A fresh start in a familiar place

Well hello there!

I haven’t written here on this blog in quite some time now. I used to post about motherhood and share some of my personal, everyday photography here, but as you can read in my last post, I made the decision that those things belong on my professional blog– that there wasn’t so much of separation between my daily life and my business, so it should just all be in one place.  So ever since May of last year I’ve been writing and posting over there, and also sharing lots of daily life tidbits on Instagram.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve begun a journey towards healing from years of almost daily migraines. I’ve shared a bit about the changes I’m making in my Instagram feed, but I was thinking maybe I should start a new blog to chronicle all of this. While I am definitely not an expert by any stretch, I’ve been passionate about health and nutrition topics for yeas, and have read a ton on the subject. I love creating new recipes and trying new things, and of course taking pictures of all of it, so why not share some of that? As I pondered a name for this hypothetical health/food/life-to-the-fullest blog, and began thinking of what the design would be like (because of course that is of utmost importance to design nerds like myself), it dawned on me to just start up again here.

Seeking Equipoise- seeking balance– is exactly what I am doing. When I named this blog, I was thinking balance in terms of life in general. Now I’m focusing on balance in my body through whole foods and healthy living. And it’s my hope and prayer that as I find that balance and bring my hormones and chemistry into harmony within my body, that the pain that plagues my days will be just a memory.

So welcome to Seeking Equipose, version 2.0!

A few months ago, my headaches had once again increased in frequency, so that I was in pain for at least part of nearly every day. Sometimes I’d go to bed with a migraine and wake up after a rest;ess night to find it still pounding away. I was tired, impatient, mentally foggy, and some days even depressed because of the constant pain.

My chronic headaches began when I was a teenager, and back then I had every test done, saw many different doctors and tried many different medications with various yucky side effects. Nothing was found to be specifically wrong with me, no apparent cause could be found, and nothing that was tried ever helped.

I turned 17 during my first year away at college (yes I was a just a baby), and a new doctor tried me on a strong, nasty medicine that made me feel drugged all the time but still didn’t help. After months of feeling that way, losing 12 pounds, and still having headaches, I decided that traditional western doctors and methods were not going to help me. I began seeing a chiropractor regularly, and ended up learning so much about health from her. Getting adjusted did decrease the frequency of my headaches, which I’ve been so grateful for, but it did not make them stop.

Over the eight years since then, I’ve lived with migraines. They’re an unwelcome part of my life. Sometimes they only come once or twice a week, but other times its every day. Late last year the frequency increased again, and I was busy being mom to my two boys and running a full time photography business. I pushed through the pain as best I could, as I couldn’t afford to succumb to it. But one day I just knew something had to give. There must be an answer; I simply can’t accept that all this pain has no cause. Both my chiropractor and my nutrition expert friend Liz advised that I keep a food journal and look for possible triggers. Then through Liz’s advice, I began an elimination diet. For at least the next three months I’m cutting dairy, gluten, and sugar out of my diet, to see if there is any difference once they’re fully out of my system. I’m also minimizing processed food, eating raw and juicing frequently, and following a routine of supplements that Liz recommended.

These are huge changes, made rather suddenly- especially after the crazy processed sugar fest of the holiday season! But it will we worth it, and I reached a point of desperation. One night after eating a piece of cake and just feeling terrible immediately, I realized how ridiculous it was for me to consume things that ruin my health and overall happiness, just because they taste good while I’m eating them. It’s simply not worth it. I decided then and there that I’ll give up whatever I need to in order to be free from this pain, because once I am I know that I’ll be a better mom, wife, and friend, a more focused business owner and artist, and just a much happier person.

So here I am, writing this to document my journey to a better, healthier life. I’m only weeks into this, and making new little changes all the time still. I’m still getting headaches of varying intensity daily, but I can already tell that my body feels healthier. On those rare headache-free days, I have so much more life and energy than I used to, and I’m tons more productive. Last week, as I was dancing with Seth in the living room, my husband commented that I’m a different person when I’m not hurting. It’s so true. I hope that those days are a preview of what every day will be like in the future!
I have no idea who out there will be interested in all of this, but I’m writing it for myself and for anyone who might be helped or inspired by it. If you decide to follow along or even join in a bit- welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!

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There is No Line

I started blogging when I was sixteen. I had just started college, and I met a few people who had Xanga sites. I liked the idea, and started one for myself. I wrote about my life, my spiritual journey, some poetry of sorts. I enjoyed sharing bits and pieces of my life with whoever might be interested. Eventually I stopped posting there. Soon after Manny and I got married, I started a little Blogger blog, which later became Seeking Equipoise. I blogged about my first pregnancy and my journey into motherhood, my reflections on balancing family and business… and now there is what you see before you.

During the last few years, I’ve also had a separate blog for my business. I didn’t necessarily keep them separate on purpose. I knew I should have one connected to my work, and I just continued to post here as I’d always done. But somewhere along the way, the lines began to blur. My work is my life is my work, and so on. It all gets photographed. But what gets posted where? Just because it of my own children rather than someone else’s doesn’t necessarily make it less professional. My hope is that there will be no difference in quality between my personal images and my client ones. They are all my work. And why shouldn’t my clients get to know me, and see my everyday life and read my random thoughts, if they wish to? In fact, I want to my clients to see all that, because I am my business. This is a one-woman operation, and as much as I am hired for my work and my style, I am hired for me. The personal connection with each person I photograph is so incredibly important. The personal aspect isn’t a lack of professionalism- it’s an acknowledgment that the only thing that makes my business unique from any other photographer is me. The way I see things, my vision and voice, and my personality. Who I am as person and how I see the world are inseparable from who I am as a photographer and how I run my business, tell peoples stories, and interact with my clients.

In short, it no longer feels right to separate “personal” and “business” on my blogs when there is no true separation in reality. So this week I migrated all of this year’s Seeking Equipoise posts to my photoblog, and from now on all new posts will be there. I’ll admit that I feel a bit of nostalgia about leaving Seeking Equipoise. It’s been like a comfortable old friend for so long. (Silly? I know.) Anywhere I’m posting will undoubtedly be mine in the same way this has been. I’m planning to keep this site up for archive’s sake. If you’re a regular reader I do you hope you’ll follow me over to the HMP blog (and add it to your feedreader, etc.) Much love, and see you over there!

(Obviously the above photo, from a recent beach visit, is unrelated to this post. I just can’t stand to blog without at least one image in the post.)

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Renee & Jeremy {Kids Music}

We love music around here. For the most part, we haven’t sought out albums that are specifically for kids. Seth has always listened to the things we like- from my soulful indie tunes to my husband’s electronic instrumentals. When he was a baby there was a period of time when the only way I could get him to sleep at night was to wear him in the Ergo while playing “his”, which consisted of Bob Marley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Coldplay, and finished off with his favorite: Hey Oh by the Chili Peppers. I’ve played a few kid-specific things for him, like some Raffi faves from my own childhood (Baby Beluga, anyone?) and Jack Johnson’s kid album. But usually he enjoys our “grown-up” tunes.

One day, though, I heard a sample of kids music by Renee and Jeremy, and I loved what I heard. I ended up purchasing both of their albums- C’Mon, which is full of upbeat dance-worthy tunes, and It’s a Big World, which is softer and lullaby-esque. We have enjoyed these two so, so much around here. They are not the least bit annoying like some kids music could be. I actually very much enjoy listening to the sweet tunes and beautiful harmony of their voices. I don’t mind getting these sings stuck in my head for the rest of the day : ) And Seth adores them- they are perfect for impromptu living room dance parties and chilling out on long car rides. The lyrics are so great, too- full of really positive messages about things like love and sharing.

They just came out with a brand new album, A Little Love, which I happily added to our collection. It features Renee & Jeremy-style covers of songs by Coldplay, REM, Supertramp, John Lennon, and Yael Naim. It’s really fun.

This is Seth and I dancing to C’Mon, the day before I went into labor with Isaac at 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant. I think I was trying to dance the baby out- maybe it worked?!

{I just wanted to share this find with you. I am in no way affiliated with Renee & Jeremy, though I’d bet that they’re a couple of really cool people.}

You can listen to samples of- and purchase- their music on their website. They also have some fun little music videos.

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This Was the Week {no.5}

I changed the name of these posts from “This Week via Instagram”, to “This Was the Week”, just in case I end up feeling limited to only Instagram photos. Maybe I’ll share other photos and fun finds, etc. as well. Anyway… this was the week…

The first half looked pretty much like this:

So we cuddled at home a lot, sometimes getting a bit cabin-feverish.

We made yummy snacks- like smoothies, healthy cookies, and kettle corn.
The smoothie above is a recipe posted by my friend Bree. Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana. : ) It’s been a big hit around here.
Seth has been so eager to help me in the kitchen, and I’m finding that if he helps make something he’s a lot more likely to try it. (Usually he is a pretty picky eater but we’re working on it.)

One day we went to a park near the beach.
It was really windy and we got rained out, but just seeing the ocean briefly was exactly what I needed to get through that day.

And of course, the days are pretty much ruled by the littlest member of the family.
Sometimes I think I can hardly stand the cuteness- it’s overwhelming.

A few other things of note this week…

Simple Living Media has a great new blog, Simple Design, which I love already. Tomorrow they’re starting a “show us your thrift haul” linkup, which I think is an excellent excuse to browse a few thrift shops very soon.

25 Rules for Mothers of Sons by Tabitha Studer. I found this on Pinterest,  and I know I’ll be going back to it again and again.

Homemade Spring Cleaning Products on Design Sponge

On my mind:

Outdoor activities for Seth in our backyard- thinking about ways to create a better outdoor play space.

How to keep Seth from hurting the baby without saying “no” every three seconds. He has so much 3-year-old boy energy, which can quickly get out of hand.

I’m hoping to finally find time to start going through our closets, drawers, etc. and simplifying our lives. Too much stuff is toxic. I’m slowly making my way through Organized Simplicity, which is really helpful and definitely inspiring for a simpler existence.

What have you been doing and enjoying this week?
I hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

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Better Than Nothing.

Well, hello May. umm… what the heck happened? I was still getting used to it being April, and now it’s May… 4th? My baby was officially two months old yesterday. {Please let me stop time for just a while. Please?!?}

I keep trying to do a big post with a ton of photos from April. There are pictures from Easter, from a visit with cousins, from random everyday moments when I actually grabbed my big camera rather than my iPhone. But I have had to come to terms with the fact that that post simply isn’t going to happen right now. Every time I sit down thinking I might have a chance to edit them, the chance is gone before it has even started. Such is life with a 2 month old and a 3 year old. Nonstop, I tell you.

I don’t often turn my computer on until evening lately. If I do, I usually regret it, as it tends to it end in frustration for everyone. Right now my days are best spent immersed in real life with my family. They need my undivided attention. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So instead of waiting until I have time to show you all of April,
I figured a few is better than nothing.

More soon,
or eventually.

xo

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Last Week {via Instagram}

This week was full.
Full of growth, love, laughter, family.
We stayed busy. We played. We got things done.

There was heat and sunshine, rain and chilly days- all in the same week.
Spring in South Florida, indeed.

above:
cloth diaper cuteness | sweet silly big boy | bubbley smiley baby
morning coffee | morning kiddos | at the park
below:
evening sky | a fave magazine | new plants on my deck

We went to the beach late one afternoon. It was Isaac’s first time- I had so been looking forward to introducing him to the ocean.

small pleasures: bits of joy that made me so thankful this week…
mornings in the back yard | fresh carrot juice | drying diapers in the sun
stringy grilled cheese lunch | a new roll of film loaded
best.mocha.ever | sun tea | driving with the windows down

visiting daddy at work | sink bath
driving to visit my family | trying a new (to me) photo app | family walks

I feel like life is taking on a feel of some normalcy- a new normal.
Sometimes I feel like we’re doing so well, and other times I feel completely overwhelmed.
But that is life. And it’s always beautiful.
I’m learning more every day- about managing my time, about patience, and about just letting go.
Being organized, but not freaking out if things don’t go as planned.

How was last week for you?
I hope your Monday is bright!

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This week {via Instagram}

Oh, it was one of those weeks. You know the ones. The best part about it is that it has finally come to end. I lacked in both sleep and patience, and spent most of the last several days with a splitting headache which, of course, didn’t help the patience issue. Sometimes being 3, and being the parent of a 3 year old, is kind of rough. But we made it. And there were truly good moments. I love my phone for always being available to capture them, and then later remind me that they existed. These moments keep me sane and grateful and being so much joy to my life even on harder days.

my boys playing on the floor together // ezekiel bread with almond butter and strawberries // catching a glimpse of Isaac in my rearveiw mirror // my boys snuggling with their great grandmother (they still have three great grandmas- so thankful for that) // chevron pj’s and afgan made by my grandma // major smiles from this guy, all the time now // cooking with herbs I grew myself // planting new ones in the yard // taking a shower, being alone with my thoughts for a while (even if it’s a short while)

Seth is spending the night at Grandma’s house tonight, so for the afternoon it’s just me and baby and a much quieter house. Manny will be home from work in an hour and we’ll eat dinner, watch a movie, and most likely stuff ourselves with homemade kettle corn. (Since I learned how to make it, we can’t seem get enough of the stuff. We may need a popcorn intervention…) We were planning for the farmer’s market tomorrow morning but this is turning out to be a grey and rainy weekend so it may just be a lazy, snuggly type of day instead.

How are you spending your evening? your Sunday?
Whatever it is, I hope it’s wonderful.

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Breakfast Quinoa

In these first weeks as a mom of two I’ve been learning that in order to eat the way I want (whole, unprocessed foods, mostly plant-based), I must prepare in advance. I try to make things for the week when Manny is home from work, including basics like grains and beans, and snacks that are easy to grab during the day.

One of my staples is quinoa. I love it, and usually try to have a batch cooked and ready in the fridge. I’ll pull it out to top a salad, or eat with sautéed veggies or as a quick side for dinner. It’s pretty awesome stuff.

Even if you don’t cook it ahead of time, it is a pretty quick food to prepare.
Just combine 2 cups of water per 1 cup of quinoa in a saucepan. {I rinse my quinoa in a fine strainer first to get  rid of any residual bitterness that might be left.}
Bring it to a boil. Then turn it to low and let it simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
And done.

I’ve been dressing it up a bit for breakfast lately, like this:

Breakfast Quinoa

Combine 1 cup of rinsed quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan, and set to high heat.

While this is heating, add in:
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped apple
pinch of salt
dashes of cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon
*all measurements approximate. adjust to tast. I’m one of those toss-it-in type of cooks :)

Once this comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low, cover, and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
Drizzle with some honey, and enjoy!

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A few interesting things about quinoa:
~ It has 14 grams of protein per serving, and is a complete protein on its own (unlike other grains).
~ Quinoa is actually a seed, and more closely related to beets and spinach than to grain species.
~ In its natural state, it has a bitter-tasting coating called saponin, which is removed for distribution as food. This saponin has been used in South American cultures as a soap, and as an antiseptic for skin injuries.

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