Some Days

I never succeeded in Project 365. Time and time again I failed miserably after a few weeks. I didn’t want to get out my camera, find a real subject, and click away. I didn’t want to work at it every day. But the thing is: I take pictures nearly every day anyway.

On my phone.

So, a picture a day, on Instagram, seemed like a reasonable thing for me to try to do.

And I figure I should share some of those shots here every once in a while.

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These boys. (Jan 1)

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Snack time. (Jan 7 part 2)

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Photo booth fun. (Jan 11)

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Good morning, sleepyhead. (Jan 14)

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Hair is getting long again. Whee! (Jan 17 part 2)

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I think this is a goal I’ll be able to manage reasonably well. I have no doubt I’ll miss a few days here and there, but it will be nice to look back and have something from most days of 2015.


Giving Up

I’ve given up on Project 365. At least, in the traditional must-take-a-picture-every-day sense. I still hope to take many more pictures on a regular basis, bring my camera with me more often than not, and continue to learn and grow.

Day 93: August 6

I hope that at the end of the year, I have 365 photos that I love. Some may be, gasp, from the same day. And that’s okay.

It was becoming a task. It wasn’t something I enjoyed. I didn’t want to take more pictures of Alex’s toys. I didn’t want yet another shot of me in a mirror. I don’t need those pictures in order to learn how to take pictures. I don’t need those pictures to document my life. To document Alex’s life.

I thoroughly enjoy taking pictures, and being forced to do it every day was ruining that for me. So, I quit.

Science Center August 4

I feel comfortable using my camera now. I shoot in manual mode ninety percent of the time, up from zero before I took Michelle’s class. When the scene changes too quickly, I don’t shoot in manual and that’s okay, too.

This is all documentation. That is what photography is for me. It’s taking pictures to capture moments in life. Big moments, little moments, just moments. And being forced to make moments? Does not a good picture make.

So long, 365. It was nice meeting you for a few months.

Not a Vegan

For the Fourth of July, I had to stop at the store to pick up a few items. We were having the grandparents over, and while we were being provided with a lot of essentials, there were things that were necessary to make it a lovely day.

Alex and I went into the store, him plopped in the little seat in the cart (if anyone asks, he’s 35 pounds. I’m sticking to that.), me holding my phone with the Groceries App list open.

As we were picking up berries for maybe the best fruit tart ever, Alex excitedly said, “Mommy! You have to get more raspberries because they look sooooo good.”

I agreed, and we grabbed an extra half pint of raspberries just because.

An older man was picking out strawberries right next to us and commented that he loves to see kids excited about healthy food. I agreed, and we went on our way around the store.

Fourth of July

One thing is for sure, that kid could almost entirely survive on fruit if I would let him. Particularly berries, and particularly when they are in season.

But he also loves most other food. Honestly, I can’t complain about him as an eater. There are days when he won’t eat, but there are days when he scarfs down whatever I put in front of him. His favorite snack is a salad.

In the car on the way home from the grocery store, Alex was asking me about what our meal would be that evening. I told him we were having cheeseburgers, which he loves. “What are burgers made out of? Cow?”

“Yes. Most hamburgers are made with beef, which is from a cow.”

“And the cow is dead? Someone kills it?”

“Well, yes. The cow is dead. Someone has to kill it to get the meat.”

Alex made a frowny face and declared, “That’s not nice. Why can’t we just take the meat without killing the animal?”

I tried to explain how much that would hurt the animal. How we can’t just chop off a piece of a living creature.

“Mommy, that sounds mean. I don’t want to eat animal ever again.”

I told him that was fine! He could eat his berries and have corn on the cob for dinner.

He asked me if he could have some cheese for a snack when we got home because apparently thinking about where food comes from made him hungry. I told him of course, and then he asked me about cheese. How it’s made. I reminded him that the cheese we eat comes from either cows or goats, primarily. We went into…details.

“Oh. Mommy? I’m never eating meat again OR milk from animals.”

“Okay, sweetie. Berries and corn for dinner it is!”

“Oh, I can’t eat a cheeseburger?”

“Well, our cheeseburgers are made with cheese and ground beef, both from a cow.”

“Oh. Mommy? I want to eat a cheeseburger, but I don’t want to eat any other animals.”

“Okay, sweetie. You can eat a cheeseburger and no other animals. …so, no more chicken nuggets, okay?”

“Chicken nuggets are chickens! I will only eat chicken nugget chickens and cheese burgers.”

We then discussed bacon. Chicken-thigh kebabs. Sausage. Eggs. His favorite food in the world: goat cheese.

Let’s just say, this kid isn’t going to become a vegan any time soon. Kid likes his meat, and I don’t think he will ever give up goat cheese.

Day 60: July 4

In 9 Weeks He’ll Be Five

For some reason, Five is a really big number. It’s scary. It’s the number before needing more than just a hand to count.

In nine weeks, Alex will be turning five. Five. That’s kid-aged! That’s Kindergarten aged! That’s…five and it’s so big.

He is certainly showing his increasing age with a level of maturity that we haven’t seen before. His understanding of the world around him keeps broadening, his independence keeps blooming.

I just can’t believe that by the time fall rolls around I’ll be able to say I’m the mom of a five year old.

Day 46: June 20

Pride Pittsburgh

There are so many reasons why I try to attend Pride Pittsburgh every year. There are countless things I could tell you about why I support equal rights. But at the end of the day, what it all comes down to is selfishness.

I’d like to say it’s selfless, my passion for the cause, but that wouldn’t be true. Sure, I’m not gay. No one in my family is gay. I’ve never been discriminated against based on my sexuality, so, okay: it could seem like I am just looking out for others.

But the reality is I’m just looking out for myself. And I’ve said it before, perhaps more eloquently than now.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

I don’t ever want to have to feel an ounce of pain if my son turns out to not fall into the “norm”. If he isn’t the typical straight white male that he most likely will be, I don’t want him to worry. I don’t want to feel the pain of having to explain to him why someone was mean to him. I don’t want to cry over the fact that he will be discriminated against based on something that is just who he is.

He’s my everything. My entire world. It’s hard enough explaining to him why there were people that made me very angry at the festival. “Some people are mean to other people, and that makes Mommy angry and sad at the same time. Those people? They are being very mean to many of the people here at the event, and they are being mean simply because they think the people here are different and that different is bad.” He doesn’t know what sexuality is yet, so he didn’t understand the context of it all. He gets the gist, though. He knows that you aren’t mean to people because they are different. My four year old can state why we aren’t mean to people and yet here were grown men attacking nearly everyone at a mostly celebratory event.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

And then there is us: a man, a woman, and their child. And…I was attacked. Not physically, but verbally. I was told that I am a terrible parent for bringing my son to a place full of such “abominations” and “terrible people”. I was told that a good parent would never be there. That letting my son be around these people would harm him.

My blood pressure rose, I was shaking, I told them that they were the disgusting ones. It took everything in my power to not say more. To not get into it. It wasn’t worth it, and I couldn’t do that to my oblivious child.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

We watched the parade, but not for very long. Alex was tired, hot, and, honestly, bored. He had no real idea why we were there. He just wanted lemonade and toys.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

And for that I am thankful. I can only hope that the coming years bring more change. That I never have to explain to Alex why some of his favorite people in the world are not able to marry the people the love. Why some of the closest adults in his life are ridiculed, discriminated against in the workplace, yelled at on the street.

It’s all selfish. I don’t want to deal with the pain anymore.

Pride Pittsburgh 2012

Project 365

I’ve already thought about quitting.

Today is day 27, which means I’m not even a month in.

I’ve contemplated changing the rules.

I haven’t even done it for 1/12 of the time and I want to cheat.

Yesterday I worked in the evening, so my picture-taking-time was limited to the day, in a house, all by myself.

Today it’s raining, so it’s very dark, and we can’t go outside, and and and and. I have lots of excuses.

I think that the last two days, these two days when I really didn’t want to take pictures, have made me think it’ll be worth sticking it out.

There is just something about tiny little cars and kids playing with them. I got two shots that I really enjoy, and that will remind me of this phase of Alex’s life. And at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

Day 26: May 31

Day 27: June 1

I won’t lie. There is a good chance I will make up my own Project 365 rules. I may just steal Michelle’s suggestion and do 365 pictures in a year that I love. That way I can look back and see the amazing pictures that really, truly, mean something to me.


For now? For now I’m sticking with it. At least one picture every day.

And they may be boring. They may be items around the house on a day when I don’t see Alex but for the rush of the morning before school. There may be more random flowers or things blooming. And there will certainly continue to be pictures of toys strewn around our house.

And there will certainly, certainly, be even more pictures of Alex this year than maybe any other year yet. It’s a good thing he’s so gosh darn cute.

Playing with cars

Guilt (But Worth It!)

I decided to take Friday off. I knew that Monday was a holiday and I wouldn’t have to come in, so I figured I’d take Friday off and enjoy a nice long weekend.

Instead of sitting at home, being completely lazy, I figured it would be a good idea to do something. So, I asked a friend to join me in a trip to the zoo.

Alex had school, so I went back and forth thinking about taking him out of school or not. Should I let him enjoy the zoo for the first time this year? Or should I let myself enjoy taking pictures? It really, truly, was a tough call.

With the zoom lens Zach bought me for Christmas in hand, I made the decision to keep Alex in school. We dealt with the hot day and wandered around the busy, busy, zoo.

I felt some guilt as I looked at all of the animals. “Alex would love this!” I kept thinking. And he would have, but I wouldn’t have had the amazing opportunities to sit and take tons of pictures of animals. Alex never would have been willing to stand still while I click-click-clicked.

And I gotta say, it was totally worth the guilt.



The tigers! I had no idea that we have four tigers and that they do anything other than sleep and pace.

Day 20: May 25

I picked Alex up early that day, and we looked through the pictures I took. He frowned, saying that he wished I had brought him with me. When I explained that literally all we did was take pictures? He was okay with that. “I don’t like when you take pictures. Pictures are boring.”

Hot Days

Now I just have to hope that the next time I go, this time with Alex, the polar bears are in the water. Because the polar bears were awesome.

"You guys are so embarrassing."

Sexy bear

(I took Alex out for ice cream that day. Any hard feelings were instantly gone.)


Yesterday morning, Alex and the 20-ish other children in his class “graduated.”

He will stay in the same room, with most of the same children, until the end of the summer.


But in the fall? In the fall he will move on. He will go one class up, to the “K-kids” classroom, with two new teachers and a Kindergarten curriculum. He will, as he is now, be the youngest in the class. And at the end of the year, he will have options. It is that option that makes me know that no matter what, everything will be okay.

After the “graduation ceremony,” he got to spend the rest of the day with his grandparents, with a new toy and the promise to play quietly while they both worked from home.

My little man, the preschool graduating class of 2012.

Day 19: May 24

One last summer to go before I can can feel like I don’t need to put quotations around “school.” It really will be school.