Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Space

"Let there be space in your togetherness"
-Kahlil Gibran

Being a woman, I can say that I have trouble managing space... in the terms of:

What is mine. 
What is yours. 
How to give to a marriage and still see the value in maintaining some individuality. 
How to grow a bebe inside my body, allow my body to nurse that bebe into a thriving thing...
feed his mind,
teach Love,
show Love,
create and tirelessly enforce boundaries, facilitate imaginations and dreams
and harness internal motivation to reach as high as you'd like...

Sometimes I throw myself so deeply into these roles that I love so much, that I feel as if I'm dissolving slowly from the the toes up.  Dissolving mostly in a mess.of.happy, mind you- but still losing definition that gives me shape.  My husband loves the me of me... my boys run full force towards the me in me.  They love my generous nature and my tending of them, yes--- but I know they wouldn't trade me in for the comfort I create. 

So being last on my list of priorities, I sometimes lose sight on that age old saying that 'if momma ain't happy, no one is.'  One example of this could me my love affair with  Gosh.  It slays me how much I love photography... raw, natural, sincere connections we have with the people who matter most in this world.  The deepness, the richness, the magic.  For me to capture that level of connection, I have to feel that level of connection with my work.  I have to have enough of me to invest in each session/relationship/connection to walk away knowing I gave my very best during these magical moments to aptly capture them.  It may seem odd, but it's my method.  I don't know any other way to do things... nor do I want to explore other way.  I'm true to myself and I will only produce work that lights me on fire. 

All of this rambling to say, I've been overlooking the need for me to have my own space to process my work.  You weren't expecting that, were you? 

*This post is all about my office redo... I'm just not good at cutting to the chase of things!*

Before I realized it, went from a little this.might.could.happen dream of mine to a full blown WAHM with a daily grind that has to be met. 

Our family office is a little built in nook that sits between the garage and the boys rooms on one wing of the house.  It's an efficient use of space!  But because it's in a transitional area of the house, it generally houses cleats, fundraising chocolate orders for school, an abandoned dinosaur, a collection of mix.matched socks, LSU memorabilia from Marcus' football glory days, those store receipts they always give you that you never need/use, and junk mail.  For me to work at my best, I have to empty my cluttered desk, root around to find that scented candle I splurged on, grab my water, and start up my pandora, and hope to muster up enough Calm to allow a little inpiration to flow forth. It has been a soul.sucking routine that I face everytime I sit down to start up my post processing workflow. Between a full time MSP schedule and running my household, I started to resent having to spend so much time in that space.  Even the scented candle wasn't cutting it. 

So I decided to define the ME in that area.  Afterall, I'm the only one who really uses it... so I started to transform the family space into MY space.  My MSP space.  I needed a place I could be happy and inspired to be in... I gave myself permission to place this project above monogrammed easter basket liners, new spring wardrobes for the boys, playroom redos, etc.  :) 

I'm a thrifty momma... partly bc I have to be but mostly because I really love to be.  My style generally is an eclectic mix of things I love.  Mostly vintage and repurposed things accented with utilitarian and interesting new things.  With that in mind, I splurged on a few necessary staples and used my eye for spectacular vintage to accent the rest.  And lots of things were actually from other parts of the house that work best in this space... 

Here is the some.what finished product... I've got a few details to fine tune, but otherwise it's a huge shift in the right direction for me. 

The view from the hall entrance...

My little work horse editing desk... I splurged on a Office Chair.  My little vintage favorite wasn't cutting the long hours logged in back here.  I needed a chair designed for this kind of sitting.  :)  But I didn't want an ugly one... so I found this white leather and chrome version on  It had great reviews.  So I jumped! The woodland wallpaper is left over from our bedroom.  You can find it at Anthropology.

My favorite wall!  The fabric panels are vintage upholstery samples my sister found on one of her vintage romps around California.  She sent them to me and I had them stretched for my old house... they work perfectly here.  Yay!  The grey industrial wall file is a vintage find on Ebay.  It houses my release forms, photopapers, house stuff, and family coupon stuff.  The stool is a vintage find from a prop hunt I took one day.. The calendar is from good ole HobLob.  I snagged it with my 40% off coupon and painted the frame to suit me.  :)

This is a fun concept and collection that I started last year and never finished.  All the frames here are vintage and were bought anywhere from $1 -$5 each.  I have a few special momentos displayed in them... and I'd like to grab some japanese masking tape to display my fugi mini instax pictures, etc.  But for now, they are off of the floor and hung up!  So it's a start!

I'm loving this rug from Crate and Barrel.  It helps define the space and warm it up from the tile floor.  This isn't a big space, so I love how it gives a feel here in my little nook.  Plus, the ombre colors are so amazing to me... shades of greens to mustard to blues and greys.  Gracious.  5x8 of pure perfection! 

A few detail shots... love these little bird on a wire display clips.

theHotness surprised me with the LoveNest print some time last year as well as the Vintage Mustard Seed Magic basal reader... as an English teacher and vintage lover, he figured it was an ace in the hold.  *And he was right.  ;)  The planter was a vintage find from years and years ago... cute little green clovers around the top and cable knit ribbed details around the side.  <3 

My beautiful white glazed faux bois bowl... I've got a hefty collection of faux bois going that I'm pretty pleased with.  This came from ZGalleries on a Houston Trip and use to be in my bedroom... found new life here! 

I love this card.  My sister Danyelle sent it to me when I was 15 I think?  So that makes it, what?  Nearly 15 years old itself.  :) She always knows just what to say... I keep all of the cards and notes she's sent me through the years.  This card says "I see the big picture.  -God" and it's something I constantly need to be reminded of.

Another print theHotness gifted me with... it's the French translation of my favorite mantra "Choose Joy."  It amazes me how he listens to me and knows me well enough to find such amazing gifts... It needs to find it's permanent home.  But for now, it's taped up in it's sleeve here. 

My beautiful task lamp in tumeric!  I scouted out this beauty from West Elm... the cork tile hidden with little things I need to keep up with.  James made me this heart for Valentines day... he wanted me to be able to look at it while I worked.  He gets it from his daddy.  ;)

This is one of my vintage cameras from my little collection... my sister Danyelle sent it to me from another one of her around town vintage runs.  My house is filled with the most perfect little treasures she's curated for me to have. 
Thanks D!  The cup of clovers are straight out of my backyard... the boys keep it full for me.  I die everytime they walk with their grubby hand outstretched to me with stubby yard flowers they've gathered up for me.  I usually keep it within sight of my computer monitor, but for staging this shot, I set it up there.  ;)

One of my most precious pieces!  It's my date book on top of a gorgeous vintage crochet throw.  The colors slay me... aquas, turquoise, mustard, and camel brown.  It's the most perfect weight and is ultra soft.  One of my dearest friends bought it specifically for this space.... bc she knows I edit late at night with a blanket.  It brings me so much joy!!! 

It's a small space to transform but it's made a huge impact on my WAHM outlook.  It functions better than ever before and I truly enjoy spending time creating my art... even when it's well into the wee hours of the night.  Now days, the scented candle is just a bonus- not a lifeline.  ;) 

Peace, love, and ergonomic office chairs,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You get a line. I'll get a pole, Honey....

Last week James Neal had his first ever real school performance.  We love his preschool and feel blessed to have the opportunity to provide the very best educational opportunity for him here in this little school district.  I weighed so many factors when choosing his preschool... but at the end of the day, although this one seemed out of reach for me in many ways, I'm glad we chose to make this happen for him.  He is truly thriving.

It's funny what he will and won't tell me about his school day.  When he got home several weeks ago I almost eeked with excitement when I found the notice about the upcoming Spring Performance.  Can your child attend and provide the proper costume requirements?  Ummmm, yes and YES!!! 

As the weeks led up to his performance, I would grill him about the songs and his involvement.  Much to my dismay, there was very little elaboration on his part UNTIL he brought home his 'costume' requirements... He was selected to sing "Crawdad Hole,"  a little Cajun folk song.  My grandparents use to sing it to me when I was a little girl.  It's a fast little rhymy tune and my grandfather would slap his knee when he would sing it to us... or my grandmother would bounce us on her knee unless, of course, she was rocking us to sleep- then she would sway with deep sways back and forth while she sang it barely above a whisper. 

Needless to say, it was one of the songs I've sung to the boys since they were infants swaddled in my arms.  It's a local folk song, so it doesn't show up on lullaby CDs or other mass marketed 'for kids' song compilations... so when the music teacher introduced it to James' class he told me "momma!  I couldn't believe it!  It's my song!  I couldn't help it, I just had to dance!"  And I believe it!  You'd dance along, too, if it were played for you.  ;)

The program was precious!  Our school has so many little ones and so much parental support, that they had to split the program into TWO performances!  Isn't that funny?  Two showings of a 4 year old program... I love it!  The teachers were so brave to coral those bebies on and off risers as they performed their songs.  To top it all off, the kids didn't sing to a musical track- but to live music... a guitar and piano accompaniment.  Loved that! 

Of course I brought my long lens and did my best to not be 'that mom' but still catch some memories through pictures.

Just a quick snap beside the car before we loaded up to get him to The Show!  If this picture had sound, you'd hear Jax in the background yelling "pwess pway, daddy!  Pwess Pway!" ordering us to get the DVD player on track... and me trying to logically explain to the 1yo how it's not worth turning on for the 2 minute drive to the school.

TheDuckling with his Nana before the big show!  We were all so excited to see Bruver. 

Can you see him?  The down side to having a just.made.5yo that's the average size of a second grader, they are always standing in the back or to the side of things... the little miniatures get front and center!  lol

The teachers are making their final adjustments.  You can see James' nerves in this pic. 
He's standing next to his 'best friend.'

Oh, be still my heart.  HAND MOTIONS!  200 little arms and hands and 100 tiny voices...
felt a little bit like what Heaven must be like. 

My favorite shot!  This is when they sang the part "Honey, Baby Mine!!!"
(I can't believe he's mine and I'm his... Gracious he makes my heart pitter.patter)

For the record he has NO IDEA where I am... I jumped, waved, yelled and otherwise embarrassed myself to get his attention.  This is just a lucky shot.  You can tell they rehearsed their 'BIG SMILES' pose for the curtain call! 

The mad dash afterward for all the proud parents and grandparents to claim their bebies!  A quick huddle with Nana and PawPaw for a snapshot!  Jackson was proud of his bruver- but he was more hungry than proud at this moment.
 "I eatEAT!  I eatEAT, momma!  PawPaw??? I eat!" 

Me and my boys... a triple helping of goodness!

After the big show, we treated James and the family to a big dinner out to the restaurant of James' choice... and we even stopped for ice cream sundaes after dinner.  It was a late night for our crew- but one we won't forget.  I can't believe we have a 5 year old of our own!  From here on out it will be nothing but sports and school, I suppose!  And to be honest, I couldn't be happier.  :)

For those of you who weren't raised in on the levies, knee deep in run off water, slinging traps loaded with chicken necks over to the grass with cane poles, in cut off jeans dodging water moccasins, and fillin' muck buckets with crawfish for Easter Sunday dinner after church- Here is a video of the Crawdad Song sung by one of my favorite folk heros, Woody Guthrie... Enjoy!

I do believe that if James Walter was here today, he's be tickled at his great grandson's affection for a good honkytonk jukin'. 

Peace, love, and that swing under that old oak tree.

Monday, March 21, 2011

on Fever and Friendship...

Life lately has taken a crazy turn.  My last entry relayed my excitement that we were sending the kids to MawMaw's and taking a few days to ourselves to do some spring cleaning and honeymooning.  About 18 hours into our Best.Laid.Plan weekend, we got a frantic call from Grandmaw.  She had taken the boys to the Houston Livestock Show and was in the petting zoo when our bebe Jackson collapsed and started seizing.  When Marcus got the call minutes later, all we really knew was that paramedics were working over Jackson, he wasn't responding to outside stimuli, and they were getting him into the ambulance and taking him to Texas Children's Medical Hospital.  Oh the panic.  Marcus called me with the news, a shadow of himself...

It's crazy how things worked out.  As scary as it was, in a literal instant- I had friends surround me with support.  My friend Kellie had just gotten there with her grandmother to visit over ice.tea when I got the call. Our first reaction?  Immediately lifting our voices and hearts up in prayer for my bebe... the doctors... our family.  Then she immediately starting pulling down bags, and stuffing them full of all the things we would need to be away... and she didn't miss a detail.  We needed nothing that she hadn't packed away for us. 

The trip usually takes about 5 hours... we made it just over 3.5?  It was hard racing over during the day and watching the sun set on the day still being miles and miles away from our bebe boy. 

I had our friend and pediatrician give me a crash course in seizures over my cell phone as we raced out of town and towards our boy.  She helped me trouble shoot what may be happening to Jackson now and how they were treating/assessing him.  We were 5 hours away from our bebe.  We had very little initial information of his condition or what caused the seizure. She was generous with her time and tenderness as she talked me through the scenarios and helped me outline a list of questions to ask once the doctor called us with their findings.  She helped diffuse my frantic heart into something that could advocate for my child. 

This was a cell phone pic Marcus' dad sent to us along our way... to show that our was up and interacting.  I love and hate this image all at the same time. 
My neighbor and dear friend sprang into action and started whipping up a meal.plan for when we returned home... luckily, we were home the next day.  After a whirlwind of emotion, feeling road.weary, we tucked into several a bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings (my very favorite).  It's worth noting that I had another bowl at midnight... after checking on Jackson in his crib... he was still breathing and fever free.  We celebrated with a victory bowl and then crashed.  Hard. :)

The Mississippi River Bridge- Finally returning home with our in tact!

Our beautiful bebe boy!  We all needed a rest after this trip. 

It's the little things! Carla met us at home to see her with her own two eyes... she brought 'happies' from her little nest to ours- balloons and Jax's favorite carla.treats, craisens. She found us a bit battered but happy... and she found Jackson 100% himself and running circles around the island and couch with his 'Loon following him from high behind. 

It didn't take this guy too long to get back on his feet!  He's singing 'Mysterious Ways' by U2 in this pic.
 Quite literally:  'isall wi, isssallll wiiii, is allll wiiiii! she moo in mysteria waaaay'

And that's not mentioning the seemingly hundreds of emails, messages, texts, and facebook comments from friends and clients who were surrounding me and my boys with prayer/love/support.  For a five hour car ride rushing to get to your one year old who was seizing at a hospital- yes, a little notification expressing sincere thoughts and prayers from various friends and family... it matters!  I really really does Make.A.Difference.  It's a small way to spend your time and technology to touch a person and meet a need.  I'm grateful for that relentless and resounding show of support!!! 

To make a long story short, what was meant to be a low.key productive weekend became an emotional roller coaster/wake up call.  Jackson is perfectly fine, thank God!  He had a febrile seizure from a mystery fever he spiked.  We aren't sure where the fever came from... or if more seizures are in his future.  But we do know that in most cases, febrile seizures are harmless.  SCARY, but harmless.  We could have received bad news that weekend... but instead, we received a Silver Lining and a healthy dose of Perspective. 

Since then, I've been working round.the.clock to get caught up with my MSP work that I missed while tending our little nest.  It's hard!  I am my own boss, secretary, artist, errand.runner, etc- and when I miss a few days running this little machine, things get all out of whack and require tremendous effort and long long hours to get things working smoothly again.  And that same situation can be applied to our little nest, as well... the tending of our household.  Good thing Adrenaline can take over after a scare like that!  No matter how many candles I've been burning on how many ends, I can do it with Gratefulness in my heart and Joy on my lips!  Amen!?  ;)
A family Victory Breakfast at our favorite brunch spot.  I love these boys and their cheese.faces.
There are so many levels to this event, this story, that aren't covered in this blog post... maybe those are for another day.  But for today I am grateful for the gift of Friendship. 


The kinds of friends who seem to believe Love is a verb... an action word.... There is no doubt what is in their heart because it is self.evident in their actions.  I'm turning 30 in a couple of months.  And for the first time in my life, I am beginning to grasp the meaning of deeply rooted friendship.  The only way I can describe it is the sensation you have when your lungs are burning, aching for air... nothing complicated, fancy, or needing interpretation.  Just air.  Just oxygen.  Everything and Nothing is on your mind as you struggle for just one breath... and a Friend steps in to supply just one simple need... an in an instant, your lungs pull in Life.  A deep cleansing, perspective.catching breath of Life.  At a primal level... a motherhood level... that one action of kindness, of friendship becomes almost everything.  It's simple.  In a time of need, it's never as complicated as we try to make it.  We just need a friend.... to meet a simple need. 
I'm so grateful that I have the kind of friends who Give.  It's crazy humbling for me and my nature to be surrounded with support and people who will Do things for me.  I'm more comfortable in that role... but every now and then, Life turns the table on you.  And in an instant, you know exactly how important it is when people Give and meet a need... no matter how small. 

This event has renewed many aspects of my life and the things I feel are important in The Grand Scheme... least of all my renewed devotion to be a Friend.  A real giver.  We all have heard: To have a friend, you must be a friend. 

And when I look at what has separated people from "friends" to Friends in my life, they all have similar characteristics.... There are those that consistently Give of themselves (their time, their talents, their encouragement) and their are those that tend to Take (other's time, other's talents, other's encouragements).  I do think that at any time, I can find myself on either list... but I think it's not where you are at any one moment in time that defines your ability to be a real friend- rather where you spend most of your time.  Most of all, I want to be a Giver.  I want to confront my own insecurities and not let myself and those insecurities get in the way of being a Friend.  When we limit ourselves, we limit our Joy.   

and when you find these people... these Friends, take care of them. 

Let them know who they are and what they mean to you.  They don't know.  They don't assume that they matter to you.  They need to hear it now and hear it often

They may make it LOOK easy and effortless, but I can promise you this- their laundry piles up, too.  Their days are long, too.  They get cut off in traffic, passed over in carpool, and spit.up.on by their children, too. Their alarms go off to early in the morning, too.  They look in the mirror after a long day and wonder who they really are, too.  But often times, somehow, we don't notice they have similar needs...

I've spent lots of time thinking about how be a better friend... and I think that's a good thing... a beautiful way to live... because when you think your world is falling a part in one.single.instant, it's nice to be able to check out for a spell to tend your nest, and fall back on your Support System that loves you too much to let you sink into the enormity of it all. 

Peace, love, and 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

We dig Birthdays!

One of the things that makes my kids crazy.happy is a good birthday.  It's one of those things that we talk about daily- Who's next?  They aren't specific to their own birthdays, but any one's in general- friend's, cousin's, etc etc. 

But then again, I probably am the one who has created this birthday fever.  I always try to bake a cake and host a dinner or something.  So... it's what they know. 

My mother just recently celebrated a birthday.  I had her and dad over for a little and cake. 

I'm especially excited about what I gave my mom as a gift!  *Hold your horses here... drum roll.... ... .... I ordered her a worm farm.  Yes, like an ant farm- but BIGGER and with worms.  My mother is an extremely gifted farmer... it's in her DNA.  AND she is also an extremely gifted fisherwoman.  If she's not gardening, she's fishing.  So, this gift is the gift that keeps on giving in BOTH areas.  Plus, we really like bugs and creepy.crawlies.  Oh, we do.  ;)  Plus it's the only thing she really wanted this year. 
It should be coming in some time tomorrow... with 1000 SuperReds to get her started.  I need to make sure I'm over there to photograph the process!!

Here are a few pics of her with the boys the night of her birthday  Her cake was decorated with jonquils.  Every time I see them, I think of my mom. :)

*By the time I was able to pull out the camera to photograph it, the sun had gone down... artificial light makes me sad.

Oh, I wish this one would have come out clear... it's such a great shot of Momma.

I love this one.  Jackson looks so much like my side of the family... plus his intentional smile makes ME smile.

let the candle magic begin... to be that young again... and in awe.

I love this outtake.  Jax has no self control when it comes to birthdays, the birthday song, and flames.  He. Must. Blow. Now. and. Blow. Often.  Guess how many times we had to sing the song?  Guess how many times James melted down when he didn't wait til the end of the song before he blew?  He's very traditional, thour  five year old.  So, you get it, right?

it was for his own good... and ours, too.  Lest James make us start all over AGAIN.

Yes... victory.  Let's eat!

So that's it for now.  I've got lots to share coming up... I'm over.hauling my mustard.seed officeSpace.  A MUCH needed face lift from family catch.all to a focus friendly zone efficiently equipped for inspiration and hard work.  :)  I'll post that soonish. 

And I'm in the throws of planning Jackson's Birthday Spectacular that's coming soon...

And I've got new glasses... ones that aren't taped at the corner with blue painters tape.

And I've found a renewed peace with being a WAHM thanks to a few ladies who are in the trenches busting it with me. Which makes me feel like I may can keep this thing going... with the proper support... and perspective... and friends. 

AND I'm officially staring 30 straight in the face... and I'm okay with it (today). 

And we are embarking on a weekend this week... which is dedicated to honeymooning SpringCleaning our little nest. ;)

Okay.  I've got work to get out...

Peace, love, and real homemade buttercream.