Tuesday morning pj shoot

I am a big fan of Ilana at the blog Mommy Shorts, including a recent photo series she kicked off which is designed to show the beauty in every mother’s morning, even if we can’t see it ourselves. You can see her latest installment here.

About the same time I read Ilana’s first post on this topic, my own photographer friend Erika was going to be in town (do I sound sophisticated when I say I have a ‘photographer friend’?). She is actually a lawyer too, but she is doing more and more photography and I am so happy for her that she is pursuing this passion.

I was excited to see her for more than just an hour or two. She spent the night and we had time to catch up and laugh and have meaningful conversations the way you can do with an old cherished friend. She also took photos of my kids – nothing fancy, just pictures of them romping around in their pj’s and our normal Tuesday morning routine.

I do not have any professional photos of my family since my second daughter was born. I have a million cell phone photos, but they are often blurry and random. I feel a bit guilty about that, because I had nice photos of my first kid taken at least twice. So I knew I would appreciate even just one or two good shots of my daughters.

I had no idea how they would turn out – in part because I was busy stressing about what the hell to put in my daughter’s lunchbox for most of it – but I love the photos more than I expected. My house is messy, my furniture is mismatched, and I spent about 5 minutes grooming all 3 of us. After Erika left I was actually sort of annoyed with myself for not putting more thought or effort into the whole thing, seeing as it was an opportunity for free nice photos and I didn’t even wear clean pants or brush my daughter’s hair. I did, however, shower – so that’s something.

But that’s part of why I love them. Because they look like what I will remember from these crazy, exhausting mornings that are so full of life and chaos – days when my oldest child tapes paper all over my living room floor to make a ‘cake walk’ and then rubs her spit on the windows, while my youngest crawls into a box, wears her sister’s shoes, and drops bits of her beloved play-doh everywhere she goes.

I feel grateful that I have such a talented friend who was able to make lasting memories out of an otherwise ho-hum Tuesday. But I’m also sharing the photos here because I think it’s a worthwhile reminder for any mother – similar to the purpose of the Mommy Shorts series – that the everyday moments can be beautiful too (especially when you have someone talented behind the camera).


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Spit-shining the windows, as one does.

Spit-shining the windows, as one does.


You can see the rest of Erika’s photo shoot and give her mad props for her skills here. (seriously check out the amazing pregnant lady yoga photos in the post before mine. WUT is happening there. Not possible.)

When you need a change of scenery

Last week we went to Texas. It was a nice break from our norm. We swam in an outdoor pool in 90 degree weather. My children will never know this experience where they live.

We saw scorpions. In the house. No thank you.

Oh – and I got the worst sleep of my life since the newborn days. Holy mother why do I bother trying to travel with children before they are old enough to hold their own in a big bed? My neck is still kinked from rocking a 25 lb+ child to sleep 3-4 times/night. Les Miserables.

On the upside I took a cool lizard photo to add to my ever-growing collection of critter pics.


Hey National Geographic – call me maybe.

While it was nice to get away for a few days, I have an itch for a bigger travel experience. Sometimes I dream about packing up my family and moving to a foreign country to live for a while. I want my kids to experience a different culture. I want to look back and feel like we had a few solid adventures together as a family. I want an excuse to wear espadrilles.

But before I can entertain the idea any further, I am overwhelmed by how daunting the reality of that dream seems to be. We’d have to sell our house! Quit work! Find new work! And what about schools?

Nevermind. We’ll just stay put.

So I was fascinated when my friend, Erika, recently did this exact thing – but on a more flexible, short-term basis.

She was seeking a change of climate and perspective, and wanted to expose her kids to a new language and culture out of their comfort zones. She also wanted to start traveling with them at a young age so it wouldn’t seem so daunting later. Smart!

So she packed up her bags and her kids and headed to Big Corn Island off the east coast of Nicaragua in the Caribbean to live for three months.

She’s there now, and I have been living vicariously through her amazing photos.

How did she do it? What are the costs?

She rents a house for $400/month. She pays a whopping $16/month for her kids to attend a private Baptist school. And they can take a taxi almost anywhere on the island for $1.

I don’t know why, but it never crossed my mind that you could do something like this without having to completely upend your life back home. She didn’t even have to leave her job – she is working remotely from there. Granted, she always works from home so that was probably easier to negotiate than most jobs, but hey – you never know if your boss will let you fly the coop for a bit if you don’t ask.

I just think the whole thing sounds dreamy, and I totally admire that she had the gumption to do it. Not to mention, what an enriching and educational experience for her kids.

She did mention that there is no hot water, she hand washes clothes in a bin in the backyard, and the language barrier can be bumpy to navigate at times.

But honestly – I rarely shower, I wear the same clothes every day, and the majority of my conversations are with a 16-month-old child who speaks gibberish. I have never been more well-suited for such an adventure.

Just in case I never get enough of my own gumption to travel beyond exotic Texas, my friend was kind enough to let me share her story and photos here. I was inspired and intrigued by the idea, and thought maybe someone else will be too. Plus I just love travel stories and photos – and her photos are gorgeous. If you ever need a photographer in the Montana area, check her out.






Whoa whoa whoa. Let’s steer clear of the lizard pictures, ok, pal? I think we know who owns that territory.

While the sunshine and ocean pics are lovely, hands down the best photo she has taken is the one she posted on my Facebook page with the caption “Creepy Baby sighting in Nicaragua!”


Holy hell if ever there were a baby in need of a ski mask, it’s that one. I’ll get right on it.