.  Michelle will be posting on the 12th of each month, and Barbara on the 22nd.  Whether you are a mommy at home with little ones, an empty-nester, or trying to conceive, we hope you’ll visit us regularly.

Sometimes there are no words

Sometimes there are no words...
As much as I love words, sometimes it feels like there aren’t any to express the deepest of my emotions.  I’ve been away from this blog of mine so much in the last year.  Today I decided to come back again.  Today would have been my mom’s seventy-first birthday, but she never made it out of her fifties.  I’ve come a long way since last year at this time, so I didn’t expect the tears to be lurking just under the surface today.  While my husband and daughter made dinner, I went upstairs and got on the yoga mat.  I’ll be honest, I mostly just laid there and let myself feel the sadness that I didn’t want to feel.  But I know she would be proud of how far I’ve come and the life choices I’ve made.  If I were still a little girl, I would have cleaned my room or made her something.  So I decided to tidy up my virtual room by remaking my website today.  I’m making something else, too, but I’ll reveal that next time.

An afternoon dream

An afternoon dream
Late afternoon light makes me melt.  Something about its golden warmth takes me to a happy place; a place of dreams and youth and imagination.  I can’t help but feel nostalgic whenever I see the sun streaming through the branches of our redbud tree.  The moment I snapped this photo was like an afternoon dream, and it seemed like the perfect photo to choose for “Letting the sunshine in” at 52 Photos Project.

While on the subject of dreams, our May triptych is up at She is Three, where we used the promt “She dreamt of…” this month.  Do go check it out!  Even when life feels so tiring and messy, photo projects like these lift my spirits!

New beginnings

New beginnings
It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Two whole months in fact.  I fell behind on all my projects, chores, and plans.  I’d ignored some health matters for too long, and the time came for me to rest and take care of myself.  That’s kind of hard to do when there’s a little one in the picture!  She’s been keeping me extra busy, walking and talking and getting into all kinds of mischief these days.  I don’t like to disconnect from the creative world or pass on wonderful opportunities, but I had to give myself permission to let go of a lot of things until I felt better.   

So here I am, beginning again.  All is not lost.  I’m starting over slowly.  Little by little.  The prompts for 52 Photos Project (Begin at the beginning) and In The Picture (Shake it out) reminded me to shake off the old and start fresh.  The tiny plants I’m holding in this photo are perfect symbols of new beginnings.  Anthony started them from seed for a new project of ours.  The ones in this peat pot will eventually give us cherry tomatoes, but for now, they’re small and vulnerable.  They need time and tending before growing strong and bearing fruit.  What good reminders they are to take things slowly and take good care.

February monthly mosaic

February monthly mosaic
I intended to get this mosaic made and posted before the first of March, but it just didn’t happen! The last week of February was very busy, and full of some major milestones. One of them was Baby V’s first birthday. I’m absolutely amazed that twelve months have gone by since our little flower was born. In many ways, I feel like I’m still recovering and adjusting.  I’ve been extra emotional lately, knowing that she’ll never be this little again. Actually, I shared some of my feelings about motherhood over at She is Three a few days ago.

The color for February’s monthly mosaic was purple, with the theme of tranquility. I don’t get much tranquility at all with a little one who is teething and learning to walk, but these four photographs depict some serene moments. The photo at the top left is one of my daughter that I took on Sunday, which was her first birthday. She looked so calm at that moment, concentrating on a new puzzle in the soft light. The photo at the top right is the first dress I bought for Baby V when I was pregnant, and it holds such deep sentimental value. (That same dress was an integral part of my February self-portrait at She is Three). At the bottom left is a close up of the dress Baby V wore at her first birthday party. The purple ribbon rosettes just melt my heart. Sometimes I wish she would wear dresses like this forever! The last photo is one of weeds. Yes, weeds. Here in winter, there isn’t anything green or flowering to admire on my walks. Nonetheless, I decided that weeds in winter have a certain charm about them. That being said, I’m still very much looking forward to the arrival of spring! The birds are starting to chirp, and that is a good sign.

Learning and loving

Heart-shaped hoof print
In my previous post I wrote about how much I love February, but it has been a tough month nonetheless. Each day I learn something new about being a parent and being a partner. Just when I think things are calming down, everything changes again. Our little girl is growing so fast! I’m still having trouble believing that she is almost one. This time last year I was waddling to doctor’s appointments two and three times a week, swollen beyond recognition. I had developed pre-eclampsia and would eventually have to be induced. Despite the toll it took on me, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Each morning when either Anthony or I lift Baby V out of her crib, she giggles and squeals, so excited to start a new day. Then we walk over to the window so she can look outside for deer. Sometimes she spots one grazing in the yard and points to it, smiling and muttering excitedly. When I went for a morning walk on Valentine’s Day, I discovered that deer hoof prints look like hearts in the melting snow. Here is closeup of one of them for the 52 Photos Project.
P.S. Be sure to check out the new post today over at She is Three.  In addition to posting our monthly triptych, the three of us will be writing about the heartfelt stories behind our photos. This month, Vivienne will share hers on the 24th, I’ll share mine on the 26th, and Deb will share hers on the 28th!

Why I love February

Little love note that I wrote
Poor February. So many people dislike it because it tends to be a cold and grey month, but I happen to love February for a number of reasons. Valentine’s Day has always been one of them. I recall it being a very special holiday long before I understood anything about love. I have such fond memories of decorating shoeboxes with pink and red construction paper back when I was in gradeschool. We’d place them on our desks and then mill about the room delivering valentines to one another. It was such innocent fun. Then there were the conversation hearts that my mom used to buy us. I still have a soft spot (and a sweet tooth) for them. It was tough to save one for this photograph, in fact! February is also a double birthday month in our household. My birthday happens to fall a few days before the fourteenth, so I get extra spoiled by my sweetheart. Plus, our daughter’s birthday is at the end of the month. We are celebrating her first this year, and it is going to be quite a party!

January monthly mosaic

January monthly mosaic
Well, I’m a few days late, but I couldn’t really do a mosaic until the month of January was officially over, now could I? The Monthly Mosaic color for January was dark red, with the theme of health and committment. It turns out I had four photos for the mosaic without even planning it. I took the pomegranate photo on New Year’s Day. I always broke one open when I lived in Greece to usher in a prosperous year. While I no longer live there, it is still a fun and tasty tradition. My word for 2012 is COMMIT, which couldn’t have been more appopriate for this challenge! The barn photo is one that I processed with the intention of depicting the place a witch might live. It signifies imagination for me; something vital to my health and happiness. The umbrella photo is what I used in the inaugural post of the new photo collaboration with Vivienne McMaster and Deb Taylor over at She is Three. The final photo shows rose hips I saw on one of my walks. It is essential for me to have time to wander in the woods and reconnect with nature.

Pieces of me

Holding her foot in my hand
Since the start of the new year, I’ve been participating in Urban Muser’s {In the Picture} self-portrait photo adventure. The January theme was “Pieces of me,” which led me on a much different path than I planned to take. I thought I would snap a few intentional and anonymous shots of my hands or my feet. While I did take one planned photo (that was featured on her blog!), the rest were entirely spontaneous. I ended up capturing serendipitous moments with my daughter that I know I will want to remember forever: the first time she fell asleep on my chest after feeding, the infamous face chomp, holding her foot in my hand as the afternoon sunlight streamed in (above), and reading one of her board books together. It is only in the last month or so that I have begun to get some rest and let my heart melt more deeply into motherhood. She is the greatest piece of me that exists.  I’m grateful for the sweet moments that we have shared, and the camera that helped me preserve them.

She would have been seventy

Photo of my mom
My mom would have turned seventy today. I wonder how she would have looked. Would her hair still be red? Would she have any new laugh lines around her eyes? I bet she probably wouldn’t appear all that different than the last time I saw her. She was always so young at heart, and never looked or acted her age. I’m past the shock and disbelief that she was taken in an instant. I no longer have to stop myself from dialing her phone number. I’ve accepted her death. I’ve moved beyond the anger as well, but there will always be a void in my heart and tears that well up in my eyes. Daughters need their mothers, no matter how old they are. I’m sad that she wasn’t here to witness some of the most important moments in my life thus far. She would have been cheering; always my biggest fan. Now that I have a daughter, I understand that love.
I miss you, Mom. Happy Birthday.
P.S. There wasn’t any cake in the house, but I ate some potato chips for you today.