i didn't expect

I stood in his doorway from 3:00 a.m. until 3:45 a.m. With patience. Kindness. The best combination of soft and firm, mentally and physically (I’ve been working out y’all). Feeling inspired. Proud, even.

That last one I did expect, but not so early in this little experiment, and I didn’t feel it for the reasons I thought I would. Riley actually woke up at 2:05 this morning. Frustrated because he was alone, and probably a little afraid. And a lot of stubborn. He didn’t want to go back to sleep without one of us. Yes, he knows he can do it when it isn’t the middle of the night. When you’re in the thick of things though, you process things differently. This morning he refused to even try to go to sleep without me there, even though we’ve discussed it for days and more days and during the day he’s excited to try it. Probably because we gave him a gold doubloon that he can keep if he goes back to sleep without us, and earn a new toy if he still has it in the morning.

There was some back-and-forth reassuring talk between us through his monitor before he got upset enough to climb out of his bed and come into our room at 2:30. The typical bathroom trip and drink of water requests were made and allowed. I assured him he had his stuffies to comfort him and get back to sleep, and even his loofah (he uses it to tickle his arm). I tucked him in repeatedly. He assured me that he wasn’t getting back to sleep without me tickling his arm. He didn’t care about losing his gold doubloon. We were both very convincing to ourselves, but not each other. It was a fight of which one of us was more stubborn than the other that resulted in a compromise. I stood there in his doorway instead of sitting on his bed or the “green chair” rocker as we’ve done in the past. I’m slowly inching further away each night. Eventually I’ll stand outside his door where he can’t see me but he can hear me. Then go to my own room where if I need to I can let him hear my voice through his monitor. Maybe by then I’ll have purchased this book to give ourselves a giggle. But for now, I’m cool, calm, collected. And happy.

So yes. I’m standing in his doorway. Admiring how tan I looked in the dimmed light of his lamp and wondering why all light can’t be this forgiving. Thinking how this is an excellent opportunity to practice better posture now that I’m strengthening the rest of me. Knowing that there’s no way I’m geting back to sleep before 5am and being at peace with that. Even smiling about it. I’m not even bothered by the fact that I’m standing in the doorway of this not-so-tiny cuddly creature who’s used me as his lovey for his entire life. In fact, I’m happy that I can talk to him about what we’re doing and even in the early morning hours he understands and talks to me about it too.

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And then I thought: Who is this person standing in this kid’s doorway? This mom!?
We have so many ideas of who we are and what we’ll do in certain situations, but until you’re there? It’s usually a best-guess scenario. You have expectations, sure. But everyone knows expectations are only that. If one little thing happens differently than you thought it would, enter the butterfly effect. Chaos theory. Change one tiny thing and the outcome can be drastically different. I didn’t expect to be standing in the doorway of my toddler’s room for 45 minutes (a very long time to be standing still in wee morning hours) waiting for him to go to sleep and feel happy while doing so. But there I was doing it while also mentally compiling a list of things I never expected, or doubted would happen. And feeling pride in recognizing that because of those things, even the negative ones, I am who I am. I’ve learned more patience and flexibility and forgiveness because of these things. Here is my list of unexpecteds that kept running through my mind as I stood there waiting for this adorable boy’s eyes to stay closed long enough to sneak away:

  • becoming a mom
  • not documenting my pregnancy in the beginning because I was terrified of something happening to my baby and having too many reminders of him that might break me if he didn’t make it
  • giving birth without any drugs
  • feeling so simultaneously connected and lonely as a new mom
  • difficulties with friendships after becoming a mom
  • the “mama bear” mentality I’ve had since learning I was pregnant
  • the physical and mental toll pregnancy has taken on my body
  • the strength I’ve found despite those tolls - in myself and from loved ones
Apparently my mind works in overdrive when I’m in the shower or when I’m awake before most of the rest of the world.
I’ve started probably seventeen blog posts trying to talk about these things and more, but haven’t felt like I’ve gotten out what I wanted to say. Now that we’re “sleep training,” and I’m one of those people who’s wide awake the second I’m awakened in the middle of the night, it looks like I’ll have more opportunities to write about these things. That’s something I’ll look forward to during this process. And you know what? I didn’t expect that either. 
 
If you’d like to check in every so often and read about my stories and even share your own, I’d love that. And now, good Monday to you all.

Nothing But Thieves | MuteMath | Cat's Cradle

I’ve been out of the professional photography world for a couple of years now, but as soon as I heard MuteMath was coming back to Cat’s Cradle I knew I had to get a photo pass. I hadn’t photographed a band since 2009 when they played in Charlotte. Out of practice but so damn excited to photograph my favorite band, I had no clue I’d also fall for their opening act.

The show was February 12th 2016, and the opener was Nothing But Thieves. I’d heard some sweet things about lead singer Conor’s range and a few comparisons to Matt Bellamy from Muse were thrown out from other Mute fans who’d seen the show the night before. Amazingly for them, they just started opening for Muse this week!

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Damn was I blown away by these boys from England. Their debut self-titled album has been on heavy rotation in this house and I have a different song of theirs happily stuck in my head daily. I fall in love with an incredible voice, but if you can rock out on stage with some great songs too? I’m done.

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These guys know what I’m talking about. They sang every song at the top of their lungs, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the band. I didn’t photograph NBT as much as I now wish I had, since I wanted to pay attention without a camera on my face stealing my focus. Now I’m watching their tour schedules for life hoping to catch them again when I can sing along like this too. 

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No shit, I’m an instant fan girl and cannot stop with these guys. I have a serious new band crush/obsession for the first time in years.

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I doubt anyone will ever knock MuteMath off my #1 list of favorites, but these thieves are holding some kind of top 5 ranking on the immediate. Pretty impressive. And now for much scrolling because damn I took a lot of MuteMath photos. Also thankfully I’m at a point where I can enjoy their show with a camera on my face and sing all the songs at the top of my lungs. They get better with every show, though I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them. I think was my 7th show since seeing them for the first time in 2006 in this same spot. Whatever the number, they’re still kicking ass. See for yourself, and check their latest album, Vitals, too. 

The intro to Mute shows never disappoint.

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I would like to note that the gal who tried writing a love note to Todd was interrupted by security and almost thrown out for writing on the setlist. I only tell you this to defend what looks like poor grammar. The “To” was supposed to say “Todd.” ;) 

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The lighting setup for this show is beast. I was most excited to listen and dance, but was a bit nervous about my photography skills with their sick-ass lights. I worried more about settings than composition, but am still loving the images I brought home, and more importantly the moments they take me back to when I look at them.

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I giggled with our (talented and super sweet) photographer friend Kristen about how nervous I was to be fan-girling and photographing our favorites, and how happy I was to be so close to the guys that I’d be photographing straight up Paul’s nose. So I had to go literal. 

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The bird is the word.

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Darren’s drum show never disappoints…

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Darren pulled some front-row folks onto the stage to wear some kickass percussion gloves. Basically he played by high-fiving them while they wore the gloves. Talk about an amazing fan experience!

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Normally if I’m shooting I move around the stage a bit, but the Cradle was packed front to back and I really enjoyed my spot. Especially knowing how likely it is for the band to hop into the crowd at any time. Hi Paul!

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Getting high in so many ways at this show (all legal y’all, all legal).

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The lighted mattress experience is amazing every time, even though Paul was tossed from it at our show. He was lovingly caught thank goodness, and uninjured as far as we know.

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I’ll end this long post as briefly as possibly, but just want to say this about music: Today (weeks after this show took place) was a hard day to adult/parent in our house. Some days just are for so many varying reasons. But I played some music from all of these guys while Riley (now 2 1/2 and very picky about what music he listens to) ate his lunch at the table. Not only did I catch him dancing to it, but when I turned it down to talk to him he then asked me to turn it up “super loud again please Mommy.” And that’s how I know I’m winning at parenting today.

Love & hugs & sweet music in your ears.

~m.

showered

What in the world is it about being in a bathroom that can sometimes make people incredibly productive? I know this isn’t just me, guys. My productive thinking happens in the shower. I won’t get too detailed here, but we have more than one friend who is most productive when doing other bathroom-related things. Let’s just say that thought-dumping happens in there (poop joke) for many of us.

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Maybe it’s because the bathroom is one place where no matter where you are, you go there for a specific purpose. There’s room for thoughts to fill your head as you’re doing whatever business you came to do habitually. I was laughing with Jordan the other day because every time I get in the shower, I curse myself for not putting the waterproof case on my phone. Because inevitably, I always think of at least seven different things I want to write about, or have defining conversations in my head with people that I’d never have in real life and get shit figured out about them and about me. A lot of discovery is done during my shower, and if I don’t take note of the things pouring out of my mind, those thoughts seem to wash right down the drain with my way-too-expensive shampoo and conditioner. (My dad is a hairdresser. I’m very particular about my products.) So I’ve started keeping a stool next to our shower with my phone resting on top. I grab it at least once but usually three or four times to pour a list of topics into my Day One app so I remember what the hell I was thinking. 

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So here begins the shower log blog. The thing that’s been crossing my mind for years now is one that I’ve read, word for word, on other blogs/posts/whatevers: Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? What worth do my words have? What could I possibly write about that hasn’t already been written about elsewhere? If everyone who had these doubting thoughts let said thoughts stop them from writing, there would be a hell of a lot of good content lost. So here I am, sharing the beginning of my randomosities. And I’ll tell you why, as briefly as I can.

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A friend once told me about the idea that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Google tells me this idea is entrepreneur/motivational speaker Jim Rohn’s. That’s cool, Jim, and I mostly agree with you. Of course, I factor who I am innately in there too. But when it comes down to it, I’m always affected by who and what I surround myself with. Everything from who I hang out with, what I watch on tv/other screens, who I follow on social media. It all affects my mood and my thought process. On social media, I follow a lot of very inspirational people who share the same kind of positive thoughts I tend to have, and shit on a lot of the same negative ones I’ve had (more poop jokes, I’ve got ‘em). I like anyone who can be real and still hold things in a positive light while also acknowledging but trying to squash negativity. Does that make sense? Anyway my thing is, I tend to be a lurker there. I read a lot, and only really comment when I feel like I could be of help to someone else who’s asked for help. But sometimes, reading just one relatable post turns my whole day around for good. So, if I can shower you all with some random thoughts that might help you in some way, I’m down with that. Or should I say I’m up for that? Yeah, I’m up for that. Positives, y’all. The shower’s on, the pressure is high but oh so nice, and it might even get a little bit steamy at times. Join me if you will. On this blog I mean. Right.

~m.

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