Photo101: Big

snow pile, stop sign
Stop … snowing already

For the assignment called Big, here is an enormous pile of snow next to a stop sign. I crouched down to make it appear slightly bigger, but it was easily 10 feet tall. This was in the corner of a store parking lot.

Photo101: Connect

colorful plastic baby toys that connect
Connect with these toys

For the assignment called Connect, I used these simple toys. A bunch of these were handed down to me, and I think they are quite old.

Apart, together, and over and over again, these have been transformed into so many things. And that’s just been their short lives in my home.

My kids connect these toys, and these toys connect my kids to me when we use our imaginations and play pretend. We also share a connection with the previous owners, the kids whose hands and minds formed and reformed the toys in countless patterns and ways.

Photo101: Home

A rose bush, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons.
Front to back, a rose bush, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons

For the assignment called Home, I’ll show you some trees and flowers that grow outside my apartment building. These were taken during last week’s snowstorm, so I’m asking you to look beyond the snow-covered branches and to see their potential. A home is a place where things grow, not simply live, and where potential is nourished so that it may blossom.

dogwood tree with snow on branches
A snowy dogwood tree

I’m pretty sure these bushes have little white flowers in the spring. I’ll keep an eye out. Won’t be long now.

bushes covered in snow, branches bending
Snowy branches bending

Photo101: Bliss

tree branches, snow, sky
Here is my intepretation of the assignment called “bliss.”

Walking under the snowy trees outside with the kids. Husband working from home because today brought what is sure to be the last snow storm of the winter. (I mean, it just has to be…right?)

It’s been snowing all day and it’s beautiful.

Chicken stock simmering. Plans to make chocolate chip cookies soon with my little helpers. Coats, scarves, and hats drying by the door.

Pretty blissful day for me.

Baking Muffins in Winter

blueberry muffins, crumb topping
Blueberry muffins with crumb topping

Baking always seems justified when it’s cold and snowy outside.

“It warms up the house,” I tell myself.

“It’s healthier than that prepackaged snack or cereal or anything else I bought from the store.”

I might doubt my logic slightly, but then remind myself, “But I use whole wheat flour and substitute maple syrup or honey for the white sugar.”

Or I’ll say, “Maybe one day they’ll like eating the zucchini without the surrounding sweetened bread. This is all part of the process, right?”

zucchini muffins, sparkling sugar
Zucchini muffins with sparkling sugar on top

My picky eaters make me crazy. I want them to enjoy a variety of foods and eat well-rounded meals, but their dietary repertoire at the moment consists of about 5 items.

Their doctor says that fighting with kids over food isn’t worth it, and that if they want to eat the same thing every day then let them, and that they will eventually come around. I’m getting impatient with that approach.

To try to solve the problem means constant self-doubt and a futile struggle with achieving¬† nutritional perfection at every meal. I don’t know why I expect them to suddenly start eating kale, quinoa, salmon, or even carrot sticks, but something tells me that today might be the day if I could only figure out the secret to making it happen. And later, after feeling like I’ve tried everything short of having their taste buds surgically altered to enjoy vegetables and meat, I accept the failure of today and look to the possibility of tomorrow.

Or, I stop thinking about it so much and just make muffins or something. At least it will help warm up the house.