Jun
09

not the post i’d planned

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6 hours from Seattle to Honolulu and things were going swimmingly. We’d gotten up at 430am, rode the bus and the train to get to the airport for 645am. Mika was so easy to travel with and here we were in the outside garden at Honolulu airport and I was congratulating myself for such brilliant parenting whilst drafting a blogpost in my head along the lines of ‘how to not only survive being in transit with a 2 year old for 18 hours, but actually love it too’. Of course I should have been suspicious. As we all know by now, just as i’m convinced i’m the best parent in the world, life starts laughing at me.

Just to make it clear though, we did have a very enjoyable 6 hours on a plane and 3 hours in an airport, so a total of 9 hours in transit that were really quite wonderful. I would go into detail about the ‘airplane fun box’ i made for mika (a magidoodle, max’s mud, a woodkin’s dressup doll, tiny books, toy animals etc) but she just played with each one (to make me feel good i’m sure) then asked if i’d brought the ipad. Hmmf. But I wasn’t complaining: we managed 3 hours of quiet play, 1 hour of ipad, 2 hours of gorgeous sleep and then 3 hours of running around a garden. Which meant for me: 3 hours of watching mika play with fun new toys, 3 hours of crosswords and book, and 3 hours of stretching and chasing mika around a garden. WHAT MORE COULD I ASK FOR? 9 hours down, only 9 to go, I’M KILLING IT!

We’re the first to board the big plane in Honolulu, direct to Auckland. Mika runs ahead and finds our seat and i’m putting our bags overhead and she starts throwing up all over our seats. I swoop her up and run her to the toilet, but not before she throws up again in the isle and all down my legs. The flight attendants are on it in a flash, they divert boarding passengers to the other isle, replace our seat cushions and get to work disinfecting everything. Jesus. I clean mika up, calm her down (she’s crying and scared of all the commotion) and then change my own clothes.

I was hoping it was just a random one-time throw up thing, but this turned into the longest 9 hours of my life. Her tiny little body, lying in my lap, naked, sweating, heaving, sleeping, throwing up, and the wonderful attendants collecting our spew bags and bringing us fresh towels and blankets. The lovely doctor on board, who sat with us, eager to dispense advice, and my sudden realisation that our lack of health insurance in the states meant that i was essentially getting a $400 consultation FOR FREE and so hence making the most of it. The exhaustion i’d feel every time mika threw up, feeling the exhaustion of her tiny little body. Not being able to read or watch a movie or fall asleep because mika would throw up on herself and i wanted to catch it in time to sit her up. Counting down NINE hours and realising (painfully) that nine hours is longer than I spend with her one on one over the course of a regular day. Not being able to eat. Not being able to stretch out. Not being able to go to the toilet.

And then the feeling of relief when we landed and the lady at customs not batting an eyelid when she realised i’d only half filled out the immigration forms and when we got through the gate and saw mum and dad and vinny and brooke and they took my bags and we got home and mum bathed mika and i lay down, exhausted and relieved that i was with my parents and relieved that mika was smiling again and relieved that i was stretched out. Waking up and realising it was morning and mika wasn’t next to me or in her crib and opening the door to mum & dad’s room and seeing mika stretched out between them, on a towel with a spew bowl next to her. Seeing Red at brunch and feeling like i am home even though i know i couldn’t live here right now. Watching mika play with her grandparents and uncle and sleeping on grandpa’s lap. Putting on my running shoes and running through a city that i know so well, the air so cold and biting on my lungs compared with seattle right now, and wanting to leap and jump and punch the air for the feeling of gratefulness for space and air and life that one can only feel after sitting for so long with a sick baby on an airplane.

It’s been a trip. And i have to soak it all up because it’s all i can do to stop myself getting anxious about doing it all over again in 11 days.

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Sep
14

Detox Update

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When I was in high school, I ate special K cereal almost every single morning.

Between the ages of 16 and 22 I ate a can of tuna with crackers or bread pretty much every day for lunch. When I was 23 I was informed of the high mercury content of tuna and advised to eat no more than 1 can each week. This quickly reduced my tinned tuna intake.

So I’m pretty habitual when it comes to meal times. I get excited that I get to have breakfast every single morning for the rest of my life… so it’s even better if I know what’s coming.

This detox business throws me a bit. It’s weird. No bread? No milk? No oats? No meat? No coffee? No eggs? But what will I eat? Well, my friends, I am happy to tell you that I am currently on day 15 of no coffee. I’ve had one egg. And there were 2 days there where I kinda just went a bit wild. But the cool thing is that when I say ‘wild’ I mean that I ate some gluten, some meat and maybe had a dessert. The next day I was back on track. See, the cool thing about detoxes is that they reset the standard of what’s normal. My habits and routine get an audit and I can change things up. I’m pretty confident that the majority of this detox will become life changes for me.

The week so far:

Monday: Lemon with water. Buckwheat cereal with homemade nut milk. Apple. Lentil salad with pumpkin and spinach. Carrot sticks. 2 mandarins. Black bean soup with quinoa & chia corn muffins.

Tuesday: Quinoa breakfast with berries & mint. Buckwheat berrie smoothie (x2). Black bean soup with raw salad (x2). 2x mandarins.

Wednesday: Buckwheat cereal with homemade nut milk. Fresh beetroot juice. Carrot & Lentil Dahl (x2). Raw almonds & raisins.

Things I am learning:

- Homemade nut milk is forever in my diet now
- I can live without eggs & meat
- I can’t live without chocolate
- I feel AOK without coffee
- Sugar has an extremely noticeable bad effect on my body and energy levels
- Avocado and cucumber taste great in smoothies

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Aug
30

Inspiring Photographers – Brooke Schwab

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Brooke Schwab is a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Houston, Texas. She is also a part owner of SmileBooth, a company that’s created a moden take on the classic photo booth and she keeps a beautiful blog. And here are her replies to my questions… (oh and isn’t her last name fun to say?)

I take photographs because: It allows me to give people a peek at who I am. I grew up with a learning disorder and it killed me that I was limited in the so called school system. I quickly learned that I was able to tell visual stories beyond my peers at a young age and that lead me to photography. In college I studied advertising and realized then that I loved photography because of the statements that they made.

My favorite camera to use: my iphone. seriously, i think i am a better photographer with my iphone because i am capturing real life moments that mean the world to me and i see things in a raw way with that camera. My goal is to capture an entire wedding with my iphone one day. Intimate photos are more powerful than a set up photo to me. Beyond that I professionally shoot with a 5D mark II and I love that camera.

Favorite Lenses: I love my 35mm L series and my 24- 70 mm L series. Those two are my go to Lenses.

A photographer who inspires me is: its hard to name all the photographers that inspire me. If I had to name one I would say that I love is marco suarez. His etsy shop is here and I am inspired by his photography and graphic eye.

My usual breakfast is cereal. Most likely it is something my daughter picked out at the store…I love the sweet stuff. Lucky Charms is my favorite. :)

Song that I am listening to at the moment is: Brooke Fraser, “Something in the Water”. It makes me happy.

Tips for aspiring photographer: Life’s not about taking the most amazing picture for someone’s approval. Go and shoot for yourself and that will be the most rewarding thing you can do for your passion.

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Aug
29

Inspiring Photographers – Rachel Devine

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Rachel Devine lives in Melbourne.

She is the author of this photography book, she has a casual 5,000 or so Facebook fans and she is the inventor of the Two Roll Rule Project that I am completely in love with.

She’s a mama to 3 beautiful kids who feature regularly on her blog.

And even though she is extremely busy with a Digital Photography School collaboration and her workshops, she was so kindly able to spare a few moments to complete some sentences for us.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rachel Devine:

I like taking photos of: mostly children, because they never complain about how they look. Kids just accept their beauty and see nothing to criticize. I wish grown ups could do that as easily.

I take photographs because: for many reasons :: sometimes because I love the way the light hits things, and mostly to hold onto snippets of time

My favourite camera to use is: My Nikon D3. It has been my trusty sidekick for 4 years now.

My favourite lenses are: the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G at the moment, but it changes daily. I am not sure what I want to shoot with next.

A photographer who inspires me is: I can’t pick just one. Keith Carter, Sally Mann, Mary Ellen Mark, Loretta Lux, Julie Blackmon, seriously, the list goes on and on…There are so many kid portrait photographers that I love who are doing great daily life stuff as well. I just like pictures…if they are good, I just add that photographer to my growing list.

My usual breakfast is: coffee, reheated many times.

A song I’m listening to at the moment is: Every song on Workers Playtime by Billy Bragg. I just rediscovered the CD.

My tip for aspiring photographers: Don’t go into business right away, take time to learn your craft and shoot for yourself first. Put thought into your work, read photography theory texts, research the history of techniques…gather as much knowledge as you can and experiment with putting it into your practice so you can develop your own style. Always shoot for the love of photography, not just for money and that will shine through in your images.

You can also find Rachel on Twitter & Flickr!

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Aug
08

On having enough and wanting more.

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Clevedon Market, July 31 Mika with Oma, Grandpa, Papá and Mamá.

What matters: Having enough. What doesn’t matter: Having more.

It’s unbelievable how hard it can be to say no to clothes and toys. Mika can’t even ask for anything yet and I already find it hard. The toys just stare at me and they’re all like ‘I’ll make Mika so happy’ and the clothes stare at me and they’re all like ‘I’ll make Mika so cute’ and I’m all like ‘Really toys? Really clothes?’ and they’re all like ‘yeah, we promise’. And then I catch myself and I remember that she doesn’t. need. all. that. crap.

Another bright ball won’t make her smarter and a new sweater won’t make her cuter.

And on that note, a new running jacket won’t make me run faster and a diet coke won’t make me skinnier. During the day I try to spend my time with Mika visiting the library, visiting friends and other babies, playing at home and walking through the park. But more often than I’d like, I find myself walking past the shops. The shops that scream out ‘YOU’LL LOOK SO MUCH BETTER IF YOU OWN THESE CLOTHES!’ and ‘BUY BOOKS! IT’S BETTER THAN BORROWING!’ and ‘STATIONARY?? YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH MOLESKIN JOURNALS!’ And the shops attract my eyes like little magnets and I wish I had those blinker things that they put on horses to give them tunnel vision so I could just focus forwards.

It’s this ‘must have more’ society and culture that we live in that leads us astray. It’s the false notion that something new will make us happier.

I was reading this interesting article in MindFood yesterday that talks about satisfaction. “Acknowledge that humans inherently want more than they have.” The article says. “The ‘wanting’ circuit helps us strive and achieve and seek pleasure, but it has the downside of needing an ‘off’ switch. Buddhists have learned to observe their cravings and thoughts without reacting to them. This is increasingly taught in psychological circles as part of mindfulness.”

Acknowledge. Observe. Move on.

So the next time I walk past the shops I will say “Oh hey there new clothes, brand new books and nice smelling stationary. I know how I think you’ll make me feel. But I don’t really need you right now and those feelings will be temporary. I already have clothes, I can borrow all the books I want from the library and that stationary won’t smell so good for too long. I’d much rather save our pennies to travel the world and give Mika glorious opportunities. So I’ll just keep walking thanks.”

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