May-jay

Mason James is one year old. We joined him and his pups and parents for a few snaps earlier this month. He and Ri are becoming good buddies these days, just like their parents. :)

He looked so good in this hat, he didn’t even want us to photograph it. Joke’s on you kiddo, we have fast clickers on our cameras. ;) 

JAM-9256_WEB.jpg

JAM-0011_WEB.jpg

So big!

JAM-0035-2_WEB.jpg

JAM-0064_WEB.jpg

JAM-0059_WEB.jpg

Hmm…now where did those knobs go?

JAM-0114_WEB.jpg

Walking has become his preferred method of mobilization these days. We had to capture those toddler steps, and the dog-nose/toddler-fingered window at the front door and diapers hanging to dry. Real life bestness right there.

JAM-0117_WEB.jpg

He’s a master stair-climber.

JAM-0132_WEB.jpg

JAM-0164_WEB.jpg

And much-practiced in the art of closing doors and attempting to open them again.

JAM-0167-2_WEB.jpg

So happy in the shade on this afternoon!

JAM-0226_WEB.jpg

JAM-9290_WEB.jpg

JAM-0198_WEB.jpg

Snapped these as Tim was telling Monica how beautiful she looked. Look at those lovey eyes. :)

JAM-0248_WEB.jpg

JAM-0256_WEB.jpg

JAM-9329_WEB.jpg

JAM-9399-2_WEB.jpg

This guy is going to be swimming before we know it, diving straight in when he’s able!

JAM-0332_WEB.jpg

JAM-0361_WEB.jpg

Sleepy hugs when we got back home. The sweetest thing! And is there anything better than smoosh face? Not much. :)

JAM-0393_WEB.jpg

Goodness we love you guys so many tons! Thanks for letting us snap these up!

Hugs & love,
JAM 

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.

JAM-9688 copy.jpg

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!

JAM-5486-2_WEB.jpg

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.

JAM-5438_WEB.jpg

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. 

JAM-5471_WEB.jpg

JAM-5428_WEB.jpg

JAM-5475_WEB.jpg

JAM-5484_WEB.jpg

JAM-5532_WEB.jpg

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.

JAM-5497-2_WEB.jpg

JAM-5528-2_WEB.jpg

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.

JAM-5557_WEB.jpg

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.” ;) 

JAM-5533_WEB.jpg

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.

JAM-5781_WEB.jpg

JAM-5767_WEB.jpg

JAM-5785_WEB.jpg

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. 

JAM-5654_WEB.jpg

JAM-5878_WEB.jpg

JAM-5828_WEB.jpg

JAM-5865-2_WEB.jpg

The bird is the word.

JAM-5912_WEB.jpg

JAM-5915_WEB.jpg

JAM-5993-2_WEB.jpg

Darren’s drum show never disappoints…

JAM-6077 (1)_WEB.jpg

JAM-6098_WEB.jpg

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!

JAM-6139_WEB.jpg

JAM-6199_WEB.jpg

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!

JAM-6222-2_WEB.jpg

JAM-6253-2_WEB.jpg

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

JAM-6283_WEB.jpg

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.

JAM-6298_WEB.jpg

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.