Friday, December 7, 2012

Stand-Up Comedy : Home Birth Style

Welcome to December!
We keep getting later and later.  But we're in midwifery school and becoming a new mom.  Seems fitting to post this clip from comedian Jim Gaffigan.  Enjoy!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kirkwood Cemetery

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I ran into Amy this morning in the stairwell, and she was telling me about a small cemetery she passed on a recent trip in California.
"I grew up across the street from a cemetery!" I blurted out.
I can't believe I totally forgot about that, but maybe having that small cemetery right across the street has stuck with me somehow.  Seeing as how I picked hanging out in cemeteries for a month on the blog.

The two graves were surrounded by a black stone wall.  As I grew in inches every year, I got closer and closer to seeing over the top.  Before I could see over the wall though, I remember having adults place me on top of the wall, and walking all around the perimeter of the tiny cemetery as I held on tight to their hand.  I think by the time I was able to peer easily over the foreboding wall, I was more interested in boys and best friends, to care very much anymore.

I don't remember anything creepy about it sleeping so close to two graves.  The cemetery was just there, a permanent part of my childhood landscape, not a place where dead people were underground.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

More or Less

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
More time spent here...
 Could buy you less time here...
And even if it doesn't, you'll still feel a whole hell of a lot better before you die.

A couple Bikram quotes for the day:

“Death is always in our back pocket. The faster we run, the quicker the shadow shows up. Walk in the yoga room, turnaround and face death and look in the mirror. Growl like a Bengal tiger, grind away like an English Bull dog and death will turn into a chicken and run away.”

"Would you rather suffer 90 minutes or 90 years?"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cemeteries and Death

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Cemeteries represent death.  Right?  Isn't that the first thing you think of when you see a cemetery?  I do.  But then again, I might think about death more than the average person.  I used to absolutely obsess about it, in fact.  Not a day went by in my early 20's that I didn't think I was going to die.  From the distance of age, those thoughts now seem completely illogical.  And yet, at the time, they were as real as anything else in my life. 

I couldn't even pass a cemetery without thinking that seeing it meant that would be the day I would die.  I couldn't drink Rogue Brewery's "Dead Guy Ale."  Or even hear that "American Pie" song on the radio.  Everywhere I looked, there was some symbol indicating that the end was near.  Those days were exhausting.

Somewhere, between having children and becoming a mother, I grew out of those days of panic.  I no longer see death lurking at the end of every exhale, feeling my relaxed body floating up to the heavens; and shaking myself back into the tense comfort of my living body.  I still fear death, though.  I still do not want to leave my family, my husband, my kids.  As much as life sucks sometimes, I have no desire to release it for the unknown.

Nobody really knows what happens after death.  There are stories of people that have "come back", beliefs grounded in faith, and the flat thought that nothing exists after life.  Like the expansiveness of outer-space, the unknown of death is just too much for me to ponder.  The discomfort it brings isn't worth it right now.  I have so much life to live, so many goals to achieve, so many earthly questions to answer. 

But someday, I can see myself sitting and pondering the great unknown. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's a beautiful day in the cemetery

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Loved this's been a nice autumn here in Seattle.
Bruce and Brandon Lee are buried here at our local cemetery.  Someone was sitting in front of the headstones so I had to take my shot from a respectable distance.  I find it hard to shake the feeling that I don't belong in the cemetery since I don't have any loved ones buried there, so I try to be very "stealthy."
Notice the ground crew in the background.  Were they preparing a grave?  Updating and freshening up a plot with new landscaping?  I never got close enough to ask, although, I had fantasies of walking right up to them and interviewing them about their job.
This headstone was carved out of a tree.  It's too bad the photo didn't really capture much of the amazing detail work.
And, one last beautiful tree.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November: Hanging Out in Cemeteries

Posted by Amy Baranski and Melissa Baumgart

 Photos courtesy of: Tallulah and Mara (both 7 years of age)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Revel in the basics

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Last night, as we were about to leave Lily's trapeze class, one of the moms asked me how sign language was going.  But she didn't just ask me, she sign language asked me!  I didn't even know what she was doing at the time, that's how "not doing sign language" I have been lately. 

Next thing I know, Tallulah is chatting with her about all these different signs.  Now, I know it isn't much, but I did learn a few signs last night just by being in the right place at the right time.  Revel in the small things, right?  Maybe by doing that, I open space for more and more to pile in...instead of walking around feeling guilty about the fact that I didn't learn the dang alphabet.
I think Lily is signing, "You did it!"

Here's what I learned:
Good Morning
Good Night
Thank You

Here's what it inspired me to learn this morning:
I'm Hungry

And I learned a lot more from this You Tube video:
This guy is pretty funny.  Tallulah and I were cracking up at the "In your face" and "Shut your mouth" comments.
Now if I learn to spell out Seattle, I can say "I am from Seattle." or "I live in Seattle."

So, open yourself up to the little victories in life!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sometimes Less is More

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I almost didn't even change October's blog photo or background.  It seems I can barely keep my head above the pool of "stuff I have to do" these days.  I feel lazy and cranky.  I didn't go to tennis lessons today, because there is simply too much to do.  My kids are already feeling the effects of Mama not being home all the time and I am one month into school.

But it is all good stuff.  So, while I feel cranky one minute, I feel incredibly grateful the next.  I am finally able to pursue my dream to become a midwife.  I was at my school this week to view a documentary, Birth Story, about Ina May Gaskin, author of Spiritual Midwifery.  They showed a breech birth that happened years ago at The Farm in Tennessee.  I keep visualizing that birth, experiencing the feeling of watching it and being on the edge of my seat, and sensing my chest expanding into a deep gratitude that I too will one day be witness to the beauty of after day.  How lucky to be able to have a career that is that fulfilling?

So, as October settles into the second week, I am thinking about the blog and how I can gracefully accept where I am in my life and the limitations it places on the time I have to commit to "extra" things.  The blog has meant so much to me for nearly three years, that as the thought arose to let it go, I immediately knew I could not.

Sometimes less is more.  I see the blog changing into less of a strive for daily posts, and more into a simple message that even busy moms can find the time to give to themselves a little every month.  My goal for the month of sign language is to learn:
  • the alphabet.
  • 10 words that can serve me in the birth community 
  • a simple conversation starter.
I invite you to join me in finding the time to learn a little something new every month.  It doesn't have to take a lot of time to include something that can expand your horizons.  This month, I get to catch a glimpse of a community that, although, lives amongst me, is completely foreign.  What a blessing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First Tennis Lesson

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
This past Sunday was a busy one.  I was feeling tired and not wanting to do any of it.  The couch was feeling so comfortable, and I was enjoying the feeling of tears rolling down my face as I watched "Raising Helen" on ABC Family.  Still, after that last "feel good" scene on the boardwalk, I guess I felt inspired that my day could be like a movie where the main character quits her job, moves to Queens with three kids and falls in love.  All I had to do was go to tennis lessons and a couple of parties.

I showed up at the Amy Yee Tennis Center, slightly nervous, but mostly still tired and wanting more ABC Family.  I was really hoping this would not be so much a work-out as a lesson on tennis theory with a few tips on how to hold the racket.

There were four other great women in my class, and our teacher, Eric, was really skilled at being fun while also getting the lesson across in an effective way.  I was shuffling forward, running back, trying to keep my wrist cocked-and-locked, and bending at the knee.  About ten minutes into class, I had completely forgotten how tired I was when I got there.
"On the outside, looking in."
One of the best things I learned is that when you are hitting the tennis ball as it comes to you, keep your knees bent and your racket low and behind you with your wrist coked-and-locked.  As you swing your racket, you slowly raise your body as well, by unbending your knees, and then you have to remember to follow through with your swing...all the way over your opposite shoulder.  We also said "Bounce, Hit" out loud as we watched the ball bounce toward us and then (hopefully) hit our racket.

I really, really loved the class.  I can't wait to get back there this Sunday, and I am thinking after this six week session, I would like to sign up for more lessons.  You sign up through the Seattle Parks and Rec website and you get a six week course for only $77.00.  I think it is a great deal.  Plus, I was informed that this week we will be receiving Eric's "Tennis Bible."  Yes!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keeping the Fire Burning

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Fresh from the campus of my new school, Bastyr University, I am feeling inspired and really pumped up about women's rights, reproductive rights, and basically, human rights.  I admit, I feel hesitant, and I hush my own excitement for fear of being just one more person that feels the spark only to let it burn out.  One more person that walks away, taking with them that slow, steady breath it takes to blow on the embers of a budding revolution and keep them smoldering, for as long as it takes until the fire fully ignites.

I have seen that quality in myself before: Occupy Seattle, Running a Mile a Day, Painting a Mural.  I can swell with inspiration and vision, only to watch myself deflate in the face of everyday life.  I vow for this one to be different.  I am setting it up differently already.  I am in a program for the next three years that facilitates involvement and community around these very issues.  I have surrounded myself with a cohort of women that share my ideals and vision...we can grow this movement exponentially.

The Midwifery department at my school participated in a viewing of a new documentary, Freedom for Birth.  The film explores the story of a Hungarian midwife, Ágnes Geréb, that was imprisoned for attending home births and is currently still on house arrest.  From her story, you learn about a landmark case brought to the European Court of Human Rights.  One of Ágnes Geréb's clients, Anna Ternovszky, won a decision against the country in Hungary which stated that she "has a human right to choose the circumstances in which she gives birth."

This is huge.  Why have we not heard of this since it happened in 2010?  Why were there only 7 people in an auditorium watching this film today?  Why doesn't some pregnant woman here in the US take this up with her state?  With our Supreme Court?  Yes, I have a lot of questions.

Just to be clear, this means a woman has the human right to birth at home, in a birth center, or in the hospital.  We can all unite upon this front...there needs not be a divide amongst the birth community.  Can't we all agree, and work together to educate everyone, that women are the people in charge of birth?  The woman birthing is the one making the choices.

Let's get fired up.  Let's keep it burning.

Maybe we could get a mural up in Seattle symbolizing this movement.  I was just informed of an upcoming mural project, Stunning Seattle.  I could fulfill (and mitigate my guilt) my commitment to Mural Month, and we could get some beautiful, moving, inspiring art up in Seattle.  Who's in?  The meeting for ideas is next week!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wonder Woman

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Here it is, September 18th already.  I just signed up for tennis lessons through Seattle Parks & Rec at the Amy Yee Tennis Center.  Classes are fairly inexpensive, and they offer all levels, from beginner to advanced.  Yes, you guessed correct, I am in the beginner class.  It starts this weekend and goes through look forward to tennis offerings alongside all the sign language posts of October.
Photograph: Allstar/Cinetext Collection/Sportsphoto/Allstar/Cinetext Collection
Believe it or not, I was also looking for sign language classes to take in October as well.  Am I crazy?  That would mean in October I would be: coordinating all-school volunteers at my kid's school, managing my son's soccer team, going to graduate school, taking tennis lessons, and taking sign language classes.  Anything else I am forgetting?  Oh, yeah, being a mom/housecleaner/chef! Duh.

I have to laugh at myself, because just yesterday I was feeling completely overwhelmed with my life.  It's funny to feel overwhelmed and stressed about all these really good things in my life.  When I stopped complaining yesterday, and thought about each thing I am doing, I felt gratitude for every one of them.  I think a good self-care technique could be to really try to remain on task, one thing at a time.

At the beginning of each week, I can spend some time making my calendar and putting it up on the chalkboard, taking that time to look at the big picture and make sure everything fits.  At the beginning of each day, I can also take a look at that day's big picture...did anything new pop up, does someone need a ride somewhere that I forgot about, where do I have room for something spontaneous?  And then, stay focused on each detail as it arises.  Checking it off my list, one at a time.

This is not how I normally live my life.  I am typically a non-conformist when it comes to schedules.  I like my day to be a flow of activities.  That's one of the things I loved about having babies...there was no schedule, we went here and there, had groups of moms and babies over to our house, would run into a neighbor and decide at 5pm to have dinner together that night...every day was a social love fest. (Can you tell my baby is now 7 and I just might be romanticizing this baby time a wee little bit?)

Now that my kids are older, and they have schedules and timelines, carpools and homework of their own, I really need to buckle down and stay on top of everything.  Otherwise, I find myself walking around feeling like a disheveled loser that can't keep anything together.  I do plan on remaining open to my failures at "keeping it together" and loving myself anyway.  I plan on remaining vulnerable to being a beginner with this and through that, finding my own inner scheduling strength.

For some reason, I am remembering my halloween costume from when I was 6 years old.  God, I loved Wonder Woman back then.  Was I perhaps projecting into my perfectionistic motherhood future?  Maybe it's time to take off the shiny, aluminum foil belt with the red star, colored in with a sharpie.

Or maybe, better yet, tap into that character a little more...after all, Wonder Woman only tackled one villain at a time.  One episode at a time.  All while keeping the big picture of a safe world close to her heart.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September - my fave

The ACE, Palm Springs
Posted by Melissa Baumgart
September is always my favorite month.  Living in Seattle, brings that feeling home even more with the bright sunny days that extend well into the first weeks of school.  It likely started out as my favorite month because I get to celebrate my birthday, and because I have always loved school.  Going to bed the night before school started proved more difficult for me than Christmas Eve.

This year, I not only got to start what will be the most life changing school I could ever imagine, but I also got to celebrate a mile marker birthday of 40 years!  The weekend before my school started I flew to palm Spring to stay at my favorite place, the ACE Hotel and Swim Club.  I had a rocking good time.  As my friend has been texting me since we touched ground in Seattle, "We dominated that vacation!"  And I have to say, I completely agree.  I was blessed with generous friends and family that made my whole birthday week completely amazing.  Thanks, everyone!

Tuesday, not two days after the debauchery of my 40th, I flipped a 180° and stepped foot onto the campus of Bastyr University and directly into the Department of Midwifery.  This first week of school has been moving in so many ways.  The supportive teachers, the tremendous room for personal growth, and the thrill/anxiety of finally stepping toward my full potential.  In some ways, I know exactly where I am headed...I know the direction...but the details and the color of how I travel this road will fill in as I walk it.

One of the biggest parts has been meeting my cohort, the women that will be surrounding me some future day when I will suddenly realize we are inexplicably connected.  I find it bizarre to sit right next to strangers and know we will be best friends.  It is as if we were betrothed in some other lifetime.

Tomorrow, it will all get very real when I practice my first ever pelvic exam...on a real woman.
Holy shit.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What a Racket!

Posted by Amy Baranski and Melissa Baumgart
Welcome to September!
We had been looking forward to Tennis Month ever since we picked it.  Who knew that having a baby in the mix would have us starting September a week late?  But it's all worth it, and Japhy is adorable and growing fast; he's the best excuse for not blogging that we've had yet! (And Melissa didn't even have a baby!  What a minute, what's her excuse?)
We have a tennis court just a block from our apartment building, so we are hoping that ups the likelihood of the actual tennis activity.  Last month Melissa had been playing with her son for a bit, and noticed the courts were pretty crowded.  Here's to hoping the school year starting things that out a bit.
With both of us being so busy, Amy literally feeding her baby non-stop and being a devoted mom 24/7 and Melissa starting an intense midwifery program, having tennis so handy could be a real blessing when we just need to release a little steam.  It's a fun sport that has you moving and sweating, all while working on the intricate details of the skill.  

And if we can't find the time for that, well, there's always the US Open on TV!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Photo Project: Day 31

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Last day of September, taken on the ferry heading to Family Camp on Orcas Island.  We all had a great time out there at Camp Orkila.  Jamie and I feared it would be dorky.  The older kids thought it would be totally lame, and Levi had decided he wouldn't have any fun at all.  He was going to stay in the cabin all day long.  But all of our dreams were sabotaged by the myriad of activities and thrilling rides.

I highly recommend dorking out, and going to Family Camp!

Kundalini Yoga

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I was rushing into my yoga class last night, "Get out of my way!  I am trying to get to yoga!" Oh, the irony.  After signing up for my beginner special at the new Kundalini Yoga studio I was trying out, I was very pleased with myself for remembering to silence my phone.  Then, at the last minute, I remembered the alarm.  It was 6:45 and I would be in class at 7:20.  That alarm goes off right through the silence button.  Could you imagine the horror if I had forgot to turn it off, and heard that duck quacking alarm right in the middle of class.  OK, well, maybe not horror, but extreme embarrassment.
August's Blue Moon, as seen from the ferry to Orcas Island.
I did not get a 7:20 photo yesterday.  I thought it would be rude to get up during the fire breathing cobra pose and snap a shot of the teacher and the one other student in class.  Instead of a photo, I will tell you that what I offer you is an invitation to go and try Kundalini Yoga for yourself.

It is like Bikram yoga's other half.  Eyes closed the whole time, chanting, focusing mostly on your inner world.  Whereas in Bikram, your eyes are open and you are acutely aware of the external world, using all your determination to not be distracted by what you see and keeping your attention on your mat.  Both are physically challenging, but in completely different ways.  Both are mentally challenging as well, a quality I appreciate very much about a yoga practice.  I feel it is so important to discipline our mind.

I can't say I like one better than the other.  They are both perfectly what they should be, and I am pleased to have both in my life right now.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I had a baby!

Posted by Amy Baranski

Hello blog! I'm happy to announce that Babeski is a Boyski! Last month I labored and delivered our darling son, Japhy River.

His name comes from one of the main characters in the book, The Dharma Bums written by the beatific writer Jack Kerouac, and recalls a journey my husband and I had climbing Desolation Peak in the Northern Cascades a few years ago. At the peak of Desolation is a fire lookout where writer Jack Kerouac stayed during the summer of 1956.

Japhy came to us full term and nine days before his estimated due date. A tiny baby and with all parts intact he was born at home in a pool of warm water. From the time my water broke (in a nearby restaurant) to the time I held him in my arms he took only seven and a half hours to arrive. It stands as one of the craziest and most blessed nights of my life. Darling Japhy.

He's a dream.

"And suddenly I saw the Northwest was a great deal more than the little vision I had of it of Japhy in my mind. It was miles and miles of unbelievable mountains grooking on all horizons in the wild broken clouds, Mount Olympus and Mount Baker, a giant orange sash in the gloom over the Pacific-ward skies that led I knew toward the Hokkaido Siberian desolations of the world. I huddled against the bridgehouse hearing the Mark Twain talk of the skipper and the wheelman inside. In the deepened dusk fog ahead the big red neons saying: PORT OF SEATTLE. And suddenly everything Japhy had ever told me about Seattle began to seep into me like cold rain, I could feel it and see it now, and not just think it. It was exactly like he'd said: wet, immense, timbered, mountainous, cold, exhilarating, challenging. The ferry nosed in at the pier on Alaskan Way and immediately I saw the totem poles in old stores and the ancient 1880-style switch goat with sleepy firemen chug chugging up and down the waterfront spur like a scene from my old dreams, the old Casey Jones locomotive of American, the only one I ever saw that old outside of Western movies, but actually working and hauling boxcars in the smoky gloom of the magic city."Now I was beginning to see the Cascades on the northeast horizon, unbelievable jags and twisted rock and snow-covered immensities, enough to make you gulp. The road ran right through the dreamy fertile valleys of the Stilaquamish [Stillaguamish] and the Skagit, rich butterfat valleys with farms and cows browsing under that tremendous background of snow-pure heaps. The further north I hitched the bigger the mountains got till I finally began to feel afraid. I got a ride from a fellow who looked like a bespectacled careful lawyer in a conservative car, but turned out that he was the famous Bat Lindstrom the hardtop racing champion and his conservative automobile had in it a souped-up motor that could make it go a hundred and seventy miles an hour ...
"The fellows who picked me up were loggers, uranium prospectors, farmers, they drove me through the final big town of Skagit Valley, Sedro Woolley, a farming market town, and then out as the road got narrower and more curved among cliffs and the Skagit River, which we'd crossed on 99 as a dreaming belly river with meadows on both sides, was now a pure torrent of melted snow pouring narrow and fast between muddy snag shores. Cliffs began to appear on both sides. The snow-covered mountains themselves had disappeared, receded from my view, I couldn't see them any more but now I was beginning to feel them more" (The Dharma Bums, 222-223).

Photo Project: Day 29

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Watering the gardens.  I love how the kale looks as big as Talullah!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photo Project: Day 28

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Yesterday, I cleaned out my storage unit in the basement.  We went from having huge basements all to ourselves when we owned/rented houses in the past.  Now, living in an apartment, we had to consolidate (or get rid of) everything that doesn't go into our living space to fit into one 11x5 space.  I clean it out about twice a year, and in between those times, things just pile up everywhere and you can't even walk into it.

This cleaning started because I need to have binders for school, and I knew I had a lot of binders holding old school or home records from Baltimore that could be emptied out and re-used.  I cleared out 10 binders worth of old information, as well as three boxes of random papers.  I recycled all the documents from buying and selling homes, read through old love letters from Jamie, admired a few saved pieces of artwork from the kids, read through pregnancy records from our first child, as well as a few old journals from that time in my life.  It was a cathartic day.

Photo project: Day 27

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Salad.  It's what's for dinner.  If only it had been more in focus.  Sigh.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Photo Project: Day 26

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Home again, home again.  Back to washing everything by hand..good bye dishwasher at that amazing vacation home.

Photo Project: Day 25

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
On many levels...a guilty pleasure of mine.  Target Popcorn.  But it's only 300 calories per bag!  Every time my friend goes to Target, she brings me home a bag.  She's the best!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Photo Project: Day 24

I really do take it a 7:20 pm. Everyday, when my alarm goes off, my kids it 7:20??? Yes! Yes, it is!!

Photo Project: Day 23

Went wine tasting today. So, so lovely.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Photo Project: Day 19

I missed day 18! I think. I am on vacation and loving every minute of it. I am blogging via an app on my phone, so it's hard for me to navigate and keep track. But one things for sure, Lake Chelan is offering stunning scenery for photography month!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Photo Project: Days 16 & 17

These demonstrate two things: the blog has offered my daughter an opportunity to find one of her passions and we eat too much pizza.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fields of Joy

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I am leaving town tomorrow for a week, on vacation!  As excited as I am, I find myself stressing about every little thing.  Did I spend too much money on food?  Did I buy enough food?  Did I buy too much?  What if I forget something?  Shit, I forgot the feta cheese...damn, that meal will suck without it.  What if I don't get my dishes clean before we leave?  Shit, I forgot my step-father-in-law's birthday last week and he's going to be here in two hours...what in the hell am I going to get him?  How could I forget his birthday!
"Let's wander slowly through the fields, the fields of joy." - Lenny Kravitz

My mind races on and on.  I am cranky with my kids.  Cranky with my husband.  And my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth together.  All of this...because of a vacation!?!

What am I doing to myself?  Am I the only crazy person out there that does this?  I think in the world I do a fairly good job at keeping up this calm, cool and collected front.  In fact, I guess I am that person most of the time, until it all comes falling apart.  Falling apart to the tune of such a trivial song.

It's time to be joyful and thankful.  Everyone just stop for one moment, right now.  Stop and be thankful for what you have.  Stop yelling at your kids, your husband, or beating up yourself.  There's got to be some grain of a reason for gratitude and I challenge you to find it.  Right now.

I don't want to be that cranky person.  That jealous person.  That stressed out Mama.  As I near this mile-marker birthday (turning 40! can I get a what what!), I am realizing more and more, that it is simply a choice.  Every time I feel my jaw clenching with stress and anger, I can choose to let it go. Even if it's only releasing the muscles in my jaw, physically, training myself to let go of that tension.

I want to be thankful.  I want to be joyful.  And I want to let the times of stress wash over me, so I can embrace true anger and sadness when they arise, go through it and then keep walking.  I know it's hard in our fast paced, gotta have and do everything, lifestyle.  But every once in a while, I am reminded to slow down...and I am inviting you to do the same.

PS.  Thanks for listening to my process/rant...I hope in some way it is helpful.

Photo Project: Day 15

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

What do two twelve year olds do with a box of straws and leftover pegboard from a headboard crafting session?  Make a modern art installation, of course!  This is what my daughter and her bestie created, and it now hangs front and center in our living room.

Of course, at first, when I walked into the room and saw crap (art supplies in their minds) everywhere, I did freak a little.  I ranted a little about cleaning up after themselves, and thought about if these items were recyclable, because that was where this crap was headed after they were done.  When they finished, and after they took down the beautiful artwork I had hanging on my wall, they hung their piece.  And that's when it hit me, this crap is ART!  It's been there ever since.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Photo Project: Day 14

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
The latest attempt at getting my kids to be helpful around the house, $1.00 per Fast 15.  Here's to hoping a list of possibilities becomes endless.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Photo Project: Days 12 & 13

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Both photos were taken with the $1.99 app I bought yesterday.  I think it sucks.  There were other shots that were way worse.  Perhaps I just need to learn how to use it, but it proves to be difficult in that you have to hold the iPhone still for so long while it analyzes and takes two photos in succession.  Or maybe I just don't have an eye for what a good HDR photo could be.  I'll keep on trying.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
Here are some other pictures from this month, not taken at the magic time of 7:20pm for the Project.  And don't forget to post some of your pictures on our Facebook page.  I am offering a prize to the picture with the most "likes".  (Prize yet to be determined, but believe me, it'll be good!)
I got lucky and snapped a picture right as Tony Hawk was up in the air during his ride in the skate bowl at Jefferson Park.  

This is my family at Alki Beach one evening, at sunset.
Kids dancing to "I Whip my Hair Back and Forth" at a block party we attended.  The photo turned out a little grainy, but I feel like it captures how fun the evening was.
I love the way the water is captured in this photo.  
During one of the many beautiful days we have been having here in Seattle, I took the kids to a water park in town.  This photo was my first attempt with the HDR filter.  HDR, or High Dynamic Range, photography was recommended to me by a reader.  He told me about a great website that offers a tutorial, only it sounds like you have to buy an expensive software.  Last night I downloaded an app for $1.99 instead.  I know it offer what the $100 version does, but I am going to give it a try today.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Photo Project: Day 10

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
This is a bowling pin from Tallulah's 6 year old birthday party.  Everyone signed it as a keepsake for her to remember that bowling party I forced her to have.  Sometime in the past year, it organically became a headband holder in our bathroom.  I don't think anyone had a creative idea about it, I think it just happened out of laziness.  "I don't want to put this headband away.  Oh look, it fits on this bowling pin.  Perfect."  But don't ask me why the bowling pin was in the bathroom in the first place...who knows.  At least she got something out of that crappy party she had to have because of her Mom's blog.

Other than that story, there doesn't seem to be anything special about this photo.  At all.  The colors are bland and frankly, it makes my bathroom look like a gym locker room.  But there is something in the plainness of it that draws me in.  

Friday, August 10, 2012

Photo Project: Day 9

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
The smoking man, Day 9.
 Last night at 7:20, I could find nothing worth photographing.  I looked everywhere around my apartment, and took a number of photos.  There was nothing inspiring, or artsy about any of them.  No stories.  No life lessons lurking through the iPhone lens.

Then, about 10 minutes later I decided to try again.  So what if it was past 7:20!  I felt like such a rebel, breaking my own self-imposed rules.  I looked out the window, and there he was, the "smoking man."  There is this guy that lives across the street and he consistently comes over in front of our apartment to smoke...even after being asked not to.  Mostly he sits on the bench our neighbors put out front and puffs away.  Other times he has been known to lie upon the grass and smoke, propping himself up with one arm or flat on his back gazing upwards to the sky.
My best attempt from 7:20 pm, a pile of matched socks.
He often looks sad.  I am so curious about him.  I want to know his story.  But still, I don't go and ask.  In a way, I like having peculiar people around me.  I get to make up my own stories, write little novellas in my mind about their life.  Thank you, smoking man, for keeping my creative mind limber.