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I am SO excited for Laura I can’t stand it!

How can I possibly describe her awesomeness? Let’s see … she owns a small business and works her butt off to make that business succeed while at the same time wrangling an active (*understatement alert*) toddler and freshly-minted kindergartener.

She is, as Casey Wilson would say, ah-MAH-zing.

Check out the Posy re-boot to see what I’m talking about. And Laura’s Instagram feed is just plain lovely … and oh-so-refreshingling real (see: two-year-old Monroe in his diaper and winter hat).

Proud big sister over here. Super proud.

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summer rewind: the farm

by Suzanne on September 14, 2014

in heart

So summer officially ends in seven days, and I’m just now catching up on all the photos I’ve taken since June. Is it just me, or did this summer fly by? Like, crazy fast, right? I’m still in denial that it’s time to embrace school and pumpkins and long sleeves. But then I see a State Fair poster, and all is right with the world.

We had a pretty awesome summer, complete with a road trip and Lily conquering big-time fears at the pool. And I finally tried a Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco. Big happenings, y’all.

Our season began, on June 21 exactly, with a trip to Nana and Bobby’s farm …

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There is something magical about the farm. Maybe it’s the animals who love to gobble carrots from our hands. Or the vastness of the mountains all around us. Whatever it is, I love any excuse to visit.

Laura and I took the girls (no boys allowed!) up the mountain in June. We fed pygmy goats, met the new pigs and slammed the screen door. A lot. We also celebrated Little Miss Elin, my cousin’s daughter, with a big sister party on Nana’s porch.

These little fairies ate sweets, decorated onesies for the new baby and romped all over the farm.

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Nana in her element. I love rocking on that porch with her.

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My lovely cousin Brittany, who happens to be the most gorgeous pregnant lady ever. (Baby Adilynn was born last week, Sept. 8! She looks just like big sister. So much love.)

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Tattoos from Aunt Laura!

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Showing Gretchen the Goat her fancy dance moves. I don’t think Gretchen is impressed.

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Why feed the goats when carrots are so yummy to eat? Smart Elin.

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Sophie insisted on painting her own toenails, and I let her. Because there are no rules at the farm (well, maybe a few … but they have nothing to do with toddler pedicures).

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Nana and her girls! This is one of my favorite shots of the entire summer.

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one in seven

by Suzanne on September 4, 2014

in heart

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This statistic is startling.

When I was pregnant with Lily (who will be, oh, SEVEN this year), postpartum depression never crossed my mind. It was just that strange thing that happened to women in the movies and I had more important things to think about like how many onesies does a baby need? And what on earth are we going to name her?

But then. We got home from the hospital, and I started crying. And the tears didn’t stop for days and weeks and almost three months. Deliriously sleep-deprived and numbed by Lily’s constant inconsolable screaming, I spiraled into a deep, dark place of hopelessness, intrusive thinking and paralyzing anxiety.

My neighbor noticed I hadn’t been outside much. She came knocking (thank goodness) bearing food and a pamphlet for Moms Supporting Moms. Of course I tossed it aside because who has time for that? And I don’t need a support group. I’m fine.

But not really.

A couple of weeks after my neighbor’s first visit, our pediatrician’s nurse gave me the same pamphlet. And when I finally sought help from my doctor, at the 10-week mark, she told me to go too.

At that point, I would have flown to Mars for help. Support group, here I come.

When I walked into the room for my first meeting, I struggled to fight back tears. Two hours later, I walked out a changed person. Not healed, but definitely vastly calmer. And more hopeful. And feeling far less alone.

Moms Supporting Moms and Postpartum Education and Support helped save me.

And for the last six years, I’ve been trying to pay it forward.

Next Saturday, Sept. 13, is our organization’s biggest fundraising event of the year, the StrollerThon. I’ll be there with my team — yet to be named by Lily — and I hope you’ll consider registering too.

If you can’t make it, check out the raffle. Seriously. The top prize is a gorgeous Bumbleride stroller, and tickets are only $2 each. You can buy tickets online, and you don’t need to be present to win.

And if you feel like you (or someone you know) might be among the one in seven, please feel free to email me: permendous@gmail.com. If you’re in the Triangle (NC) area, call the Postpartum Education and Support warmline: 919.454.6946. And if you’re not nearby, Postpartum Progress and Postpartum Support International (PSI) are wonderful resources. In fact, PSI can help locate support groups, doctors and other resources in your area. Talking to your doctor is a critical first step. Remember, you are NOT alone. And, most importantly, this WILL get better.

I promise! I’m living proof.

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this is three

by Suzanne on August 8, 2014

in heart

“Mama,” she shout-whispers in the dark, “scratch my belly.”

It’s been a bad day.

She was three in all her glory today. Attitude, tantrums, stubbornness, poop in her panties mere minutes after I’d tried desperately to get her to use the potty.

I yelled. She cried.

And then no nap.

By 4 o’clock, I was ready to walk out of the house. I threw my hands up, let her out of her bed (where of course she was playing on the stuffed-animal mountain she had busily constructed while she should have been sleeping) and tried my best to calm down. It took a while.

I had grand ambitions for this Friday. I’d work while she slept. Transcribe an interview recording for a story assignment. Start packing for the beach. Vacuum the drifts of dog hair covering every single inch of our house.

That was my mistake. Setting unreasonable goals, then beating myself up when I don’t reach any of them. And I am terrible at letting go of expectations.

Three-year-olds are unpredictable little tornadoes. I do, she undoes. I clean, she dirties. I ask, she ignores.

And then she poops her pants.

But tonight, as we lie in bed and her breathing deepens into sweet little toddler snores, I finally let go.

I listen to the cicadas and other night-bugs making music in the trees. I hear the air conditioning click on and feel the cool air wash over us. Inhale her hair and kiss the top of her head.

And I keep scratching her belly.

She is mine, and I am hers.

No matter how crazy we make each other.

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because I’m feeling random

by Suzanne on July 10, 2014

in just because

Bright Bazaar book

Laura gave me this book today, and I absolutely can’t wait to dive into it. Bright Bazaar is one of my favorite websites (thanks to Laura for introducing me to it) because I, too, am obsessed with color, so Mr. Bazaar and I are basically best internet friends forever.

I constantly want to redecorate, paint, move furniture around, add a pillow here and there. I have a feeling this book (and all of the gorgeous color palettes in it) will help guide my wayward design sensibilities. Also? Hooray for surprise gifts. Lucky me.

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I’m driving to Ohio tomorrow. With the girls. By myself. All the way to Ohio. Just me and the girls. I’m equally filled with excitement (Julie! Baby Levi!) and terror (how will I ever keep my kids entertained for all those hours?). Wish me luck.

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My new favorite breakfast is plain oatmeal with fresh peaches. Marc makes it for us every morning, simmering it on the stove with milk. I could swim in that bowl. And the whole delicious thing has fewer than 300 calories. Just thought you should know.

Also, my obsession with smoothies continues. I heard someone call them “salad milkshakes” and this is so very true. How can something that has spinach and chia seeds taste so good? It’s a marvelous little miracle.

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Have you noticed this little downsizing movement on social media lately? I can’t help but be curious about people on Facebook and Instagram trying to make their internet worlds smaller by disconnecting from friends/fans/followers. And this whole business of Instagram closing the accounts of mothers posting pictures of their children that others consider to be indecent has me wondering if I should be showing my kids at all. I mean, who really is out there looking at my feed?

Here we go again.

Every six months or so, I get scared of social media and crawl up into a little virtual ball of worry and indecision. Should I keep blogging pictures and stories of my girls? Should I post anything about them on any form of social media? My typical response is to take a vacation from blogging and social media, but I feel like I need to make some sort of real decision soon. Do I stay or do I go? And if I stay, should I change what I put out there? What’s more fun to photograph than my kids? Not a whole lot. Why do I crave this space? What am I hoping to accomplish here?

Perhaps I’ll ponder these things all the way to Ohio (while simultaneously breaking up fights and slinging juice boxes to the back seat).

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because this is really neat

by Suzanne on July 1, 2014

in just because

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It’s impossible to choose just one image to represent all of the awesome of Humans of New York.

Have you seen this site?

I’m late to the party (shocker). But I’m so in love.

Photographer Brandon Stanton approaches total strangers in the streets of New York City and asks to take their pictures and hear their stories. It’s fascinating. And beautiful. And sometimes heart-breaking.

He says on his site: “I photograph everything that makes me happy, and it turns out it makes other people happy too.”

Happy, indeed.

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little dancer ready for the next big thing

June 25, 2014

Of all her dance costumes over the last few years, this one is Lily’s favorite. The skirt’s twirl factor alone gave it instant cred. Little sister took notice pretty quickly and demanded that she get to try on the dress the minute we got home from the recital. Now Sophie wears it over her clothes almost […]

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notes from the other side (of kindergarten)

June 12, 2014

We survived kindergarten. And I’m here to tell you that you will too. I promise. I’ve been reading lots of anxious-mama posts on Facebook lately about preschool graduations and kindergarten looming at the end of summer, and it’s inspired me to share a few thoughts from my experience during the last year. I was in your […]

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guinea pigs

June 9, 2014

When my good friend Ann asked us to be test clients for her new photography business, I didn’t hesitate to punch YES!!!! into my phone. I’m not going to say much about these photos except that they’re glorious and I’m considering papering my living room walls with every single shot. These images speak for themselves. And for […]

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little big girl gets her first haircut

June 5, 2014

We walked into the kiddie salon and her eyes got wide. Bright colors, loud music, toys everywhere. I reached for her hand and led her over to the stylist, who hoisted her into the big blue chair, draped a smock over her shoulders and handed her a cup of animal crackers. They became fast friends […]

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