Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Can You Ever Just Be Whelmed?

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

SHORT VERSION OF THIS INSANELY LONG POST: I did not accidentally have a baby while my husband is gone and our van is dead. Hopefully next week I will get a new minivan and a baby. 

Now that this week is 90% over, I no longer feel – both literally and figuratively – like I am drowning. Now it’s more like I’m treading water while holding half a pool noodle and also a baby. It’s been a really, really hot summer here in CT, sauna-levels of hot and humid, except you can’t just sit around wrapped in a tiny towel and the warning not to spend more than 20 minutes at a time in the heat can’t be followed because you can’t leave. In past years we’ve had a week or two of this weather, but not so many days in a row I lose the ability to leave my bedroom. Our house feels both way too big (how can I be expected to walk down a flight of stairs EVERY TIME I have to pee? why is there no way to air condition the open main living space?) and way too small (GET AWAY FROM ME CHILDREN) and I actually cannot wait to go to the hospital to give birth. Not because I like the hospital. I hate the hospital. Not even because I want to meet the baby. Obviously I do. But mostly because they have air conditioning AND a bathroom only 3 steps from the bed. HEAVEN.

Last week was a culmination of everything that could go wrong (besides actual baby-related stuff) all happening at once. It was hot (did I mention that yet?) and I had to drop Evan off at Seaport camp every morning with 2.9 other children in tow. There is not drop off line. You park across a busy street, take everyone in with you, sign one kid in, then have to convince everyone else to leave again when what they really want to do is play at the Seaport. Last year I had no problem staying. This year I felt like I was going to die just from crossing the street, so spending several hours walking around just wasn’t possible. I am literally unable to chase Linc if he runs away and he is deep in a running-away phase. Have I told you he also refuses to wear shoes? Because that’s also true. So no shoes, doesn’t listen, bolts at every chance AND at a waterfront location is just asking for trouble. What I’m saying is that week was already stressing me out.

Then our downstairs fridge stopped working. Good news: we hardly ever use that fridge. Bad news: we hardly ever use that fridge, so I have no idea what was in it or how horrific it currently is. Pretty horrific, I’m guessing. I can’t deal, so I’m waiting for E to get to it so he can deal. In the meantime, I’m just not opening the basement door.

Anyway, back to camp, sort of. On Thursday when I dropped Evan off, the oil light in the car kept turning on and off and on and off. Since we had the car serviced and the oil changed LITERALLY 9 DAYS AGO I planned to call the car place when we got home and ask them to take a look. But by the time we got home it had stopped happening and I figured it was a glitch, the way my airbag light and my tire pressure lights are always on (I’ve had them checked multiple times, there’s actually nothing wrong). On Friday, on the way to drop Evan off, it started happening again. This time I called E at work and asked him if he could call the car place and make sure I could drive straight there after drop off because maaaaaaaybe this was an actual problem. But how could it be? We JUST changed the oil. Surely they would have noticed a major issue. He called, they made an appointment and told me to bring it in. After I hustled the children back to the car, I decided to take the fast way – the interstate – back to town instead of the back way – country roads – because I wanted to get there as soon as possible.

I’d been on the highway less than 3 minutes before I realized my car wasn’t accelerating. It was barely running. I pulled onto the shoulder and burst into tears because I KNEW how screwed I was. The engine wouldn’t turn over. I was stuck on I-95 with 2.9 children.

Luckily, E was still in his building and not unreachable (he is very often unreachable at work) and someone found him and he came to rescue us. Or at least he came to provide a car with air conditioning that worked to sit in while we waiting for AAA to come. And waited. And waited. And waiting. Eventually the state patrol truck came to check on us and suggested we put oil in the van. A while after that I called AAA back and they couldn’t find a record of my call (of course) so they put in the request again (of course) and then I got a text saying my request had been canceled (of course). So when the van started, we decided I would put the kids in E’s car, he would drive the van, and we would try to get to the car place. We made it to within 5 miles of the car place before the van died again, for real. So dead. RIP Minivan. We used the car to push it off the road into a parking lot where we could wait for AAA. AGAIN. This time, they managed to actually put my request through and we got updates from the tow truck so we knew we had time to run home, let Caroline pee, grab lunch and go back to the parking lot to wait some more. After we got the van to the car place and the kids home (Evan was still at camp) we both made calls to reschedule the rest of our day.

Later, the car place called to confirm that our van was in fact a giant blue brick and replacing the seized engine was going to cost twice what the van was worth. It turns out there was a huge hole in the oil pan. I’m still not exactly sure how an oil pan that was looked at NINE DAYS AGO can have a huge hole in it, but they assured us it wasn’t their fault. I don’t have the energy to argue, especially because I am SURE the only way they would agree it was their fault was in small claims court and I can’t prove anything. I mean, Judge Judy would TOTALLY be on my side, but I don’t know about real life judges.

So after we took a break from that disaster to go see the show at Foxwoods on Friday night, we spent Saturday looking at new vans. It was horrible, because car shopping is horrible and children are horrible. Plus it was a million degrees and most car dealer lots are already as hot as balls, so when it’s even more hot than usual standing around looking at cars is almost unbearable. And there’s no good way to test drive anything when it means moving over 3 car seats every time. We did not buy a van. Our current car is a Ford Fusion, which means yes, we do all fit in it well enough to drive around to dealerships, but NO, we are not going to fit as soon as I have this baby. We have to have a new vehicle. We definitely want another minivan. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to buy something. But we failed on Saturday.

But why didn’t you just buy a car on Sunday? you ask, like a normal person. Oh, right, because my husband left for a week on Sunday morning. Because who doesn’t schedule work travel when their wife is 38-39 weeks pregnant? SEEMS LIKE A GREAT TIME TO BE HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD. (It’s not his fault, just add it to the list of ways the Navy DGAF.) On the one hand, it means I can use his car this week while we browse internet listings for a van. On the other hand, if he was here we could just buy a van. Putting 3 kids across the back of a mid-size sedan is awful, especially because we still have Linc rear-facing aka perfect head-kicking height for his brother. Plus there’s not room for things like “the groceries a family of soon-to-be-six actually needs to feed themselves for more than two days”. It’s stupid. Everything is stupid. I just want a car that works.

Also, we have a fruit fly invasion, the garage door isn’t working, the a/c is about to die from overuse, the shower drain is all backed up, the shelf over the washer and dryer collapsed, the dog won’t stop eating used diapers, Linc has a rash, I’m pretty sure I have a mild kidney infection again, my heartburn is unbearable, the kids are ALL sleeping in my room, my pelvis feels like it’s going to split apart and I am still pregnant. Plus last night I realized I have done NOTHING to get ready to have a baby. I didn’t buy a new Boppy – the only thing I was actually going to buy – I didn’t find the bin that has the baby clothes, I don’t have any diapers, I haven’t even begun to pack a hospital bag. I am an actual disaster who probably should not be adding another child to her life but IT’S TOO LATE NOW.

I keep trying to focus on all the ways I am very, very lucky. We can (mostly) afford to replace the van. It’s not ideal, but it won’t be impossible. The day the van died, E was here and reachable and able to take over 90% of Dealing With It because I didn’t feel at all capable. No one got hurt. We do have a space in our house with a/c and we aren’t suffering from heat stroke. I’ve been able to put almost everything on pause and just keep the kids ALIVE this week while waiting for E to get back. I didn’t go into labor with no back-up plan while he was gone. In a week my mom will be here and she can help with finding the bin of baby clothes and making sure the kids eat something besides carrot sticks and popsicles while I lie down not handling things. And soon I will have a nice, new, clean, van with FOUR car seats installed so I can have this baby without also having a panic attack. I’ve gone from completely overwhelmed to at least capable of talking about it without crying in the course of a week. I feel like that’s about all I can ask for right now. My goal for today is the hospital bag, finding the rock-n-play, putting away enough laundry I can see the nursing chair and once again, keeping my children alive. Tomorrow, van shopping. Then I can be just plain whelmed.

p.s. Still no name for this baby.

p.p.s. God bless the lake for keeping me from completely losing my shit this week, so please enjoy these lake photos.

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p.p.p.s. My new updated WordPress says the readability on this post “needs improvement”. CAN YOU NOT, WORDPRESS?

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Why Do Pregnant Women Stand Around In Creeks?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

I have no idea. I’m not sure why this is a thing, but I saw maternity photos like this in one of my photography groups and I’ve been dying to recreate them. I suppose it makes as much sense as pregnant women standing around in a field or on a beach or anywhere that isn’t Target or the grocery store.

Most of these are slightly out of focus, or at least nowhere near as sharp as “my” photos usually are. That’s because it’s impossible to stand in a creek AND stand behind the camera, so I had my husband take them. He did an amazing job, but I failed to double check my settings before passing over the camera and made some rookie mistakes. Life has been too crazy to go back and try to re-do them (and honestly, I doubt that’s going to happen before I give birth and I didn’t want to be in labor shouting “WAIT NO FIRST WE HAVE TO STOP AT THE CREEK”) so I edited them the best I could to fit my vision and you know what? They’re super. This is what a crazy pregnant woman who wants to climb around a creek in 90-degree weather at 37 weeks pregnant looks like.

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I feel like E needs extra credit for the above photo – Linc was just sitting there, waiting for me to get out of the water and E looked over and was like “Wow, that light!” and took a picture. I must be rubbing off on him.

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And this photo of Evan is the one right before he pees in the creek.

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Why yes, Caroline and I DID both bring multiple outfits to wear in a creek.

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Super soon that baby on my back will be the big kid and a new baby will be the baby. I’m feeling a little sad about it, since Linc makes such a nice baby. He is cuddly and loves to be worn and still barely talks so it’s super easy to THINK of him as a baby. (As a sidenote, I’ve resubmitted him to Birth to 3 so hopefully this time we qualify for speech therapy because I have NO IDEAS left on how to get him to say real words.) But since he understands every single word I say, has started showing interest in the potty and sleeps in a real bed with no problem, he’s not really a baby. I’m pretty excited about having an actual real baby again. Or maybe I’m just really excited not to be pregnant anymore. DEFINITELY that last thing.

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Lake of the Woods 2016

Monday, July 25th, 2016

I promise to have Linc birthday party pics up soon, but these are a) done and b) on a drive that hasn’t yet overheated so I still have access. Plus I like documenting our annual things the best, since I can go back and look at last year vs this year. (I took way more pictures last year, because I was way less hugely pregnant.)

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Kiawah 2016 (Part 2)

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Our Kiawah trip each year is fun for a lot of reasons, but the number one reason is I LOVE the people we go with. These are my oldest friends, I have known them longer than I have known my husband (although some of them have their own husbands now), and somehow they still like me. They’re basically family, so the kids call them Aunt and Uncle, and they are the kind of people who let Caroline “help” crack eggs or read Linc the same book 15 times. My life would be 1000% less awesome if they weren’t in it.

There is a small…medium…maybe slightly larger than medium chance that we (the Davis family) will be moving in the next year, which means we might also miss a year or two at the beach house. All I can do is make everyone promise they will still go, so when we eventually move back to the east coast we can pick right back up with our favorite week of the year.

In case you haven’t seen all the previous years (here: 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011) and are wondering about The Beach House, it is the vacation home of a friend’s uncle who is incredibly generous and kind and amazing and allows us to use it for a long weekend each year. It’s nicer than any other house I have ever been in, on an absolutely stunning stretch of Kiawah Island off the coast of Charleston. There is a bunk room for the big kids to share, separate bedrooms for each adult/adult couple, and approximately one million bathrooms. The toddlers sleep in closets that are actually bigger than some of their rooms at home. It is air conditioned to a perfect 72 degrees, the pool is heated to 88 degrees (I know because the pool guy came to clean it and check the temp for us), and there is a house-keeping staff that scrubs the whole thing right before we get there and right after we leave. It’s basically heaven.

I promise these are the rest of the pictures. I won’t make you sit through a third post.

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The first floor (the one that walks out to the pool, not the basement with the cars) is the movie room, where the kids can control the TV and no grown ups have to watch it.

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All the kids, wearing Hanna stripey jams! Almost all looking at the camera!

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These are from our first, not-s0-good family photo session. It was very dark and I messed up my settings and I don’t like my dress and Linc got soaked within 10 minutes. But I still edited all the decent ones.

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We bought an inexpensive underwater camera for the trip, since we’ve had fun with them in the pool before. When this one eventually breaks we’ll spring for a much nicer underwater camera, because this are not what I was hoping to get. I really need something that shoots RAW so I can edit them nicely.

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ALL THE TOES!

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And the rest are our family photos – the good ones! – from the second try. Instead of a tripod I got my friend Erin (who is also a photographer) to press the shutter button when I wanted the whole family in the shot. MUCH better than a timer or a remote. I am so happy to have these.

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Is it too early to start the countdown to NEXT summer??

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Kiawah 2016 (Part 1)

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Once I got to 80 pictures, I decided maybe this year desereved 2 posts. Theese are straight chronological, so there are some random food photos thrown in between actually intentional sessions between pool photos between snapshots.

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Waiting for cookies, because there is ALWAYS something baking at the beach house.

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I hate when people wander wander into my beach photos. Obvious I should get the WHOLE BEACH to myself.

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My college roommate and I (we went to college here in Charleston) took our girls into the city for “shopping and lunch’…but mostly to take pictures. You can tell, because I bought them matching dresses for pictures.

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This is the fence for the church where I got married.

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This is the theater across from the church. I havea beautiful painting of it in the entryway of my house.

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Our church.

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Chocolate cake for breakfast, because vacation.

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Erin and I took the boys to the Angel Oak for their photo opp. It was SO crowded, even at 9 am. It’s a miracle there aren’t tourists in every single photo.

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He’s winking, in case you couldn’t tell what that face was.

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We take turns cooking at the beach, usually the same menu every year (because we’ve almost perfected cooking for 13) but Erin added these AMAZING shrimp and grits this year. They’re extra good because the local shrimp came from a only *slightly* sketchy cooler at the farm stand down the street.

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We went through 6 pounds of strawberries in 5 days.  Also, these babies think they are big kids who can sit on stools. Next year we’ll have actual babies again (mine PLUS another!) for a total of 8 children, so maybe it’s ok that these toddlers will be a little more self-sufficient.

Part 2 will include both our first, mostly failed family photo session and our second, much better photo session. Our stupid photographer (me) messed up her settings on the first one with a stupid rookie mistake. Thank goodness the weather cooperated for a do-over.

I miss you already, Kiawah.

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