37/52: Bokeh


"In photography, bokeh (Originally /ˈboʊkɛ/, /ˈboʊkeɪ/ BOH-kay — also sometimes pronounced as /ˈboʊkə/ BOH-kə, Japanese: [boke]) is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light"


Single hibiscus. Lovely bokeh.

26/52: Photog's Choice

This is your buddy, Harlan, boo boos. What a cutie, huh?!

Harlan is the very first friend you girls ever made (that is, other than mommy, daddy, and one another), when at just a couple weeks old - and you girls about one month old - his mommy and daddy brought him over for your first official play date. While the adults had fun, it wasn't all that exciting for you at the time. Boy have times changed!

Mommy went to grad school with Harlan's dad, Allen during the 2012-13 school year. It was during that one-year program our families discovered that both Harlan's mommy, Ginger, and I were expecting new additions -  within mere weeks of one another!

In the blink of an eye nearly two years have passed. Seeing your relationship develop from your infancy to your toddler-hood, has been simply fascinating. We had Harlan, Allen, and Ginger over for a farewell barbeque, as they are moving to Santa Cruz to begin a new chapter in their lives.

Looks like your guys' next play date will have to be on the beach!

25/52: Dancing

Ohhhh my Ruby girl,

We went out to see your cousins, Auntie Laura, and Uncle Marshall in Fresno back in May. Hazey was playing "Frozen" songs and even put the movie on one night. You have been OBSESSED (no exaggeration) ever since. Your favorite song, by far, is "Love is An Open Door," or, as you like to refer to it, "Door." You've begun to get the song stuck in your head and sometimes I'll peek over at you, reading or doing a puzzle, and you'll just start singing to yourself, "doooooo-or-or." I'll sing it to you while you're having breakfast and you fill in the blanks to all the words. Just too cute. 

Whenever I put the song actually ON you just lose it - twirling, clapping, stomping your feet; adding any number of self-choreographed moved each new time. Here you are, yesterday, in the backyard. Jammin' out as only my sweet, spunky Ruby tudes can. (Don't worry, lovebug, your arm wasn't disappearing - I just wanted you to see how smooth your moves were by slowing down the shutter speed).

I love you baby,


24/52: Sunset


Took my first look at this week's theme this afternoon, as I've had a busy week. Looked on my sun calc app and saw that sunset was at approximately 8:34 pm today. The girls go down right between 8-8:30 pm. So, I decided to take a stroll about an hour before sunset - 'cause there ain't no way momma is messing with bedtime!

I was focusing on this beautiful church's bell-tower just across the street from our place. When I kept walking down the street this solitary palm tree showed itself. It made me think of how giddy my siblings and I would get at the first sight of a palm tree while road tripping from our home in Washington down to California. Still have to pinch myself sometimes that this is right outside my door.

23/52: Rule Of Thirds

Vee Vee,

Whenever anyone asks me something like, "What makes your girls' distinct? How are their personalities different from one another?" I always, first of all, think to myself "What kind of question is that?! I mean seriously, how the heck am I supposed to answer that while standing in line at the grocery store (or wherever we may be)?!" Then I take a deep breath, in an effort to gather my abbreviated version of just what makes you and your sis unique little humans. Then I usually look at you and say, "Well, Vera here *while stroking your hair* she is our bashful one; she has to get to know you before she opens up. But, once she does, she's the biggest goof ever!"

Now, that may be true when it comes to you and about 95% of the people you meet. But, NOT with your Uncle Nick. I swear, Vee, you not only have been smitten with your Uncle from the first moment you met, but, he brings out a side to you that your daddy and I have never seen before. One time you sung and spun around in circles (aka dancing) for an entire song (and, believe me I KNOW you would have stopped would it have not been for your Uncle Nicky watching). Very impressive. 

Yesterday your Uncle came over to watch the (amazing!!!) Warrior's game. We played in the backyard for a little while before the game started and as usual, Vee, you were showing off your skills -- this time of sitting at your picnic table like a *big kid* --  for precious Uncle Nick.

I love you you cutie pie,


22/52: Shadows

Today the Warriors played a huge game.

My photo for this week originally was going to be one of the girls eating lunch at their picnic table in the backyard (as I hid *in the shadows*). Somehow, with the hoopla of the game and my absentmindedness, I misplaced this week’s original selection (I reeeeeally hope it reappears because the girls’ interactions when they are seemingly alone is too adorable to not share). So, here is a photo I decided to take today; not necessarily in lieu of the original, but, with the same intent; to be the subject within the shadows.

This is the view from our bathroom window.

20/52: Framed

Hazel, my 6-year-old niece, photographed here, had a carnival at her elementary school last Saturday. She found a trick to jumping extra high in the bouncy house.

Disclaimer: This was taken with the last eight days, not seven. But, I’d say it’s okay to break the rules sometimes.

16/52: Center Composition

Yesterday I did something that I rarely do. I strapped on my camera and purposefully (ON PURPOSE) headed to where I knew there would be crowds of peoples; The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. I know I live in Berkeley, but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself estranged from San Francisco enough to refer to myself as a tourist. Well, pathetically, I guess I was mistaken.

This weekend was the annual “ClickinWalk 2015.” This is a meetup activity put on by the popular women’s online photography community, Clickin Moms. As described in the info page, “ClickinWalk is an opportunity for women who know one another in the virtual world to come together in the physical world and bond with others who share their passion for photography.”

Pretty sweet, huh? Well, I’m sure it would have been, had I not gotten lost for the first 90 minutes I was there. Classic Melissa.

On the up side, though, I took that time to roam around, take a bunch of photos -- including this one in which I stood, primed to press the shutter for what felt like five minutes, waiting for this seagull to flap its wings -- and chat with a bunch of the sweet vendors at the market. Also, when I finally DID get my internal compass calibrated I had a chance to meet some very lovely fellow photo geeks. So, all in all, it was a good day.

15/52: Balance


Dear Lovebugs,

The moment your daddy and I discovered that we were going to have you both (at once!), we were thrilled and, believe it or not, relieved. As you know, your Auntie Michele and I are twins, and your Uncle Marshall and Uncle Marco are, too. So, we weren’t as surprised as others in the same circumstance may have been. But, that didn’t mean our jaws didn’t drop when the midwife, quite taken aback herself, asked me to “count the heartbeats” on the ultrasound monitor. It gives me goosebumps, even now, just thinking about that moment.

The several weeks leading up to that first ultrasound, I had experienced horrendous morning sickness; feeling extremely queasy all day; displeasing scents within what seemed like a mile of me setting me into fits of dry-heaving, resorting to shamelessly lying down on any stable surface as an attempt to calm the perpetual spinning in my head. You can ask your dad to tell you the stories about just how bad it got. At points in those first weeks of your gestation, I certainly asked myself, “How the hell do women do this more than once?!” No fun, to say the least. Yet, at that moment, when we discovered that all of that morning sickness was due to the fact that there were two of you -- and, more specifically two robust, life-giving placentas -- within me, I learned to embrace the discomfort, knowing that with every twinge of nausea was a sign of your further, healthy growth. In the cheesy, infamous words of John Mellencamp, it hurt so good. Bad, I know.

On the day you were born, once FINALLY in our arms, a new type of feeling overwhelmed me; fear. Not fear of being a good mother to you two. Not fear of being able to feed you two. More so, I feared that I would be able to strike the right balance when it came to dividing myself between the two of you. What if you both needed me -- to nurse, to wipe your tears, to stroke your head, to kiss your boo boos, to read your favorite story, to dance cheek to cheek, to go down the slide with -- at the same time, and, I simply couldn’t attend to those needs without hurting one of you by tending to your sister first?

I will say, in the last 19.5 months, some days it has been very difficult. But, really not as many as I had feared. You see, one thing I had taken for granted is the times that you two would, indeed, not need me whatsoever! For instance, a couple days ago, Vera, you were playing with one of your toy boxes and ended up dumping it out and climbing inside of it. I grabbed you one too, Ru, as you were giggling uncontrollably at your sis sitting in there. Needless to say, you two were blissfully unaware of mommy’s presence.

I love you silly girls,


14/52: Self-Portrait

Just for the record, I could have gone several more weeks -- forever, really-- without the “self-portrait” challenge.

When I first saw that self-portrait was this week’s assignment, I envisioned setting aside the time this weekend, in which Joe would take the girls out to the park, on a walk, whatever. The time to shower, do my hair. I’d attempt to feel beautiful and appear refreshed by applying foundation over the dark circles and curling my falsely darkened lashes. I’d set up the tripod, my shutter release timer. I’d set up a space with the best lighting in our home, compose myself, breathe deeply, and go for it.

Needless to say, this did not happen. I’m sure, at some other time and in some other space in my life, I would have relished the thought of being assigned to photograph myself. But, in this time and space, that TYPE of self-portrait is more daunting that I can fully comprehend. Not because of the girls, or the fact that Joe was not supportive. The time was certainly there. What I wanted for this self-portrait, after much contemplation, was to be an honest portrayal of what my everyday experience is.

So, here I am, at a local educational play center with my daughters and their grandparents (visiting the Bay Area last week for spring break). Vera and Ru had been painting at the easel and I thought I could get all of us in the reflection. They bolted off before I even had the camera in my grasp. Before chasing after (at least one of) them, I took this (hence the, “screw it, now is as good a time as any” expression). Now, THAT is an accurate portrayal of me at this time in life.