October 19, 2014

Location Scouting {Project 52: 42/52}

Yesterday Noah and I took a ride together for a little location scouting.  Mostly, I just wanted to check out the leaves in one of our favorite local spots and see if they were ready to shine through in some photos.  The leaves are gorgeous, but I think a few more days could bring out some even more amazing colors.  It was awesome to have this little bit of time alone with Noah, just him and me hanging out and exploring the great outdoors with no distractions.  He's been really patient and understanding these last six months, as I've had to dedicate so much time and energy to caring for our new baby, and I know he really enjoyed this one-on-one time with me.  In case you haven't noticed in recent pictures, he's really enthusiastic about silly faces now days.  I love when that playful personality shines through in photos.

I found it difficult to get an angle that included a good, clear shot of my little man and the gorgeous landscape both, something I don't shoot often (like, ever), and it reminded me that I really need to challenging myself more often with different photography situations in order to continue growing my skill level.  I'm becoming more and more comfortable and confident with the portraits I take of the kids quite often, but I want to kick things up a notch over the next year.  Part of that is simply going to be photographing new people, places, things - learning those new angles, new camera settings, new photography dynamics.  I'll be setting some photography goals for myself pretty soon, and I'm beyond excited to get working on them and seeing how much they can help me improve!

October 18, 2014

Instaweek: Details

I've been thinking about details a lot this week.  Wedding details (starting to wrap them up - getting so close!).  I finished the flowers for my bridal bouquet this week and I absolutely love it already - photos and the story to come as soon as I've completed the finishing details.  Details of the colorful leaves (need to get out and get a good Fall photo shoot, and quick!).  The details of our ever-changing little girl - each week when I add another photo to her Project 52 collage I'm surprised by how many little details have changed since the previous week (so glad I've been diligent with this project and captured a good portrait most weeks, only needing to use phone camera photos a few of the earlier and more stressful weeks).  This week started with lots of dreary rain but ended with sunshine and gorgeous weather so we got out for a few more walks - I put Livi directly in her stroller for the first time ever.  Such a tiny little detail, really an insignificant milestone - but one I cherish all the same.  Can't believe how big she's getting!  The details of LOST - because I'm still plugging away with my rewatch and it's just as completely crazy the second time around.  Details of food packages - even plain roasted peanuts contain soy and are at risk for milk cross-contamination.  I hesitate to even say this for fear of the internet brag curse - but we've been completely symptom free (from allergic reaction) for over a week now and it's been amazing.  Elimination diets are hard, and perhaps even more disheartening to add more and more foods to the list of "can't haves," but little accomplishments like this make it all worth it.  I'm so proud of us for having made it so far with nursing considering all the obstacles we've had to overcome, and we have no plans of stopping any time soon.  Also, camera details - I'll be writing more on this later.

And all the little details of life.  The things that make it amazing, unique, and worthwhile.

October 15, 2014

Rainy Day Thoughts

I've been thinking about the past lately.  I suppose when one gets ready to open the next chapter in the book of life, it's inevitable that they will glance back and take stock of each page, each journey that has lead them to here.  It's rare that I look back on days gone by with longing though.  I'm so content and perfectly happy with my life right here, right now, in this exact moment that I could never dream of going back and doing one single bit of it differently.

Rainy days used to bring me down because they reminded me of my time in England, my bad decisions and my past mistakes.  When I started this blog five years ago, it was a way to document my pregnancy with Noah.  I lived in England at the time with my British husband, and publishing a post was a quick and easy way to keep friends and family in the loop without bombarding my Facebook feed with constant updates.  Plus, I enjoyed it.  Once Noah was born, those same friends and family encouraged me to keep going so they could watch Noah grow from afar.

What most of those family and friends didn't know was that at the same time I was struggling with a difficult pregnancy and the overwhelming early days with a newborn, I was also trying to survive an abusive marriage (of course, none of this was ever mentioned on this blog).  I've never gone into great detail about the abuse with anyone, but I've always felt the need to specify that it was mostly emotional abuse, as if this somehow made it less severe.  I can't compare the two, never having experience physical abuse firsthand, but I do know that emotional abuse leaves long-lasting scars, ones that can't be seen by others.

I can't pretend to know what goes on in the mind of an abuser, even as a student of psychology.  All I can say is that in my experience, and from my perspective, it was his goal in life to break me down into as many teeny tiny little pieces as possible.  And for the longest, longest time - it worked.  The person I had trusted and confided all of my weaknesses and fears and secrets to, he worked hard almost every day to use them against me.  Name calling, belittlement, mind games - betrayal, a broken heart, tears - fighting, screaming, constant bickering - they were all just a routine part of life.

Eventually, I realized I was in an abusive relationship, and that it was progressively getting worse, and I knew I had to leave, and leave fast.  So I did.  I left that marriage and that country behind.  I came back home, to America, to my family and friends.

Don't get me wrong though - this is not a woe is me tale.  Would it surprise you to know that I now look back on those memories with gratitude?  Because of that experience I had the opportunity to live in another country and experience a different culture.  I had an amazing son that brings so much spark to my life.  In working hard to undo all the damage my abuser caused, I was inspired to gain some self-respect and confidence - and that has gone miles in allowing me to improve myself in so many other ways.  

And perhaps the greatest thing I gained from that experience was a passion for living, rather than just existing.

David and I have discussed how life might be different had we started dating when we first met, now eight years ago.  How I wouldn't have had to live through those rainy days in England.  How we could easily be celebrating our 5+ wedding anniversary this year. But we both know that we needed those years of living and learning, of growing within ourselves.  I can't be bitter about those dark and dreary days because I needed those scars in order to become who I am today, the woman David loves, one-half of an absolutely amazing us, the girl who gets to be lucky enough to live this blessed life.

Rainy days now remind me of the sunshine that follows, the new life and growth that would never occur without those showers.  And of love.  Perfect, perfect love.