Softened and Filtered

I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled across the lovely Yuliya, who blogs over at She Suggests. Surely, I was introduced to her through someone on Twitter, because, well, where else would I have met her?

When I first visited her blog, I was swept away by her beautiful photography and her absolutely stunning baby girl.  I loved the clean design of her blog and her straightforwardness.

As I got to know Yuliya better, I came to see that she is vibrant and strong, cheeky and spirited, kind and lovely.

I suspected that we were meant to be friends. Then, when I had the pleasure of having lunch with her, I was certain of it.  Her magnetic personality immediately put me at ease, her wit delighted me, and our lunch passed far too quickly.

I am so thrilled to have Yuliya here on Small Moments Mondays.  She’s such a beautiful fit.

Softened and Filtered — by Yuliya

When the email came from Nichole asking if I would participate in Small Moments Mondays, I was elated. I was honored. I was humbled. I was immediately panic stricken. I wrote to her and told her the truth, that she would very likely regret asking me to do this as it would require lots of coddling, hand holding, editing and more editing. My reputation for my offbeat brand of humor must have preceded me, so perhaps she thought I was joking. Four hundred and seventeen emails later, she realized too late that I was dead serious.

Here’s what I learned in struggling to capture the essence and the beauty that is Small Moments Mondays, I am not a small moments kind of person.  When I was in the sixth grade I used to write out my goals for the school year- academic and extracurricular, yeah as far back as twelve I’ve been a big picture kind of person. I planned for motherhood the same way I planned out which college courses to take. My husband and I talked about the big picture kinds of things, the values we hoped to instill, the family dynamic we planned to create, even the first family vacation we might take!

After years of wishing and hoping and months of planning, I became a mom. And boy was it a rude awakening.

I’ll tell you a truth, an ugly truth, I was resentful.

I mean I was completely in love and everything but I had a baby that nursed more often than she slept and needed me, and only me, for months. The most I could do for myself was a daily shower, and even then she cried until I could hold her again. As she got older I hoped to carve out just a little time to myself, a moment to breathe, and so we had a constant push and pull, she had needs, I had needs and the two never seemed to sync up.

Until I stumbled upon my solution.

I noticed that each time I picked up my camera, my teeth unclenched, the team of people shouting out orders at me in my head quieted down (what? You don’t have those?) and I became fully absorbed in what was happening, in the moment.

I used my camera as my crutch, every time I felt frustrated that I couldn’t start dinner because she wouldn’t let me out of her sight, or I couldn’t veg out in front of the TV because she needed to nurse again, I would pick up my camera, and force myself to be present.

I would open the lens cover and offer myself up to the possibility of wonder.

I would focus on the frame and witness my baby discovering her world right in front of me.

I would zoom in on her ever changing face, and instead of saying “no” “don’t” and “stop it,” I would “click” “click” and “click” again.

This is how I discovered the zen of chasing a spoon across the kitchen floor,

the tao of licking the underside of the couch, crawling inside a grocery bag, and finding treasure amidst the table legs.

The state of enlightenment that can only be achieved when you allow your curious 11 month old to pull out every single item perched atop the bookshelf.

Without my camera, I am a frenzied yoga pants clad mom whose house is never quite clean enough for company to pop in on.

With it, I am super woman (huzzah!) effortlessly balancing the capturing of memories with the monotonous, monster task of mothering.

Without my camera, she is mischievous, curious, and an absolute impediment to running that tight ship I dreamed of.

With it…..she’s exactly the same, but softened, filtered, with a warm glow, and with this mama’s patience adjusted.

And at least this way I have an arsenal of embarrassing pictures to ease us through those teenager years. (Told you I think big picture!)

Now that you’ve had a taste of who Yuliya is, go visit her over at She Suggests and gaze at the photographic eye candy. So lovely. While you’re there, don’t miss the clever Perils of Parenting, the candid 365 ways to taunt a perfectionist, and the contemplative The Next Generation.

You can also find Yuliya on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Sherri

    I knew you were taking about Yuliya the moment I saw your tweet! This is wonderful, vintage Yuliya…so sweet and warm, with that funny twist. I can't remember how I found her either, but she is all sorts of awesome and I hope to see her in person again one day to soak up that humor and warmth….and hope she brings that yummy baby!

    I love that the camera is such a big part of your life. You do amazing things with it, my friend.

  2. Yuliya

    Eek! I'm here! On Small Moments Mondays! I would like to thank the academy, and my husband and…um I feel like I'm forgetting someone….I am truly thrilled to be here, I don't know what wonderous chain of events led me to the magic that is this blog and it's gifted writer but thank you universe.

    I almost forgot NICHOLE! Nichole, thank you. Your support and kindness mean so much to me.

  3. 30ish Mama

    Small Moments Mondays is such a great idea and I am looking forward to it — finally something nice on Mondays. I really enjoyed Yuliya's post, it was so relatable and the photos are spectacular. It's always great to find another blog!

  4. This is perfect.

    Because sometimes…thinkingnursingtidyingsearchingsingingwalkingsoothingchanging short circuits our ability to remember, "Now. Be here now. Think about now."

    And if a camera brings the instant of this very moment into focus along with that beautiful little girl…

    Then walk with a crutch, darling woman. We care not at all.

  5. Alexandra174


    How could you not love Yuliya.

    I followed Yuliya home after I laughed out loud at a comment she left at Chalupa's.

    She is wonderful.

    So very special, sweet, real, unique, generous, sincere.

    Gushing and drooling now, but you know, I love Yuliya…so.


    Great post, girl, I love that you're here and offer your special perspective. You always do it, with a twist.

    I hope I meet you in Madison!

  6. Amber

    I'm so glad that you've found a way to shift your perspective.

    Also, I can promise you that it really does get easier. It takes a while, it's true. I remember very well feeling resentful and trapped by my daughter. She'll be 6 years old next month, and things are very different now. And in retrospect, it feels like the time flew by. The way things are now is really NOT the way that they will be forever.

  7. Tracie

    I love this. What a beautiful "crutch" to have….to be able to draw yourself to the present and create beauty is such a precious thing.

  8. Mad Woman behind the Blog

    Oh please, wise beautiful, sexy shoed Yuliya, please show me the way. This post was as beautiful as you and your daughter and I'm so glad Nichole featured you here.
    Loved, loved, loved this.

  9. jessica

    so beautiful.

  10. andygirl

    oh my holy crap what a fantastic post! I'm not a mom yet, but being a photographer I can relate to the feeling of the world quieting down when you're behind a lens. it's amazing how that works really. when I am in the position some day, I am so keeping my camera at the ready.

  11. MelissaDrMom

    A wonderful work of art you have written here Yuliya. The words, the sentiment, the pictures…they are full of beauty.

    Excellent post. I love your babies leg warmers BTW…SO cute:)

  12. Klz

    That is big picture indeed. If I could work a camera I'd be right there with you

  13. CDG

    I am an idiot with a camera, for me it's stopping to write it down, a funny conversation, the way he smells, a facebook update about our adventures, a tweet, anything.

    That's no crutch, sister. That's a vintage, hand carved walking stick! A proper accessory, a work of art!

  14. gigi

    Wow. I'm speechless, Yuliya. I never thought about someone being able to use their photography as a way to really be present with their child. This is so fantastic and so you. You did a GREAT job on this post.

  15. Natalie

    So perfect. And I totally understand what you mean. Writing has done for me what photography had done for you.

  16. Yuliya

    How did you find me? I get around. Blogophorically speaking.
    If you see me, you are sure to see baby as well, she goes where I go, until her daddy learns to lactate that is…men.
    Thank you for being here and reading my words Sherri.

  17. Yuliya

    Thank you! I agree Small Moments Mondays is one of my favorite things anywhere, look through the archives, bring tissues.

  18. Yuliya

    Thank you Lori. "Now. Be here now" sounds like a tattoo of that is in order.

  19. Yuliya

    Alexandra you are too good to me.
    "I do it with a twist" my new errr blogging motto.

  20. Yuliya

    It's hard to imagine that one day mine will be six. But I beleive you. I do. Thank you for reading.

  21. My picture taking buddy just put my thoughts on paper. I wish now I had found my filtered lens when my girls were babies. You captured the feeling of motherhood so perfectly. The shock of the mundane and constancy. But you are right; with your new world captured so beautifully through the filtered lens it becomes something more than the mundane doesn't it? this post was thoughtful with a side of quirk! I just love reading what you write Yuliya! Wish you were coming to Blue Lily with me!

  22. Yuliya

    My crutch is handy, this is true. Even without my camera I start to see things as if through a viewfinder, really does calm me down.

  23. Yuliya

    Oh dear, I swear to you I wore those shoes that one time…usually I'm a flip flops kind of girl!
    Thank you reading and a bigger thank you to Nichole for taking a chance on me!

  24. Yuliya

    thank you.

  25. Yuliya

    Oh I wish I learned how to take pictures before I became a mom! Now I'm scrambling and trying to learn as I go. And yes the quiet does take over, it's lovely.

  26. Yuliya

    Thank you Melissa. Those leg warmers make my day, I put them on more for me than her I think :)

  27. Yuliya

    Ah but you can work IT! That's even better.

  28. Yuliya

    And your words? They always inspire me.

  29. Yuliya

    I know a lot of people say the opposite, put down your camera and enjoy the moment, but for now? It works for me. Thank you Gigi!

  30. Yuliya

    Thank you Natalie.

  31. Yuliya

    Thank you Dana. Your girls have an arsenal of amazing photographs of them. I'm not ready for Blue Lily, but maybe one day….

  32. Vicki

    Baby Leggings! Cute photos! Very emotional post! Everything all together, yup it's you alright :)

  33. Megan-Best of Fates

    I'm pretty sure that's the most adorable baby with a spoon EVER. Also? This post makes me want to hug my camera. I'm sure it would make me want to hug my baby, but I don't have one of those, so I'll stick with my camera.

  34. This is a fabulous small – but ever so large – moment. I loved it, Yuliya, because I can relate so very, very much. Ah, the resentment. The anger. The loss of self. But look at you! There you are! So talented! And with such a freakin' clean floor. How do you have time to clean that floor?
    xoxo, Chalupa

  35. Beautiful post and those pictures are TO DIE FOR!!! So cute!

  36. Yuliya

    Ah the clean floor, the solution is a catch 22…I have a dog, she "cleans" the floor for me…but it's a dog, it's like harder than a baby, seriously.

  37. Yuliya

    Oh thank you. Much appreciated.

  38. If your camera is a crutch, you should walk with it with pride. Your pictures are gorgeous, and I think it's wonderful that it enabled you to change your perspective about those sometimes teeth-gritting moments.

    Off to twitter and blog stalk now (in a good way, of course!)

  39. Cheryl @ Mommypants

    It is so amazing how things change when we see it from our child’s point of view, isn’t it?

    So glad you shared – LOVE the pics – and I love babylegs!

  40. Renee

    Your photography is beautiful! I love how you use that energy to find all those small moments with your daughter.
    Here's to many more photographic adventures.

  41. I needed this post today! Thank you for this perspective!
    Beautiful pictures!

  42. Yuliya

    And now she's learning to walk, teeth gritting indeed! Looking forward to being stalked :)

  43. Yuliya

    Babylegs are da bomb, hello where's my sponsorship?
    Thanks Cheryl!

  44. Yuliya

    Thank you, and cheers! (your comment sounded like a toast)

  45. Tonya

    Beautiful! Beautiful post and beautiful photos. What a wonderful crutch and daughter you have. :)

  46. MommaKiss

    What a fab take on 'seeing' your moments. I love this, and your photos!

  47. Rima

    I loved, loved, loved this! And now I really wish I had done the same when my two were babies . . .

  48. Yuliya

    The irony is I needed this post today too, it was a MONDAY.

  49. Yuliya

    Thank you Tonya!

  50. Yuliya

    It was so fun to share them.

  51. Yuliya

    It's never to late to badger them with a camera!

  52. jessb27

    I absolutely love this, what a way to gain perspective and calm. I try to take lots of photos as well but always feel that I am trying to race to capture a moment instead of relaxing into it. Great new perspective Yuliya and beautiful photos.

  53. Mandyland

    What a brilliant reminder to stop and smell the lense cap. Or something like that. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful post. And seriously adorable baby.

  54. tracy

    Oh, Yuliya. How perfect is this post. I have such a girl crush on you.

  55. Yuliya

    There's a bit of a race within me too, but I can also feel everything else melt away as I focus, really focus on her…

  56. Yuliya

    Smell the lens cap, love that…make it a scratch and sniff!

  57. ash

    Oh how wonderful is this!? A printed copy should be in the hospital packet when new parents leave with that little bundle. Seriously.

    Those pictures are absolutely priceless. I need to find my camera. I haven't used it since Christmas. I hope at 8 and 4, it's not too late for my psyche or my boys.

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