Birding - Barn Swallow

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We were born and raised in a summer haze

Bound by the surprise of our glory days


First Year Recap
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Yes, it took me 15 months to get this together... If you really feel like you're missing baby reports you can follow me on Twitter (@barnswallowkate).

Adriana was born in early December 2012 after a pretty average labor & delivery (drug assisted, woo!). Carlos was so great and gave me exactly the kind of support and encouragement I needed. He was quiet and non-intrusive, but always there.


Photo by my dad

Lots of thoughts and pictures Collapse )


Despite some rough months the baby year was a time I'll always cherish. It was fleeting and magical and all those other cliched and meaningless words people use to describe parenting a baby because words can't capture how it feels. She is a delight and I am so happy to have her in my life. Bring it, toddlerhood.


Decluttering Is Awesome!
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Confession: I am a recovering packrat. In elementary school my parents went to Parent Teacher Night and found my desk stuffed with acorns and rocks. Around the same age I cried when we left the beach without a big stick I’d been playing with. I’ve always had a bad habit of keeping things I might use someday, just in case. Even now I have to make Carlos throw out my holey socks because I feel bad for them, since they served their roles honorably and admirably but are being rewarded by going to the dump.

Despite all of that history, over the past few years I’ve become a wannabe and in-progress minimalist. Here’s how I did it.

Why, How, etcCollapse )

Problem Areas
I still have a ways to go, especially in these areas:
- Oh Baby. Having a baby means the future is even more unpredictable than before and thus we need more items than usual to cover multiple contingencies. My changing size and shape means I need to have a range of sizes for regular clothes, undergarments, and even shoes! I have no idea what size or shape I will be after the baby so it’s hard to know when I’ve definitively grown out of something. Then there’s the baby’s stuff! Even though we’re trying to be minimalists there too, the baby will get everything dirty quickly so we need a lot of clothes/linens. Plus we have no idea how big it will be when so we’re starting out with a range of clothes in an attempt to cover all our bases (and the baby’s ass). We've been able to fit almost all the baby stuff in its room, but the stuff that used to be in there has to go somewhere, which means uncluttering an entire room’s worth of stuff from the house in total.
- Sentimental/Family Things. I still hold on to more than I probably should here, but I’m working on it. I am slowly internalizing Peter Walsh’s idea that objects themselves don’t hold memories. Memories stay in my head whether I keep the object or not. I’m not opposed to all sentimental things - the pearl ring that my grandfather gave Gram for her 40th birthday and she gave to me when I was younger with a note to remember her when I wear it is staying forever. But I could probably get rid of my dad’s super 80s sweatshirt even though it reminds me of being a kid. And I might not need to keep the tickets from every movie Carlos and I saw together in high school.
- Beautiful-Or-Geeky-Yet-Useless Things. I have lots of pretty things that don’t do much besides look pretty while collecting dust. Some pretty things I have don’t even get displayed! In this area my focus has been on non-attachment, telling myself it’s enough to appreciate and admire lovely things without needing to possess them. I also want basically every awesome nerd thing I see on the internet (UNICORN HOODIE PLEASE BE MINE). I keep trying to tell myself that my inherent nerdiness is quite obvious and doesn’t need to be proved with objects. Except I might be able to justify a TARDIS beach towel...
- Text. This post is ironically long for being about minimalism.

We still have a lot of stuff to get rid of, but I’m really proud of how much we’ve done and I’m excited to get rid of more!

Pregnancy Update
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Since I'm almost in the third trimester, and I'd rather put this all in one place than spread it over every Tweet ever, it's time for a pregnancy update!

We decided not to find out if it's a boy or a girl. We don't have names picked out yet (Carlos' suggestions are "Hulk" and "She Hulk," do you see what I am working with?). We haven't set up the room either (it's getting the office). We're going to try to do cloth diapers. I'm trying to be somewhat minimalist about baby Stuff but I'm not sure I'm succeeding.

blah blah baby blah blahCollapse )


Although the third trimester is supposed to be the most uncomfortable (and ends in scary scary labor and delivery), I'm glad it's here and I can get it over with! I'm excited for the baby to come out where it can be cute and annoy other people besides just me.


ANNOUNCEMENT! (It’s Probably What You Think It Is)
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Yes, since we have been married for more than 2 seconds, we are having a baby as is legally and socially required! (That last part is sarcasm. A lot of sarcasm. Almost an infinite amount of sarcasm.)

TL;DR version: I am almost halfway through and due on November 29. We aren’t sure if we want to find out ahead of time if it’s a boy or a girl. We are excited and I am also a bit scared!




From back around 11 weeks


Details below, hopefully nothing gross!Collapse )

If you have any suggestions for things to buy, let me know. I don’t see any point to repeating other people’s research so I’m mostly going to steal all my friends’ ideas/decisions. And if you have non-scary/non-gross stories to share about having kids I’d love to hear them! (Note: all birth stories are scary to me so far, sorry.)

Stop Asking About Babies
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Over the past few years I've had the misfortune of becoming *gasp* almost 30, and I'm knee deep in the attendant Baby Questions. Although I intend to answer them with slightly-sarcastic but somewhat good-natured humor, I find that when they come up I'm nonplussed at the time, uncomfortable until I'm away from the Questioner, and angry the rest of the day. In this post addressed to any Questioners reading it, I'll try to explain why.

Things That Are OK
- Asking "Do you have any kids?" when getting to know someone
- Discussing the topic when it comes up in the natural course of a conversation with a friend, as long as you respect their thoughts, feelings, and boundaries
- Liking, wanting, and/or having kids

Things That Are Not OK
- Asking "When are you having a baby?"
- Asking "Why don't you have kids?"
- Assuming that all people like, want, and/or can have kids

Do I really need to explain why?Collapse )

Going Forward
Feel free to dismiss this post as not applicable to you. You might think I'm too uptight and your friends and relatives don't feel this way. Plus of course you don't mean any harm when you ask. Maybe you're right! But keep in mind that intentions aren't magic, and remember this post when your Baby Questions are met with something less than enthusiasm.

Birthday Resolution Report: February
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This is incredibly late! Unfortunately, my mom spent the first two weeks of March in the hospital with an intestinal infection. I spent a lot of those two weeks going back and forth to the hospital, plus I stayed over a few nights. That has really messed March up and pushed back this post. Here’s the February report - March is going to be such a failure it may not be worth posting.
Uncluttering and photography were good, everything else was not so greatCollapse )

Birthday Resolution Report: December & January
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So I wrote this a few weeks ago for December and then never posted it so I’m putting January intoo. I kept a log in a spreadsheet so I can report to you. (Original resolution post is here!)

Fails for sleeping, exercise, and birding. Gold stars for uncluttering and photographyCollapse )

Overall assessment: I’m happy I did what I did but I definitely want to do more. The first two resolutions are the most important (I could do the other ones more easily if I weren’t exhausted/weak all the time) and they’re the ones I did the worst on. I’ll really focus on those and tell myself that now that the holidays are over my schedule can be more normal.

Birthday Resolutions
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A friend of mine told me she does birthday resolutions instead of New Year’s resolutions, and I loved the idea so I’m stealing it (my birthday was at the beginning of the month).  I also feel like have all these boxes to check off before the completely arbitrary deadline of turning 30 next year OMG.  I think my resolutions in the past have been a little vague so I’m trying to make these easier to follow and track (kind of like 6 Changes, which didn’t go so well).


Age 29 Resolutions
1. Go to bed by 11PM every day.
2. Exercise/physical activity every day.
3. Spend time outside at least once a week.
4. Bird at least twice a month.
5. Blog at least once a month (this includes reading friends’ blogs and catching up on comments).
6. Unclutter at least one day a month.
7. Learn or practice a new photography-related concept or skill every month.
8. Learn Portuguese.
9. Make money at photography.
10. Set up wills already.


So how am I doing for November so far?


1. Not so hot, really.
2. Also not good but I will change!!
3. I’m surprised to recall that I spent several hours outside every weekend this month.  Awesome!
4. Hawk Mountain was once, so I better bird at the Cottage this weekend. ← Quantifiable goals in action! Instead of resolving “I should bird more” and then every weekend saying “I’ll do it next weekend,” now I see that I haven’t met my numerical goal so I better step it up.
5. This is the second post this month!
6. I can’t remember if I’ve uncluttered this month specifically but in the past few I’ve done a lot.  I’ve gotten good at identifying things I don’t want or need, but the problem seems to lie in actually getting this stuff out of the house.
7. Not done.  I guess I could try some HDR stuff at the Cottage?
8. Ugh ok.  Portuguese is HARD.  None of the letters are pronounced the way you expect.  For some sounds I have to consciously think “Ok put your tongue there and your teeth there and don’t do that with your lips” etc etc.  Half of the syllables aren’t even pronounced.  Carlos taught me a few obscenities but he laughs at my accent.  Too bad it’s time to suck it up!  I have Rosetta Stone and I make Carlos talk to me only in Portuguese so it’s an immersion program.  PLUS my new LOTR Blu-rays have a Portuguese audio track - since I have those movies memorized, I won’t even need a translator!
9. Hah no. This is like a mondo beyondo goal- something I really don’t believe I can do but will push myself toward anyway.  Obviously this goal is a little vague but I’ll work out some steps to reach this.  Maybe my November goal could be to come up with the steps to do this?
10. Really needs to be done to prevent custody battles over our sweet Loki - I’m sure everyone would want him if we both died!

I’ll do a status post in a few months and we’ll see how this goes.  You can yell at me if I fail!


Easing Into Catching Up
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Yesterday on Twitter I posted a link to an old LJ post (the first time I ever mentioned Twilight, all the way back in 2006 - I disliked it before disliking it was cool!) and I realized how nice/amusing it is to reread old posts.  It's like a diary and time capsule and I really want to get back into it!  So here's my first post in months.

I've mostly stopped writing on here because I have no idea what to write about.  The day-to-day boring minutiae end up on Twitter (@barnswallowkate - let me know if you're on Twitter so I can follow you!), my photos go on Picasa, and my book reviews go on Goodreads (click that and come be my friend there!). All of those sites require a lot less writing so I guess I've been taking the easy way out.

Plus, not much has been going on in my life over the past year.  Things with Carlos are pretty much the same as they were before we got married.  I'm still working at the same company, although I did switch around to a few different programs this year.  We hadn't even worked on the house until recently.  Everything happening in the world depresses me so I don't want to write about that either.  I’ll just try to recap a few slightly-non-boring things from the past year.

Some good things, one sad thing, a few trips and hikes.Collapse )

So there is a not-actually-all-that-short summary of what I've been up to.  I warmed up my blogging muscles and I will try really hard to keep up with this! I've found a lot of you on Twitter and have tried to catch up on most of your LJs as well, but let me know if I missed anything big in the past few months.


Website Tips for Wedding Photographers
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One of the most important parts of our wedding (to me) was having pictures to remember it by. So I spent a decent amount of time looking online for a wedding photographer.  I found so many websites that I wished I could fix, but since I can't, I'm making this list instead! Obviously these are just the opinions of one customer, but I am sure other people will back me up on some of them.

Also, this is all assuming you already have a website for your wedding photography business. If you don't, I don't know how you are getting work! Get on the internet!!

1. Go easy on the Flash. Yes, OK, me having an iPhone is my problem, not yours.  But even on my real computer, elaborate transitions between pictures can get really annoying.  If I am trying to run through 100 pictures in an album and it takes 5 seconds just to go from one picture to the next, I am going to get tired and stop.  And in your galleries, don't make me hunt around for the "Next" button by hiding it until I mouse over some magical spot.

2. For the love of God, no auto-playing music! This wasn't cool on Myspace in 2004 and it isn't cool now.  Think of your poor customer!  Maybe I'm watching Doctor Who while I look for a photographer and now there's jazz coming from the TARDIS and it's confusing.  Maybe my cat is on my lap and when I open your page he's startled by the music and runs away and now I'm bleeding.  If you really think your photos need musical enhancement to get the right emotional reaction, have optional music that the viewer can turn on.  Then see how often it actually gets turned on.

3. If you're cagey about your pricing, I assume I can't afford you.  This may be your goal.  If not, at least give me a base price.

4. Need input!  I am nervous about screwing up this important aspect of my wedding.  I will be reassured if you tell me about your experience, why you are a wedding photographer, and what the process will involve.  Answer some FAQs or walk me through an example wedding day from your perspective.  This may just be me, but I like photographers' blogs because I get a sense of them as a person.  I see their photographic skills in non-wedding situations, how actively they are out taking pictures, and if they share articles or tips that show they know what they're doing.

5. This is your resume.
No typos, no grammar errors.

The photographer I went with (Edward Underwood) had a very non-annoying website.  Of course I picked him because I liked his pictures, but the website was a plus!