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Friday, September 28, 2012

The "W" Word

Everyone is mentioning the "w" word when I bring up Emily...

What is that, you ask?

Well the "w" word is walking!

And to answer your question before you even ask it....

No, Emily is not walking.... yet.  But she is close.

She's standing alone, unsupported, now!  Its only a matter of time before she takes that one little step forward.  Then that one step will turn into several and before I know it she'll be running.  Running away from me.  ...sigh.  

She needs to just sit and let me carry her around for another five or fifteen years I think. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

From Hikes to Hunting

The weather is cooling and the bugs are gone.  That means its the best time of the year to be in the woods.  I've been getting better acquainted with our piece of the mountain in Island Pond and exploring new trails down in our neck of the woods a lot in the last few weeks.  Emily has been my ever constant companion.  

While Shawn constantly adds a worry about hiking on my own, especially with a baby, it hasn't deterred me from hitting the trail.  I just have to prepare before I do it.   Just like later this week, when I am taking a day off work to take photos of foliage with Emily in tow, I will have to prepare a lot for an entire day with her on the road.  

I've found that over the past several weeks that hiking has become 'what I do' on the weekend.  No longer does walking through the neighborhood quench my thirst for getting out of the house.  I want to be in the woods.  In the middle of nowhere.  Most importantly I want the feeling of conquering elevation.  The feeling of accomplishment felt when you reach a mountain top is multiplied by ten when you are carrying a twenty two pound baby on your back.  

Does hiking get more beautiful?  I don't think so!

Walking up the old skidder road to the top of our property.  Look how high up it is!

Emily and I make our own trail!  This is somewhere way up on our land.

I'm still working up to conquer Mount Washington.  That's been my goal for years to hike it one day.  Whether I'll be able to do it with a baby on my back, though, is uncertain.  Since the leaves are starting to change I don't think it will happen this year.  Any day now there will be snow up at the peak!  --yes I said the "s" word.  I'm not afraid of any snow.  In fact, I'm wishing for it, because my skidoo has been patiently waiting for me all summer long. 

Okay, so I won't rush the seasons.  I've got plenty going on in the next few weeks....

  • The foliage is almost here and my camera is more than ready.
  • Our 4th wedding anniversary is approaching, which means a trip up the autoroad on Mt Washington for our annual photo
  • The annual fire department banquet in Island Pond.  Despite not being members since we moved we still go every year, have a great dinner, and then lots of dancing and drinks with our old friends
  • Moose season begins.  Vermont at its finest.  Shawn, Emily and I will be at the weigh station opening day like we are every year, along with most of Island Pond.
  •  Trail work.  Now is the time to work on the trails on our land.  There are lots of new roads to construct.
  • Deer season and hunting camp.  Camp, and my rifle, needs to be cleaned, prepped, and ready for deer season.  I am going this year and am looking forward to breaking out my tomboy side.
  • And lord knows what else....
So, I am not really sure where this post is going.  Its sort of one tangent that began with hiking and ended with summarizing my plans for the fall season.  Take from that what you will.  Either way, I'm just excited to be outdoors enjoying everything that makes Vermont awesome.

Be jealous if you aren't here!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Week as a Single Mom

Now before I begin this post I want to say that I acknowledge that this is not really what its like to be a single mom.  I'm fortunate enough to only be on my own for a full week, rather than a long term situation.  Also, there isn't the added financial stress, but this past week has been difficult enough and I can't imagine how incredibly hard it is to actually be a single mom. 

Last Saturday morning it was still dark out.  The alarm went off in a way that seemed more forlorn than normal.  Shawn quietly rolled out of bed, but I was wide awake.  He was leaving; headed to Maryland for an entire week at the National Fire Academy.  Everything he needed was packed so his departure was quick.  Emily slept right through it, but I got up, kissed him goodbye, and watched out the window like a little child until I couldn't see his truck anymore.  Then I headed back to bed, or tried to anyway.  

Before long Emily was up and raring to go in full toddler glory and I had plenty to do to keep my mind off of my traveling husband.  Shawn arrived at his destination uneventful and by the first night nothing felt out of place.  At that point it felt no different than Shawn being gone at the fire station for a shift or two.  Even the following day seemed normal, but by Monday the single-ness was becoming noticeable. 

Now, six days into this week as a single mom, I am exhausted.  I feel secluded, tired, and even bored.  My daily cycle is one that consists of waking, work, taking care of the dogs and Emily, and sleep.  Fortunately I haven't needed to go to the store, because I haven't had time during the work week to fit that in.  I also haven't had the energy to do much more than sit on the couch once Emily goes to bed.  Heck, my own bed time has creeped up a good hour or two.  What else is there to do sitting at home by myself?  Sure, there is the TV, and sure I have a book I've been reading, but I am still bored.  

God, I am bored.   

Frankly I am just too exhausted to fight the boredom.  What does one do after you've exhausted yourself playing with a one year old, washing dishes, cooking, doing laundry, and picking up toys?  I honestly don't know how women do it alone and not go insane, let alone have time to have an adult life.  Jokingly I told Shawn that if I ever was single I'd never have time or energy to find another significant other. 

Fortunately Shawn arrives back home very late Friday evening.  In his absence I learned a heck of a lot... Firstly, its not easy to do everything on your own.  Even the little things, like washing the dishes, become a monumental task when watching a baby simultaneously.  Somehow I can maintain a clean home, but it comes at the cost of most of energy.  I still have yet to figure out how to run errands when I work all day and must come home to fix dinner for Emily and feed our puppies.  By the time she's done dinner there's not enough time to run to the store and back before its her bedtime.  I've not even made it to the bank in a week and made it to the post office only once since Shawn left.  

The whole household would fall apart if this arrangement were my everyday life.  

Thank god its not.  And I commend and fully appreciate the work and effort that anyone who lives that lifestyle must put in. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

In the Running

Several weeks back I submitted a photo on the insistence of my mother to a beach photo contest in Ocean City, Maryland  -- where we vacationed this year.  Turns out my photo was chosen as a finalist!!  But, there's a lot of work involved in being selected as the winner and I need your help!

This is the photo I entered (one of my all time favorites)

Here's how to help!!

Please Click this Link (its on Facebook)

Then select my photo (the one above) and Vote!!  

If my photo is the winner and has the most votes I will host a giveaway for a print of this photo here on my blog to show my appreciation for all of your help.  Thank you everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hello, It's Awesome Calling

 A while back I wrote about how I was contacted out of the blue by a phone book company.  They had stumbled across my photos and picked one in particular that they liked in hopes of it being the next cover photo for the 2012-2013 phone book.  I didn't even know they had cover photos for phone books, but apparently they do!
And now one apparently has my photo on the cover, see?!

Two copies of the phone book arrived in the mail yesterday.  It was a request of mine for using the photo.  Since I don't live up north I wouldn't have gotten to hold the actual proof of my published photo in my hands otherwise.  However, if you live in northern Vermont and New Hampshire you will get your very own copy!

What's even cooler is that my name and my website is published on the first page!  I wonder how many people will notice it? 
While being on the cover of a phone book is not like my photos making it into National Geographic or even Yankee Magazine (a New England specific magazine that has great photos) I am going to still count it as legitimately being published. 
Hey, you have to start somewhere, right?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Same Maple Creemie but Something's Different

If I ever needed proof of all the amazing changes in my life over the last three years, well, I have it.  For no particular reason I decided to begin taking photos of me with the most amazing maple creemie known to Vermont at the fair up in the Northeast Kingdom.  Honestly, I think the first photo I asked Shawn to take so I could write a blog post about how amazing the creemie was.  Then the following year I decided it would be funny to have a photo of me with the same creemie, but extremely pregnant.  Of course by this year I just had to go to the fair and take a third picture of myself with a maple creemie, only this time I'd also have Emily.  

We don't even live near the fair anymore, either.  Its more than an hour drive north for us, but that hasn't stopped me from getting the exact same creemie and taking a photo in the exact same spot.  Initially I thought that the series of shots would end.  It seemed perfect enough, one pre-pregnancy, one during, and one post, but now I have an idea for a forth photo.  There must be another photo next year with Emily holding her own creemie next to me.  Perhaps then the series will be complete? 

Also, this series is great proof of my efforts to lose the baby fat.  I honestly didn't realize how good I looked until I saw these three photos together.  Heck, I think I am more slim now than I was pre-baby and I never realized it before now...

That's why I love doing things like this.  Noticing the little things, seeing how things have changed overtime is just so awesome.   Most importantly this is perfect proof that you don't need a special occasion to start taking a photo series of your own.  Maple creemies sure do help, though!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Vacation in Photos

I am long overdue in sharing about my vacation so I figured I'd sort through the stack of photos I took over the week and tell you how it went through photos!  This post will be a great way to close out summer, which I am ready for.  Bring on fall, bring on foliage, bring on comfy fleeces and frosty mornings.  Oh, and various hunting seasons.  I am definitely going to be back at hunting camp this year.  Man, there's nothing I love more than fall. 

Okay... now onto to vacation via photos before I get carried away...

Lots and lots of family time

Getting dressed up for dinner

Spending time with  my parents

Yes, I play golf - moderately well even

Plenty of time on the beach

I braved my post-baby body and wore a bikini

Emily got used to the sand by the third trip to the beach. 

But she really preferred to climb on the chairs to get a better look at everything

Enjoying a fun evening eating dinner outdoors

And walking around the docks at sunset after some great seafood.

Of course there was shopping and misbehaving in stores

We headed to my parents house for the last day of vacation

And celebrated Emily's birthday with my family

Of course my "real" camera came, too, and great pictures were taken.

It was a spectacular week and it was a much needed week.  
Can't you tell?!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Birthdays have a Whole New Meaning

It was a year ago this evening...

I was huge, hot, and tired of being pregnant.  Around this exact time I had just ended a horribly crazy day at work full of ambulances, incompetent coworkers, and braxton-hicks contractions.  

Or so I thought they were Braxton-Hicks....

Turns out that I didn't want to admit it to myself, but deep down I knew that I was in labor.  

This is one of the last photos of me pregnant, a couple of weeks before Emily arrive.  I look like I was smuggling a basketball!

Its funny how significant that moment of labor and birth becomes in a woman's life.  One thing I've learned in the last year is that every woman, and I mean every woman who has experienced labor and delivery has a story and they remember every single detail.  Even extremely elderly and demented ladies I have talked to can't remember their husband died a decade ago, but can recall exactly what it was like to be in labor and deliver a baby in her farm house seventy years ago.  Its a bond that many women share, that connects generations, and is universal to all those who have experienced it.  Not only is the actual act of giving birth profoundly powerful, but the memory is, too

Now as I sit here, relaxing on this cool and rainy evening, I glance at the clock and recall what I was doing this moment and that a year ago.  Shortly from now I would have been heading to the hospital for the first time only to return and have my water break moments later.  I'd be in for the first of many long, sleepless nights.  Also, I would be experiencing the most physically painful hours I have ever had in my entire life.  Bless Shawn's heart for tolerating all the yelling and bizarre demands.  

Looking back on the past year has probably been one of the most drastic and amazing years of my entire life.  From the trials and struggles of the sleepless nights, breast feeding, and GERD, to all the wonderful firsts this year has brought.

While part of me can't believe that my little tiny newborn baby graced this world at 2:15am on September 5th of last year and I can't believe that I have a bouncing, energetic, almost-toddler.  

And still, after this whole year, when I brought a new life into this world is the moment that is so profoundly replaying in my mind over everything else. A birthday means so much more after you've given birth.