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20131228-223758.jpgA portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013

I can’t believe this is the last photo this year. 2013 was the first full year we spent with this girl. It was amazing. It was scary. It was wonderful. Becoming a mother has been such a strange and fulfilling journey for me. It’s like everything I never knew was missing showed up in this tiny little human. She has taught me so much already. I love being her mother, often more then I can express.

We had a bit of snow this last week, not as much as I would have liked, but enough to test out her snow boots. Don’t let this photo fool you, she didn’t really care for it. She couldn’t figure out how to move and became frustrated very quickly. I’m hoping we get another good storm so we can try again.

I’m still debating on next years project. Can I make a good photograph every single day? I love the challenge, the idea of pushing myself, of using my creative muscle. But I wonder if it would be too much. I don’t want to start and quit half way through the year. I will probably wait until the last minute to make the decision, my normal way of handling most creative endeavors.

My favorite last week was this photo of some little feet and her sparkly shoes.

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Christmas

20131226-222813.jpg20131226-222828.jpg20131226-222955.jpg20131226-223009.jpg20131226-222851.jpg20131226-222909.jpg20131226-222930.jpg20131226-223035.jpgOur Christmas was pretty perfect. This kid had a blast and seemed to instinctively know how to unwrap presents. My husband even managed to surprise us both with the toy ukulele we had been eyeing up at the store. Made this mama cry. I don’t think I could have asked for a better Christmas.

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20131221-234456.jpgA portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013

She is officially 15 months old. I’m not sure why but for some reason it feels a lot older then 12 months did. Maybe it’s the sudden onset of walking. And understanding. And communicating. She can actually understand what she wants now, and even better, communicate what that is to me. She walked pretty much the entire length of the mall with us tonight. It was adorable, and so wonderful. My husband told me it was easily one of the best days of his life. And all we did was spend time with family.

I love Christmas. And having this little munchkin running around, wearing an apron, eating an apple while her grandpa and I bake cookies makes it even better. Watching her face light up when she hears the chipmunk song(which she recognizes from the musical book her grandpa’s gave her), seeing her ooh and ahh over the lights and decorations. I can’t wait to see her go nuts tearing open gifts and playing with toys this week.

Last week these lovely shots were my favorites.

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20131214-193656.jpgA portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013

It’s hard to believe that there are only 2 short weeks left of this year. This year we spent getting to know this girl. Watching her grow. And change. And become the amazing little person she is today. She is officially a toddler now. Seeing her walk is so bittersweet for me. The last of her babyhood left behind, replaced by a little toddling toddler. She doesn’t look like a baby walking around, she looks like a little girl. Selfishly it’s hard for me to accept. But I am so proud of her. Seeing the joy on her face as she realizes she can walk everywhere she wants to go. It makes my heart sing for her.

I’ve been debating on how to approach this project next year. I know I will be participating again, but am trying to decide if I have it in me to do a 365 project. A photo a day. I would love to challenge myself to make an image I am proud of on a daily basis. I photograph her almost daily as is, but not always with awareness or intent. I would love to do the project, it’s just the commitment I’m having a bit of a struggle with. I suppose I have two weeks to decide.

Last week my favorite image was of another little girl, peering out the window.

Pineapple Mango Pear Crisp

20131211-131427.jpgThe recipes have been seriously lacking in this space lately. I’ve been cooking and baking, but not as much, and definitely not when there’s beautiful light available for photographing. As this child becomes a toddler, it’s harder to set aside a chunk of time to make something lovely. I’m also at work during dinner time 4 days out of the week so that too complicates things. I’m hoping to dedicate some of this weekend to making and prepping food for the week so it’s easier to have things ready to go on week nights.

I did somehow manage to throw this crisp together one Sunday before heading to dinner at my parents. I had bought a pineapple, with visions of making some sort of pineapple cream cake when this came to me. Warm sweet pineapple cooked with pears and mangoes, topped with a crunchy oat crumble and fresh whipped cream. It was perfect. Comforting. So good. A slight deviation from the crisps that adorn many tables this season, but a surprisingly wonderful one. Make this. I promise it won’t disappoint.20131211-131416.jpgPineapple Mango Pear Crisp

Ingredients

For the filling:
2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
2 ripe mangoes, chopped
2 ripe pears, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the topping:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8×8 glass baking dish. Make the filling: in a large bowl combine pineapple, mango, pear, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour into baking dish.

2. In a large bowl mix flour and butter until mixture is crumbly and butter is the size of peas. Add oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Sprinkle over top of fruit mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes until topping is golden brown. Cool slightly, and serve with freshly whipped cream. Vanilla ice cream would be great as well.

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20131207-222459.jpgA portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013

This week was rough. Rough on this girl. And rough, might be putting it mildly. Somehow in the wee hours of Tuesday morning she managed to pop her elbow out of socket. Her and I were up for a few hours at 2 am before I realized she wasn’t using her arm at all. By 7 am I realized a visit to the doctor was in order. By 8 we were on our way to the ER, since our office couldn’t be sure they could fix it, and couldn’t get us in for 2 more hours. We spent 4 miserable hours in the ER, getting X-rays, and loads of tears at the sight of each new person, only for them to say they must have popped in back in during the exam. Ugh.

Thursday the poor kid(who now walks!!) was dancing like she does, and lost her balance. Face, meet coffee table. Bloody lip and tears ensue. She was fine shortly there after, however I made the mistake of still giving her a pacifier at bedtime. 45 minutes later she woke up screaming with a very swollen and painful looking lip. Luckily some Tylenol and a pear to eat solved the problem.

Toddlers are amazing. And so scary. She is a walking accident waiting to happen. Everything is dangerous for her now. Everything. And she seems to know it, and seek out the things most dangerous. I’m hoping she doesn’t inherit my knack for injuring myself. Learning to allow her to have the space to grow yet still protect her is something I fear I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I never realized how fitting the term toddler was until I had one.

My favorite photo this week was this little girl painting.

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20131201-190030.jpgA portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013

Staring out the window, one of her favorite places to be, shouting “dog” loudly every few minutes.

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year, and although she was already here last year it felt like her first Thanksgiving for us because she got to eat! For a family so passionate about food that’s a big deal. We ate earlier then she normally does so she wasn’t really interested in eating with everyone, but once everyone left she went to town. I swear the kid spent a good 30 minutes straight eating, and went nuts for the pumpkin pie. As other parents already know, having a child makes the holidays pretty damn awesome.

Last week my favorite was this black and white of two tiny dancers.