Last Mother’s Day I was so numb and in shock with swollen eyes that the day just floated by. I remember eating at a bakery and it was windy outside. Mother’s Day. I remember reading grief pamphlets given to me by our social worker at UCLA. Then throwing them away…tucking myself in and falling back to sleep.
This Mother’s Day I freaked and panicked. I wanted nothing and everything at the same time. I wanted it to be just like any other day because I’ve become comfortable coping with my daily pain and grief. But I wanted it to be special…but the haunting memories of what I was going through a year ago just won’t give in. Last week also marked one year since the doctors told us they could do no more for Emma. That it was time. It was in a small conference room in the PICU of UCLA and all her doctors were there. There were pictures of puffins on the wall. Her nephrologist, team of pediatric cardiologist, pediatrician, and neurologist were all there and the palpable stillness enveloped me the moment I walked in the room. Her primary cardiologist, a pretty blonde lady named Mika simply said that she didn’t want to offer us false hope, that there was no more that they could do for Emma that would help her. All that brain power in a tiny space yet not a shred of hope. My vision blurred. They just kept saying that her heart wasn’t strong enough. I couldn’t breathe. They didn’t even know if there was activity going on in her brain. I wanted to throw up. The time had come to remove all the wires and tubes…all the medicine and hope. I remember looking at Derek…and then Claire who was just sitting in her car seat…wearing shorts for the first time. Wondering if she understood what they were saying about her sister. But how could she have understood? I didn’t understand. I blanked and warm tears flooded my face. Doctors giving me their sad faces. Their sad faces just frustrating me even more. I clenched my jaw. There wasn’t anything left to say so they left us alone in that tiny room for a while.
I never thought of that moment until last week. Amazingly, the details are still saturated in my mind…the smell, the arrangement of the room, the thick air, what I was wearing, seeing all the doctors faces. Today, my grief feels like an iceberg: only a fraction of it visible at the surface, a small manifestation of a massive body of grief. I think its my minds own coping strategy. A little bit at a time.
Claire has 2 baby dolls that she loves. Loves them so much that she gives them kisses. Monty has sequestered one of her baby dolls but Claire made do with just the one she got for her birthday from my Tia (my aunt who we all lovingly call “Tia” which means aunt in Spanish). I know the last one is blurry – but look at that smile! Melts my heart.
I took these right before we were heading out the door – she’s in her new hat her great-great grandma made for her…really, she loves her dollys!
First off, let me introduce to you the Moms with Fancy Cameras logo:
Actually, its one of 2 versions. What do you think? Ya like?? Thought I would make our little group more official.
So, as the first project for the MWFC group, you will need both your photography and Martha Stewart hats: Photo Bunting! This project was inspired by several things: 1. The awkward feeling my house has after I took down the Christmas decorations and had nothing to put up 2. Bunting is wildly popular right now – and I think its just SO freaking adorable 3. I can’t sew but wanted to create my own bunting piece.
I am a natural light photographer – meaning most of my sessions are lit with that powerful star high in the sky. However, not many of us want to go outside in this frigid weather (Californian’s: please pretend it has dropped below 65 degrees – much appreciated!) so you have to make the best use of the light that floods your home. Thus, for this project you MUST use natural light that comes into your home – no artificial light- my recommendation would be near a window.
Tips for shooting near a window:
Angle your subject towards the window – it will illuminate their face, create catchlights in their eyes (catchlight is a fancy term used to describe reflections in the eyes of the subject), and will give you even lighting across their face.
Use a sheer curtain or linen in front of the window. This will help soften the light and reduces shadows.
Find the best light source in your home – use this light even if you have to rearrange a few pieces of furniture to take your photo.
Ribbon, lace or fabric (I used ribbon)
Hot Glue gun
Choose the photos you want to use. I added quote bubbles in Photoshop but my original plan was to make them out of paper and adhere them to the photos (for more of a 3D effect). You can do whichever you choose.
Then create a document to accomodate all your photos – I used 6 2 inch wide photos so my document size was 6×6. Keep in mind that you will need white space above each photo to adhere onto the ribbon.
Print your photos and cut them to size leaving room above each photo.
Using a hot glue gun, run some glue along the white space and glue onto the ribbon. (Be quick like bunny doing this! The glue dries quickly!)
You can then hang it up in your house or fold it accordion style, tie a ribbon around it and give them away as Valentine’s Day presents!
And for those of you who want more of a traditional approach to Valentine’s Day: You can contact me to receive the templates to these cards I designed. All you have to do is insert the picture! :) If you could still post the photos you took on the Facebook page, that would be fantastic!
Most Mondays have staple “TO DO” items stuck to its behind. Monday’s, in general, are a reminder that you have to get stuff done and feel productive every day of the week so you feel OK relaxing on the weekends. At least that’s how I am. These “to-do” items usually include, making baby food, grocery shopping, realization of what needs to get done, end early (Ah, the joys of working from home!) and on special Mondays like today, you get to have friends over for dinner! Here is a glimpse into our more-or-less normal Monday…
On the 21st we head out to celebrate this special time of year with our families in LA and San Diego. That is a mere EIGHT days away. So, I’ve decided to document our remaining days in our home, doing what we do, until we leave. I will try to have the daily post up by 8 or 9pm MST. I really meant to start this a lot sooner, promise, I did! The culmination of this will be the night of the 20th – which will be a special night for the Ashauer clan. :) So stay tuned!
And because no post is complete without a picture, here is one of Miss Claire enjoying buffalo bourguinon.