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What is 'A Nest for All Seasons???

Many of you are new to this blog, and I would love to formally introduce myself!  
If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you still might find out something new!
In any case, thanks for stopping by and I am glad to welcome you to A Nest for All Seasons!!

What is 'A Nest for All Seasons'?  Well, initially you will notice 4 subjects around here -- Food, Photography, DIY Design and Modern Garden Living.  What you might not notice at first is how closely tied my posts are to the passing seasons.  I live seasonally, with windows open and doors flung wide even when they shouldn't be, teas made from whatever happens to be growing in the garden each night, fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning.  ...but the regular old seasonal seasons isn't all there is to it.  As a mom living in the midst of 4 men, life can get difficult.  It gets dirty often, smelly always and there are seasons of life that make me want to simply throw in the towel.  There are other seasons of this life where everything is darn near perfect.  ...and I need to find grace and hope and humbleness in all of them.  That is the underlying story behind 'A Nest for All Seasons'.  You might not see the story at first, but read deeply enough -- all the words and everything between the lines -- and you will start to see the true nature of my nest for all seasons.


Who is Amy Renea?


I am Amy Renea and this is my blog!  Welcome!  I am a freelance writer, designer and editorial photographer, based in Hershey, PA.  I am a design writer for HOUZZ as well as a designer for Crafts Unleashed, while periodically writing and shooting for other clients.  You can see the full gamut HERE on the press page if you are nosy like me.  I always check out the credits pages on sites, don't you??  No?  Just me...ah well...  In any case,  I absolutely love what I do and can only hope to simply keep on keeping on!

I use photography to tell stories on my site.  One of my favorite stories to tell is the whisper of the garden.  I know gardening is kind of out of vogue, but I feel closest to God, closest to myself and calmer than ever when I am working or just resting in the garden.  It is my therapy, my creative outlet, my inspiration and I have embarked on a journey to convince all you girls that love Pottery Barn and adore babies, that gardening really is just the next step.




I am addicted to pinterest, but even moreso to Looksi and craftgawker.  Please tell me you have heard of  them??!

my craftgawker gallery

  I love submitting my posts  and waiting for them to pop up each day on the sites (and don't be fooled by the size of those galleries -  there have been MANY rejections!).
Then there is pinterest...I have had one project really light up on pinterest of my baby's little footprints.  You can see the how to BY CLICKING HERE!  


If you get tired of reading about home and garden, you can skip over to the DIY FOOD or do it yourself PHOTOGRAPHY sections.  Most of my posts on food and photography are full on tutorials or photojournals, and I love to feature guest posts, so shoot me an email at anestforallseasons@yahoo.com if you are interested in sharing!

I am a big supporter of new photographers and moms learning how to take beautiful photos of their children, so if you are an official MWAC, you might want to read THIS!  If you are new to photography I hope you peek at a couple posts and I even have FREE TEXTURES and the FREE Photoshop ACTIONS (!!!)  you can download!  ...and YES!  Free Photoshop Brushes are coming soon!!

One of my most popular photography posts was a simple how to on creating bokeh.  Break out the camera and learn how to make this effect!


All of my photography articles are published on my do it yourself photography page and if you look next door to the photography tab, you'll see the foodies tab!  I don't think I have to say much more than sweet tea and homemade mayo, do I?  (There is healthy stuff too - don't worry!)



For all you gardening folks though, I have to tell you that the DIY Gardening page is the best of the Nest!
Hundreds of ideas and articles!!!



Did I lose you?? Here is a recap!

DIY PHOTOGRAPHY
  
Now come say Hello and don't be shy, ok??









2011

The following are excerpts from Project 52, my year long attempt to capture our everydays.
I think I might only make it to 20...25 if we are lucky... 

19 of 52
We almost made it to 20, but just not quite ;)



You know, presents sometimes get a bad "wrap" when it comes to Christmas. You know...all the materialism and creating want in kids and generally encouraging greediness and all that.  ...and I agree...it can be a bit much.  In fact, the last few days have been spent attempting to rid the boys of I want, I need, I would like to put this toy on my list, I think this would be a great present...etc, etc, etc.  HOWEVER...going through photos of the present opening this year, I can't help but think that maybe the gifts ain't all that bad...

How often does that look of excitement and pure awesomeness happen??  (Well...too be honest...quite a bit...he gets that face when we give him saltines or craisins, but the chance to capture it is made available by an abundance of toys being opened by his bros across the room...)


...and these boys?  Check out that brotherly hug...and you should have heard the profuse thank yous.  Thanks yous to a brother who didn't quite want a bear hug at the moment, all over a 59 cent Hulk coloring book that said brother did not even pick out...but who cares about any of that.  The point is...I want my boys to hug and thank like this forever.  I want them to love on each other, love on their wives and their babies and be thankful for the smallest gifts.   ...and it can all start with a Hulk coloring book from Ollies...who knew...


So whether it is gift giving, gift buying, gift receiving or opening, I am thankful for all the gifts of Christmas -- even the commercial, greedy ones...

How was your greedy Christmas this year??


EIGHTEENTH of 52
first day of school



It was his first day of school.  
There were tears.  Unexpected emotion. 
I really don't quite know what I was feeling, which was odd for me.
I'm not sure he quite knew what he was feeling either...




Now that a few weeks have passed, he has settled right into his life in school...
...and I've settled into having afternoons free to work while the babies are sleeping...


What I still haven't gotten used to is that bus pulling away with my skinny little carrot top in tow.
I haven't gotten used to the feeling of independence he has now.  The pride he feels in being able to walk across the road himself.
I haven't gotten used to walking inside and feeling the silence in the house.  
I haven't gotten used to the daily emails from the PTO and the daily homework to wade through each afternoon.



I waited so long to write this post, because I didn't know what to feel.
I still don't know what I feel.
All I know is that I feel strongly.
I feel a lot of heart tugging when that bus pulls away each day.
Perhaps I can't describe it because it is just simple.
I guess a lot of it is just love.  I feel love.
The rest?  Maybe someday I'll figure it out...






SEVENTEENTH of 52
our everyday

It always starts off the same...a little coffee...a little art...a lot of teeth brushing, hair slicking and yogurt eating -- those are the themes of our mornings.  The bigger boys now wait eagerly for and skip off to school while wee one and I have an unprecedented amount of time alone together.  After the whirlwind of kiddos in the afternoon, the stampede to meet Daddy at the door, the rush to get the entire dinner on the table before the boys have finished their plates, the kids play for hours until the sun sets.  Hours of dirt and sand and sweat and water and hopefully no poo (critter, creature of bebe).  There were days when we could skip baths and simply have a "pool bath" this summer, but those days are no longer and the nightly baths are essential if our home is not to smell like a cattle barn.  So I clean the kitchen while Alex bathes the kids and we both think we have the better part of the deal.  Of course, after bath is night time, but those bigger boys can never quite go to sleep at 9:00, so there are many escapes, many little feet running across the floor, many announcements of what new structure has been built, of notes they have written and of noises they have heard.  This night, the escaping was encouraged and we made true photography - we wrote with light.  The day ends and I start to look through the photos of the day...and the one that makes the most sense...that says everything about our life in these days is of me, my dirty white tank top on that I slept in, holding a naked baby bum with the news of flooding on in the background.  That was our day...our 10 on 10...our everyday...






SIXTEENTH of 52
ALL BOY - A wordless issue...





FIFTEENTH of 52
The Sands of Mommy Time


To every thing there is a season, 
and a time to every purpose under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1


"Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that's dynamic and expressive--that's what's good for you if you're at all serious in your aims. William Saroyan wrote a great play on this theme, that purity of heart is the one success worth having. "In the time of your life--live!" That time is short and it doesn't return again. It is slipping away while I write this and while you read it, the monosyllable of the clock is Loss, loss, loss, unless you devote your heart to its opposition."
                                                                                                                                                                                                   — Tennessee Williams
 

Do you ever wonder if pursuing art and pursuing your children are mutually exclusive?  It sometimes feels like trying to think creatively is impossible in a house full of babes.  It sometimes feels like the the need to create hinders the needs of nurture.  It must be possible to have both, but the balance is so difficult to find...everyone from every side is screaming to not miss a moment...to live in the now...to capture every fleeting second...but some are bound to be lost when you blink.  How can one breathe in every moment when you can't even breathe?   How is it possible to love fully and also create fully?  Career vs. family.  Needs vs. Time.  How do you fight the battle of balance?



Funny, you can hold it in your hand,
And never knew 'cause you're afraid to play  
And you can feel your dreams softly slipping through your fingers  
Till they're so far away



Sitting there surrounded by your many life's possessions 
Feeling so much more than all the load  
You realized you've learned one more of living's many lessons 
Love's worth more than all you'll ever own
Songwriters: Robert Morrison;Fred Aylor Mac Rae









FOURTEENTH of 52
...the bestest ever place to watch fireworks..



We had to lay on our backs to watch the explosion of fireworks on the 4th.
We were joined by maybe only 100 other people on our little private hill.
...AND we were just far enough away that no ash spilled on us.

PERFECT SPOT for watching fireworks...
...and I'm not going to share my secret spot because it will get all crowded and not perfect anymore, 
but I promise bloggy and real friends, if you visit Hershey on the 4th of July next year, I will bring you with us!

That night the camera stayed home...sometimes I seperate myself from the lens to make sure I sit back and  
live the memories instead of just recording them...
earlier that day however...






THIRTEENTH of 52
Father's Day


That was then and this is now...they are growing into Daddy's shirts way, way too quickly...




I barely kept the shirt on Hank this year and ended up just throwing it over his head for a couple photos...sadly, while playing 
peek a boo with the shirt, he bumped his lip against the crib (you can see a tiny bit of blood :( and the game ended.  Happily, a nuk solved all ills.


Happy Father's Day Daddo!!!





TWELVTH of 52 
Coolness

How can kids be so cool when their parents are decidedly NOT?






ELEVENTH of 52
...the View from Down Here


So last week, I got DOWN ON THE FLOOR and took photos of my normal perspective.   This week I decided to do the same.  This is what I found...



the culprit?







I could act like I am surprised, but the truth is, I keep a box of tissues placed at baby height just for this purpose.  
When he's finished pulling them all out, they all go right back into the box...and the real tissues stay safe :)

I guess the saying is true...  
Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.
{Denis Waitley}


 


TENTH of 52
the Story of Shoes


Not so much lifestyle photography as much as lifestyle symbolism this week....


Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.



You cannot put the same shoe on every foot.
Publilius Syrus


The real leader has no need to lead - he is content to point the way.
Henry Miller




Home is where one starts from.
T. S. Eliot



Our task, regarding creativity, is to help children climb their own mountains, 
as high as possible. No one can do more.     ~Loris Malaguzzi



There's a magical tie to the land of our home, which the heart cannot break, 
though the footsteps may roam.     ~Eliza Cook


and finally....
Basically, I believe the world is a jungle, and if it's not a bit of a jungle in the home, a child cannot possibly be fit to enter the outside world.
Bette Davis
 
Shawna and I must have been thinking along the same lines because our posts are shoe-centric this week :) 
CHECK HER OUT HERE along with others joining in on this 52 week project.

Find more quotes and photo linkups at FRESH MOMMY , The sunday Creative, the simple things, and  Sunday Snapshot!




NINTH of 52
...TV watching at its best..



Say what you will, 
sometimes a good hour of Sesame Street does a mommy good...
and how about the brotherly love climbing into and hanging out with their little bro in his playpen...warms my heart...




EIGHTH of 52
...at our best looking our worst...

well...at least I am looking my worst....still in pjs...still hanging onto baby chub...but loving on my T...he's cute isn't he?


I love when he looks at me like that...



SEVENTH of 52


I have a love-hate relationship with Daddo doing the dishes...




SIXTH of 52

We call this pose "strong baby"....not sure what we should call those crossed feet...


FIFTH of 52

He was supposed to be taking his snow clothes off to come inside, 
but the lure of a couple action figurines was too much to bear:  
They had to go into battle NOW!

Meanwhile, all was calm on the homefront, 
but forces were waiting in preparation for whatever might strike while they were 
taking their morning nap.  You can never be too prepared.


This one just enjoyed the company...





FOURTH of 52


Note the concerned brother in the background...  :)


THIRD of 52


THIRD of 52
daddo and his boys...Happy Birthday! :)



SECOND of 52


These boys LOVE each other, but man do they love stealing from each other. It's unreal. 
Hopefully there will never be stealing of girls, only footballs, right?

SECOND of 52

This is an outtake from THIS SHOOT!




FIRST of 52


FIRST of 52
This is my first entry into the 52 week lifestyle photography challenge led by Rosina.  Check it out!  Join!  The boys spend so much time at this table; playing, eating, climbing, rolling cars...etc etc.  This photo represents a day in the (sometimes boring) life we lead.  This day, we were making Scrabble Art.  After posting, I realized that the following photo might represent our life a bit better...

If you can't tell, that is a flashlight on the fridge.  If you look closely, you'll notice it is pointed directly at dear baby.  He is not happy.  He wishes his eldest brother would be a bit nicer to him sometimes. :)





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