Thursday, October 7, 2010

remarkable and glorious. (*HDP Q & A)

at a certain time each and every monday through friday, i head out of my house with a bottle of water, a book, and my little boy who usually decides that at this time of day, his little toes need a rest from the confinement of his little alligator crocs.

so, i hoist his long, gangling and getting-heavier-by-the-day body onto my hip where he does not rest confidently that i won't drop him onto the hot pavers on my driveway. it's almost a game that i play with myself: can i cling on to a drink, a phone, a book, my baby and all of what he wants to tote with him...can i make it to my car? will i drop him, finally? will today be the day for what has become inevitable in my mind?

'just make another trip into the house,' the logical part of my internal voice screams at me.

but the selfish-in-a-hurry corner of my internal voice scolds, 'dude, he won't fall and if he's like a whole 3 inches from the ground. get over it or make him walk already-get a GRIP LADY!'

and just as beckham's little body almost fully slides off of mine... aha!!! i did it. he's in the car seat, i've got all my...crap and we are off to pick up little peyton mae from school!

i tell this little story because it is my routine. it's comforting to know that i will hop in the car with my little guy in tow. we'll drive the short distance to the school and join the long line of anxiously awaiting parents. in my case, anxious to smile proudly at my girl! say "hi" to her in my sweetest voice. hug or squeeze her for the first time in at least six hours when earlier she was dropped off after breakfast.

i love that moment...she spots the car, sometimes she waves, others...she ignores me. when it is our turn to pick up our young student...she jumps in and gives me what i like to think is the, you belong to me! i'm so glad you came to get me-face! i get a quick, 'hi mommy' and then the inevitable...'did you bring me a snack?' this greeting has all but replaced the greetings of a brown, wispy-haired baby girl who used to blow strawberry kisses all over the glass panes of our front door when she spotted us returning home from somewhere away from her.

i miss that...but am grateful for the proud and shy smile from the school pick-up line.

before all that though, i really enjoy the quiet time spent in the car waiting for her.

beckham usually watches 'beckham spiderman,' or falls asleep and i get to sink my teeth into a magazine or a book.

the book that i carry with me pretty much anywhere i go in the hopes that i may get a free minute to read a page or three is:

it is written by brenda ueland and i am pretty sure that she is one of my favorite people in this whole world. i love how she puts her thoughts, teachings, lessons to print. she is genuinely funny and so wise. i found this book through kelle. i bought it two years ago, but just recently have taken the time to really read it.

if i don't get something, i go back and read it until i do. it's really a book about living your most authentic life.

so one day, while waiting for the school bell to ring, i read a few pages that spoke to me so loudly that i made my husband and a few friends listen to me over the phone as i read these words from brenda's book:

(brenda was a writing teacher and often shows excerpts from her students' work. after reading a passage from one of her students who happens to be a young wife and mother of two children and who also likes to write is actually quite good and really funny. brenda tells her so, but the young mother lacks confidence.

instead the young wife excels at cooking, child-rearing and 'husband-ministering to the complete neglect of her Imagination and creative power...'

admittedly, it may be a bit old-fashioned and in my opinion...just plain funny, but she completes her above thought with these words:

In fact that is why the lives of most women are so vaguely unsatisfactory. They are always doing secondary and menial things (that do not require all their gifts and ability) for others and never anything for themselves. Society and husbands praise them for it (when they get too miserable or have nervous breakdowns), though always a little perplexedly and halfheartedly and just to be consoling. The poor wives are reminded that this is just why women are so splendid--because they are so unselfish and self-sacrificing and that is the wonderful thing about them!

But inwardly women know that something is wrong. They sense that if you are always doing something for others, like a servant or a nurse, and never anything for yourself, you cannot do others any good. You make them physically more comfortable. But you cannot affect them spiritually in any way at all. For to teach, encourage, cheer up, console, amuse, stimulate, or advise a husband or children or friends, you have to be something yourself. And how to be something yourself? Only by working hard and with gumption at something you love and care for and think is important.

So if you want your children to be musicians, then work at music yourself, seriously and with all your intelligence. If you want them to be honest, be honest yourself. And so it goes.

she goes on to say that the 'worn and hectored' who long to write, or do something that fills them with life or that which gets your creative juices flowing..."should close the door, take an hour of time for yourself, away from the children and do whatever it is you need to do that makes you creatively happy."

But after all these centuries of belief that women should be only encouragers and fosterers of talent in others, and have none of their own, it is hard to do. I know that. But if women once learn to be something themselves, that the only way to teach is to be fine and shining examples, we will have in one generation the most remarkable and glorious children.

i just loved this and i certainly do not believe that women who take great care and joy in making a house a home are angry, bored, and depleted of any kind of talent or true happiness. the opposite. i think that staying home and fostering the talents of my babies brings me great the greatest joys...some of the greatest in my life.

i guess i loved most of what the author wrote because...she's so damn right. i felt a little beat down one night... very tired and with a long list of to do's for the next day. the very next afternoon,however; i sat in car line and turned the page to those very validating words and i instantly felt better. i think it was divine

sometimes, i feel guilty for writing a blog post in the middle of the day, or having to schedule a photo shoot when the kids would rather i be home. having to work when the kids want me to play. wanting to write when i could be making dinner. finding a moment to catch up on something that needs to be done, but instead watching a movie.

the fact of the matter is, we are all extremely busy. and although, good men are working hard too, i am speaking of us women.

it is true that others' needs do come before our own and we give that of ourselves eagerly. especially to those that we love and wish the best for.

i struggle with keeping things organized. i truly need to make lists to keep it all together...and i do. i manage pretty well, but i am always working on it. trying to balance the things that need to be done, should be done, with the things that make me happy as a person. as heidi.

it's important. my work, my kids, my passions...all of it. there is time to make it all work. some way, somehow, i will try to do the things that i value. i hope, as women and mothers, we all do.
most of us are great mothers...we try our best. we know we aren't perfect, but we love our families. i'm thinking that is enough to drop all of the guilt. i'm cutting the anchor...dropping the guilt. (well, i'm going to try;)

end rant. i guess i needed that, ha.

as promised, here is a little something that i do in photoshop to correct redness on one part of a photo. as always, this is just what i do. i am sure there are many other and possibly more efficient ways of doing the same thing, but maybe this will help someone out there!!!

i know some readers have said they have specific questions about shooting manually or in a certain program mode? please email me your exact questions to and i will try to get back to you or at the very least, post a Q&A on what works for me. i apologize if you have sent me questions on the comments sections or email and i haven't responded yet.

what mode do you shoot in?
*i shoot in manual and aperture-priority modes
if you are shooting in automatic...easily switch your little switch to AV and PRACTICE. set your aperture high/fast number (smaller, 1.8, 2,8,..)

little abigail had a cold the day of our shoot. her little nose was runny and pink. i always work in layers, so command J. i used my lasso tool to lasso the area i wanted to work on.

I went into hue/saturation and removed some red. be careful not to remove so much that you turn that area gray.

hit enter.

merge layers. done.

this is a very bare bones way of telling what i do, but i am not a photoshop expert. however, this is step by step, so i hope it helps even if just a little. send me any questions you may have on this if it's not clear.

we are in michigan for a few days!!! we are loving the cooler weather and of course, the fall season. i have so many photos to share and they are mostly of apple cider, spiced donuts, and crunchy leaves. today we visited a pumpkin patch and apple orchard...and even though i lost the kids in a corn maze...all ended was an amazing day spent with my big fat italian family...
okay, not fat, but crazy italian family.

and a few photos from last week...
waffles on the fly...and still not believing that my baby walks into school and is gone all day.
and dancing in the driveway before school when we should have been on our school! love these kids.

and date with a little girl who has blown me away with how much she has grown and learned in the first month of little star patriot! we are so proud of you.






Patti said...

I love Peyton's purple boots:)
I'm glad you got a chance to get some "real fall" in Michigan!

I can't believe you just posted is 2:45 a.m. and I am up blogging about Lily's birth.."Only by working hard and with gumption at something you love and care for and think is important." I'm going to have to go find that book and read it!

Thanks for the photo editing tips!

Happy Friday!

Maria said...

Heidi~No matter how much crap I'm carrying when I leave the house, I always make sure there's a book with me. I use every spare minute to read a page or two.
Love Brenda Ueland's words. Hits a chord with all of us, I think. So wise.
Ugh..the pic of Peyton walking into school, so big & sure of herself..tugged at my heart. Your kids are gorgeous. I love your blog & I especially love your pictures. Forget dinner.. keep writing & Enjoy the fall weather in MI.

Molly Melnick said...

I love the exerpt you shared from that book. I feel guilty about doing 90% of what I do. There is always an "I should be doing..." thought in the back of my mind. I think it takes a careful balance and a constant effort to be able to fill everyone's needs..but I need to keep up on my own as well. Great post..and of the photos. Now if I just had photoshop I could feel even more guilty about the time I spend playing with my photos...maybe for Christmas.

Becky at lifeoutoffocus said...

Your blog and Kelle's blog are the first blogs I check everyday. They are fuel for my soul and inspiration to keep on keeping on. But today, the quotes you I so needed those. Just yesterday I called my best friend choking back tears because I'm so overwhelmed in doing things for everyone else...and at one point I even told her "I never do anything for myself anymore. I need a whole day and night w/o my husband and my kids to just read or watch tv or SLEEP". At that point she offered her house up and told me I should call into work one day and go sit at her house while she and her husband were at work and just relax w/o telling anyone where I was. Obviously I can't do that BUT the thought was so sweet. SHe knew I was desperate. I feel better today but the fact still remains that I DO need to do something for myself every now and then because right now my whole life is in servant mode. That's not good. Thanks for posting that. It was necessary for me to read.

Enjoy the Michigan weather. Texas weather is the same as Florida's so we have a nice break in the heat like y'all do. But I do so miss my Ohio home in the fall...the leaves and the crisp air. Can't wait to see what pictures you take!

Amie said...

Welcome back to Michigan! I, too, carry a book with me in hopes that the baby falls asleep and I can catch a few minutes before picking up the others from school.

Kelly Hutcheson said...

Holy moly, you're the next Maya Angelou! That was beautiful, profound and words I needed to hear! Thank you for that and thank you for being you! xo

Sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

So incredibly funny, I have an idea about living an authentic life inspired by a book that I am working on. Apparently it's a wonderful trend. Fall always seems to inspire personal reflection! You are most certainly creative and awesome! xoxo

Sallinger said...

I love all of this! Such a good mama you are, your babies are blessed to have you :)

Sarah said...

(I had to repost b/c I meant to say FALL was great, not midwestern winters)

yes, beautiful and profound. I'm so touched and wish I could write more poignantly how it touched me but I'm so tired I can't be clear...I do want to read that book.

I'm so impressed that you take the time to show us how to do the photog thing simply because you want to share.

I went to college in Iowa and think that Midwestern FALLS are so wonderful and beautiful (almost so much that the winters seem forgettable). Enjoy and we will love those pictures!!!

So, I'm curious...did you and Kelle know each other from Michigan, too?

Thanks so much for continuing to stop by my blog, too. My heart always skips a little beat with sweet words from strangers as well as from family and friends. Cheers..Sarah

patsy said...

heidi--what a wonderful post. i also try to carry way too much stuff every time i leave the house and my 6 year old already follows in ny footsteps!! she has to bring many toys everywhere we go :) but you know who ends up carrying the dolls instead of miss rayley ;) also thanks for the photo info sweet of you.

Joann said...

Love the post! I need to get that book!
Hope you are enjoying Michigan!

iColossus / Monster said...

Hey girl, wow, thanks for the PS tip! Although, I'm way too lazy to do any photoshopping of my pics. I figure, the people that read my little blog have to be grateful that I post something there at all, hee.

OK, where are the food pics? C'mon!

As far as the mommy guilt goes, I just remember about the thing you hear on the airplane. "Put the oxygen thing on yourself before helping someone else." Cuz you ain't really helping anyone if you're gaspin' for air! Plus, it just makes me grumpy. And no one around here likes Momma to be grumpy!!!

I hope you are having an AWESOME time in Michigan. Love the pics of your kids...but you need to be in them too!

love ya, miss ya.


Patti said...

I LOVE THIS: "just remember about the thing you hear on the airplane. 'Put the oxygen thing on yourself before helping someone else.' Cuz you ain't really helping anyone if you're gaspin' for air! "

I am going to use that on my blog, hope you don't mind!

Anna Ruth said...

Oh, Peyton looks so grown up. The one picture with the glasses I just couldn't believe how much she has grown. You enjoy the time in the car reading.

Rhonda said...

Great post!!! Very motivating!!
Love Becks new hair cut and could Peyton be any cute in those glasses...Looks just like Mommy ;)

Happy Thanksgiving...enjoy the pumpkin patch and the apple orchard...we did just that this weekend too...My favorite fall thing to do!!

April said...

Oh, Heidi, I've missed you! And, I REALLY needed this post, it hit so very close to home. Life is one huge balancing act and right now it seems like I can't keep my head above water!! I know I will get to a place of peace soon ... only to be back where I am now ... and that is life. It is nice to be reminded that I am not the only one in this predicament. I hope you are enjoying your time up north, even if it has been a time of Indian Summer, instead of true fall!

PS - We headed up to Southern MI yesterday for a mini-vacay!

Ohhhhhh... I also wanted to say, I got Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure for my birthday. And yesterday my camera was set to M all day long!!!!!!! What an amazing experience :) Thank you for the inspiration ...

J said...

Best post ever! Love the first part about dropping the guilt. That is so important. Thank you also for the photography tips...much needed!

Patti said...

Every time Abigail sees this post she wants to know what where the Beauty and the Beast show is that Peyton is looks phenomenal!

Unknown said...

I LOVE her boots! And I love your photoshop tip! Thank you ever so much for sharing that. Photoshop befuddles me. I like simple step by steps as you have shown : )

Tammy B said...

Love your words on being a mom/woman. I too have my struggles. Every day. It's hard.

Love the pic of Peyton in her sunglasses. Hope you are enjoying (or did enjoy) your time up North.


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