Thursday, March 29, 2012


I remember shortly before Harlow turned 4, I gave her a hug and held her tight, trying to memorize the tiny details of who she was in that moment: The still slightly rounded baby cheeks, the curly hair that was steadily working its way past her shoulders, the Bryce obsession.  I wanted to soak her in, knowing that the coming year was going to bring so many changes.

And then I'm sure the baby in my belly gave a huge roundhouse to the bladder or I sat down to ease off my sciatica and the moment was gone. The sibling arrived, we were off to the races, and *blink* here we are a year later.

I was so afraid 2012 would just be a hazy blur of sleep deprivation and breastfeeding and diapers and oh yeah, there's this other kid I'm supposed to parent, and... yes. 2012 has played out almost exactly like that. But there's been so many moments of quiet grace. Or really, motherf**king LOUD grace, because there is nothing quiet about 2 children strapped into the backseat of the car for 7 hours singing  a duet that ends in AHHHHHHEEEEEEEE!!! I say grace because Harlow loves her brother with such a purity that it just awes me. So often someone will observe her spontaneous songs to him, her smothering him with kisses and hugs, and they'll comment to the like of "just wait a few years when they hate each other." That was often me making the same comment. But I think sometimes it was to downplay what I was seeing. Isn't it our snarky, critical nature to bat away naked, pure sentiment before it gets too close to our ooey gooey center?

This coming from the person who sobbed this morning watching a video of a giraffe giving birth.

Harlow told her Nana about a dream she had about Declan, that she was frustrated that he didn't look quite the way she remembered because "he's too cute" and her love for him was too strong. Maybe she will hate him when she's a teenager, but right now she is his biggest fan, and I think that's quite remarkable.

What is also remarkable is that it is well past midnight and I still have to pack because yes, mama is leaving on baby girl's birthday. I will write more when I can do so on something slightly less eye stabby-ing than a phone, because this blogging from a handheld is for the birds. And people with tiny fingers. When I get back, there will be more about my beautiful, amazing five year old girl...written on a nearly six year old, newly updated laptop.

So until then, happy birthday my sunny, glorious, amazing human sparkler. The world is simply a better place with you in it.

The Great Crash of 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What moron in 2012 has their hard drive crash and not have their shit backed up?

This moron.

In my defense, I thought I was backed up. I was told to go to the Cloud, and like a good little duckling, I did as told. Except it wasn't my actual internal computer's hard drive I'd synced but an external one, and that fucker died and took many, many hostages with it. Tens of thousands of photos. Music. Videos of my babies. 2 years of my life just blinked out with the touch of a button *. I would be on the floor, a sobby mess, if not for my computer guru who is working some seriously dark magic to bring back my computer from the dead.

But if a silver lining can be found in the wreckage, I've been sifting through thumbnails cobbled together from the past 2 years - in many cases even longer - and I've been kind of startled to realize just how much I like my life. This year won't rank as one of my favorites, so I've been prone to be a bit glum. Nearly a year spent hibernating with my baby has left me isolated, depressed and way too much in my head. But that's not what those thumbnails showed me. I have an awesome life. I need to show a little respect. I've met so many amazing people and seen some fascinating places. And even if I don't get those memories back, fully restored, I'm grateful for the glimpse. The reminder to be grateful.

And to back that shit UP!

* current clients have nothing to fear as all proofs are backed up on a site far, far away from my gimpy one

11 Months

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Oh, second kid. Already fewer photos, fewer posts, fewer nights of sleep.

Oh maybe that's why there's fewer of everything.

But these past 3 weeks you've made us wonder if you've finally turned a corner. You're sleeping in 7-8 hour stretches, just in time for us to go out of town and royally F your schedule all up. But the road calls, little dude. Suburban Atlanta ftw!

For the baby book - you crawled up those crazy stairs today all the way to the top for the first time. You are officially cruising from crayon-laden coffee table to glass front bar to cable-ridden desk, helpfully pointing out the myriad ways we've failed to babyproof. You play peekaboo with a fedora, point and wave at the ceiling fan like he's your father, laugh at your sister and shriek at me if I fail to shovel food down your gullet when in it's time to eat. Like, I may have permanent hearing damage from the shriekage. Good god you don't like it when it's time to stop eating. This only confirms you are my child, but STILL.

Most people upon hearing your name think you are Duckling. With your fuzzy old man mullet, you kinda resemble one. You are still so sweet and sunshine-y and happy it makes my heart break upon every time I pick you up. Unless you do the screamy-shriek - make mommy go deaf thing and I want to dine with you wearing those noise canceling headphones you always see angry wannabe cops wearing in the movies while they shoot at practice targets.

But otherwise, sunshine and happiness. Sunshine and happiness.



Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I had the pleasure of photographing this wee gentleman a few sunny weekends back. Only one and already rocking some serious haberdashery style. Cuteness!







Monday, March 5, 2012

A better look at the Melissa conceived/Caleb actualized dream stairs!


The dreamhouse

It's been a long work in progress, y'all. Serious blood, sweat and tears (his sweat, my tears, Harlow's bloody, scraped up knees) have shed in the process of transforming this former dark, grungy workshop into a home that felt not only like us but stood as a testament to Caleb's old world, hands-on ethos. There's still work to be done (what house is ever finished?) but I think we're reached a good, comfortable place. And because the local paper came out to do a story on Caleb's work, you are never going to see this joint as clean as this again. Here's a sneak peek of the transformation!

living room




I am a writer

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dept. of Signs

I've found lately that when I am introduced to someone new, I'm always introduced as photographer Melissa Sweazy. I'm proud to be a shooter and to be known as one, but honestly, it still makes me feel strange as I always have and always will identify myself as a writer, first and foremost.

On some days, I'm probably just as qualified to announce myself as a neurosurgeon than as a writer. The procrastination I've struggled with since high school still dogs me. I am the queen of starting huge, sprawling epics and then getting burned out or scared and starting something else. I literally have thousands of pages of unfinished screenplays, novels and short stories that once made me proud but now just as often feel like a big, fat, weight emblazoned with FAILURE. The works I have finished have accumulated so many rejection slips that I the manila envelope I keep for them can barely stay shut.

I think DAILY of giving up. I often long to give up, to turn off the stories in my head, take up a new hobby, meditate. Move on.

But then this happened.

I won.

I never win, y'all. I've come in second so many times that "almost" good enough felt like the label I was supposed to own.

But The Department of Signs and Magical Intervention won the grand prize in the short screenplay competition at the upcoming Vail Film Festival. I'll fly out for 3 days of schmoozing and movie watching, culminating with a staged reading of the screenplay for the festival audience.

I have had years of training in deflection, in making myself okay with not winning that I'm still having trouble processing - and accepting - their decision. But as the festival approaches, I can't deny the excitement that's building, the gratitude that buoys me - and the almost paralyzing fear over how - and what - to rewrite and have ready in time for the festival. Because you are only as good as your next hit, right?

So if I'm not around, I'm writing. Or doing the crossword. Definitely not succumbing to Words with Friends. Or maybe just dead from sheer, flat out excitement.

I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now back to denial.

Ding dong, the conference is done

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's a national holiday, here at Casa Sweazy. The past several months have been building to the Folk Allliance's final conference in Memphis, and as part of Caleb's job, he had to disappear like some black ops solider on a top secret mission, if, you know, black ops meant helping Folkies find the afternoon panel on How to Build a Better Ukelele. In all seriousness, it was an excellent conference with amazing music and I'm sad for Memphis it will no longer be here, but good God I am happy to have my husband back home.

It was a rough week.

Home Alone
by: medusahead


I had such plans for this week on the blog. Lots of exciting things are happening here at Casa Sweazy, the most recent being the return of Caleb after being abducted by the Folk Alliance for an entire week. We're all still readjusting (and celebrating) after his return, so yeah, I don't have much for you (except a deep, mad respect for single moms. You are amazing.)

But here's a little sneak peek into one of the changes here. More to come!