Monthly Archives: June 2013

Camera Envy

I think when I look back on this past year, one of my biggest regrets will involve Costco. I got my membership last summer after being convinced that was the best place for buying diapers. (Little did I know that my baby would be big enough at 4 months old for his big brother’s cloth diapers, purchased for Jack just before he turned 1 year). I always need emotional support for Costco because I don’t feel yet like I’m officially part of the club. Sometimes I’d call my friend Molly just for advice before venturing onto those shiny, open, intimidating concrete floors.

In addition to mounds of diapers, I first purchased a Canon camera from Costco. Given the store’s reputation for quality products, I thought that despite the fact that it wasn’t the greatest camera on the market, it was still a safe (and affordable) bet. And yet, Oliver is now 10 months old, and I’ve only completed 4 pages in his scrapbook because my camera absolutely sucks. I wish I could go back in time, scrounge and pinch every single penny spent frivolously over the past year, and go buy a dependable camera. Not the kind that would bounce around inside my purse because even the best camera case can’t fully protect a piece of equipment from damage in there. My purse has sippy cups, wipes, and medicine in it regularly, and I’m usually digging through it while I’m driving, tossing every item in there a million times in response to questions or exclamations such as:

“Mom, I’m staaaaaaarving!!!!”

“Mam, could you have your card ready please?”

“Mom, Oliver is smearing snot everywhere!”

“(Insert Oliver’s fussy, whiny, get-me-outta-here fake cry that is only distracted by a toy or something crinkly)”

I need to be instantly prepared to respond to these crises, like I’m on a swat team. A camera for my purse has a better chance of surviving a trip through the washer and dryer than it does in my purse for a single day.*

No. I need a camera like my friends have. All of them. They all must have taken a Responsibility and Aesthetics course in college because they all have wonderful, big, hang-around-the-neck cameras that capture every blade of grass in the summer sprinkler fun time photo shoot. I, however, am still trying to take pictures with my Costco camera where half the photo is blurry and too shiny, so I have to stand a hundred feet away, put the adorable child in the upper left corner of the picture display, and hope that after the camera clicks, there might be a portion of an image worth saving. So sad considering how adorable my children really are. Even sadder for Oliver’s scrapbook which may have a third of the pages that his brother’s does. (It’s okay, Ollie. I’m a second child too.)

Still, I tried. These Spring/almost-Summer days have been so beautiful and my baby is growing so quickly; I couldn’t help but plop the Elmo-jammy-wearing child on the grass, strategically next to the red geraniums in our yard. Not the most successful photo shoot, but oh my goodness, he is still so precious. As luck would have it, the camera wouldn’t load pictures to the computer the first five times. Then the files were unreadable. Then the pictures were incompatible with wordpress. (Really??) I managed to get one picture. One precious picture.

I'll try to put my camera-envy to rest and perhaps save enough money to purchase a "I'm a mom by day and professional photographer by night" camera sometime soon.

Regardless of the terrible camera, the subjects are still worth oodling over.


*I actually am a snob about purses and purse organization in these years of motherhood where pacifiers, debit cards, toys, gum, and snacks--always snacks!--must be retrievable by the nanosecond. Even within this system, a camera still suffers.

Aprons and Apricots

This past Sunday, as usual, was grocery day. The last four years have taught me that grocery shopping itself may be the worst part of my life, as if every week, Sunday is April 14 and my taxes aren’t filed. The thought of starting Monday morning without a meal plan and the fruit drawer stocked with apples and apricots is debilitating. I’ve tried 3 online meal plans, special diets, categorizing meals by main course meats. I’ve subscribed to recipe magazines, dog-eared and post-it noted my cookbooks. I’ve used my own lists, grocery lists from mommy blogs and websites, and finally landed on the simplest go-to grocery list known to man (thanks to a funny company called Knock Knock).

I even left this fridge pad check-off system for second go-round with the emeals grocery list and meal planning system, but faithfully returned to the basic “ALL OUT OF” checklist. But I’ve also tested out grocery stores, bouncing from Meijer to Aldi to Costco to Save-a-lot to Nature’s Market and other local alternatives. Plus, I want to order from Country Life when I can, and Josh’s garden is sprouting veggies and fruit that will make it’s way into my recipes. And now… with the Farmer’s Market, I feel like I’m playing grocery pinball, trying to figure out a manageable way to feed my family and retrieve everything I need responsibly and without setting my hair on fire. After Jack was born, my role as homemaker started shifting the plates underneath the solid ground I was standing on, and cooking was no small part of that struggling transition. Becoming a good cook was never my goal. Maybe, I thought, when I’m a grandmother, I’ll get around to finally learning how to roll a pie crust. (But I did this just this week for quiche. Only the pie crust was whole wheat and was made with greek yogurt. Delish!) But I certainly never thought I’d find myself apron-wrapped at thirty years old with the kitchen being my home base in life.

But, here I am. And even though grocery shopping at this phase of life involves picking up diapers, wipes, and Angry Birds band-aids from the store, I now can say I LOVE the crisp grocery list I manage to put together every weekend, I love how dingy, crossed-off, and ripped they are by then end of the trip, and I’m loving the wild menus that these lists are reflecting. I finally can make my rounds through the grocery stores on nearly a schedule, and I can tell you exactly where to find spring roll wrappers in the International section. I know my whole wheat pizza dough recipe nearly by heart. I know precisely when to add pasta to a minestrone so it doesn’t overcook, and I can recognize the sound of a rolling boil. A few weeks back, for example, I tried a pineapple chicken salad recipe that I had at 3-year-old’s birthday party. To break away from our basic homemade pizzas, I folded my whole wheat dough over a spinach and ricotta mixture to make calzones instead. And I de-pitted and sliced the perfect, cold avocado and added it with sticky rice to my spring rolls.

It helps that I have extra people to feed these days. Not that cooking for my little family isn’t motivating (Josh loves good, healthy food too and Jack is finally–finally–becoming a somewhat well-rounded eater, and this kid spends half his life in his high chair).