a short monday story

the theme for this week is {season}, and while i'm probably going to go out and do some more nature shots- because i love nature shots and they're a nice break from my normal- when the chance for a documentary take on this theme popped up today, i knew i wanted to take it.

my big is now officially 3 and a half (seeing it written out is making my head spin a little) and he's in this tricky season of his life where he's stuck halfway between toddler and big kid.  he wants to be independent, but he still needs me by his side for new (and some old) things.  he is realizing that he has his own unique and valuable thoughts and opinions, but he's still learning how to express them appropriately and effectively.  and, more concretely, he still kind of needs a nap during the day to help him remain a semi-pleasant human throughout the afternoon, but when he takes a nap, it turns bedtime into a production long and dramatic enough to rival a broadway show.  so, after some discussion with my husband and some advice from my best (who's 3 year old has already mostly given up napping), we decided to try skipping nap and in favor of a "rest time" for the first time today.

we started the nap time routine as usual by taking the little upstairs for his nap, but once he was fast asleep in his crib, the big and i headed back downstairs and got him all set up on the couch with a blanket, a few favorite toys, and a movie.  the rules were that he had to stay on the couch and keep his body calm and quiet until the movie was over so that he could rest and little brother could sleep.

if i'm being honest, it felt very strange- almost irresponsible- to allow him to stay awake during the time that i've always made sure he was snoozing away for the last 3 years.  we're very big on routine in our house, and even though we've all gotten better about going off routine from time to time for something special, intentionally changing things on a normal day was challenging for me.

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and (more truth telling) it was hard for me to give up that small slice of time that i get to myself.  granted, i still did chores and took care of a few things on the computer while he rested, but i couldn't sit on the couch and dip into my secret stash of chocolate covered pretzels while watching [insert trashy television show here] like i sometimes do.  and while it was cute and funny and warmed my heart to listen to him chatter to me for the first 45 minutes of the movie, i also missed the quiet stillness of a house full of sleeping littles.

but, as with all things, i'm certain that as time goes on, i'll start to look forward to these hushed few hours with just him and me in the afternoons.  i'll find a couple of days each week to set work and chores aside and just sit with him and breathe him in while he still lets me snuggle him close, and i'll be glad for the chance to get to know just him again for a little while, without the distraction of brother or daddy or camera or phone.

so here's to this new season of our lives- his and mine and ours as a family.  may we never stop growing upward and onward <3 

film challenge

not too long ago, in one of the groups i'm in, i ran across a post with photos that someone took as part of a "film" challenge.  this means that they used their dslr but acted as though they were shooting with a film camera- so they only had 36 shots to work with, they couldn't look at the back of their camera after they took a shot to check things like exposure (which is called chimping, in case you wanted to know), and you can't look at the photos the same day you take them.  in fact, the challenge called for waiting 48 hours before doing any sort of post-processing on them.  which is basically like torture; truly i don't know how people who shoot film do it.  but anyway, it sounded intriguing to me, and a few days later i was talking about it with a photog friend of mine (you should check out her page, cause she's amazing) when she suggested we give it a shot (no pun intended, ha).

here's the thing with me and photography challenges- i'm like a 5th grader who's just been double-dog-dared.  i can't say no.  so i, of course, accepted, and after we agreed to do our best to get at least 5 shots worth keeping out of our 36, spent the following 5 days looking for a good opportunity to take them using only my light meter to properly expose my images.  i knew i wanted to do all 36 of my shots of the same scene so i could really give myself a chance to make adjustments, try a variety of angles, and slow down to focus on what i was doing.  the problem was, my kids were crazy that week, and every time i thought about the challenge, there was so much action that i was way too intimidated to try.  but then, the perfect opportunity presented itself and left me running for my camera.  i even ended up with 10 images i felt were worth keeping.

i got several take-aways from this little challenge:

1. i really love photos of sleeping children.  not only are they adorable, but i have plenty of time to experiment and play without having to worry about the moment passing... as long as i'm quiet, anyway ;)

2.  i look at the back of my camera.  a lot.  i had to stop myself from glancing down at least 3 times.  and while it's not necessarily a bad thing, i do want to teach myself to rely more heavily on trusting my light meter and learning where, in the scene i'm photographing, i should meter from to get the look i'm going for.

3.  shooting this way was a lot of pressure.  i think it would be really, really cool to try true film at least once, but i don't know if i could do it very often.  the pressure to get it exactly right would be overwhelming- and the cost would really start to add up.

4.  i love trying new things.  it's awesome and i learn so much.  so if you ever want to challenge me to something (photography related!), i'll almost certainly be willing to accept.  you know where to find me :)