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Archive for February, 2014

 2.27.8

So this month was a fun one! Ezra proved adorable, funny, sweet, smart and crazy-entertaining almost all the way through. That is, until he got the plague and spent a week and a half looking like he walked straight off The Walking Dead set. Only a few weeks after getting rid of a miserable double ear infection, the poor budders got another double ear infection and nasty eye infection, which caused both his eyes to get reddish/purplish rings around them while secreting neon green goo.

I’ll just leave you with that visual for a while…Can you see it? Nope, the eye boogers you’re imagining aren’t green enough. Think 1985 then amp it up by 1000. They were impressively green. Now imagine getting hit in the face with a 2×4, because that is what his eyes looked like. And don’t forget the two lines of perpetually seeping snot coming from his nose {directly into his mouth EEEEWWWWWAAAAHHHHHH} and the raspy breath with the gunky cough. Paired with an unsteady toddler walk, and a vocabulary that is dominated mainly by grunts and screeches, I was 90% convinced there was a tiny zombie lurking around here. Good thing toddlers are too picky to eat brains. They would have to be banana flavored brains or possibly strawberry-apple but only if it was Tuesday.

Anyway, after all that fantastic imagery which has hopefully frightened you from ever, ever procreating, he’s better finally so, yay!

2,27,9

Here is what Ez did this month:

Besides turning into the undead, he also turned into a ham. Seriously, such a ham sandwich. Everything he does, he does with a big cheese-ball grin, waiting to see your reaction and it better be good otherwise he’ll keep at it until it is.

Tantrums. We are having them, people. He goes all wet noodle and flops around on the floor until he sees that I’m doing the Official Parent Ignore Tactic, where I hold my head up high and away from him with a face that, while attempting to look stern and remain uninterested and unemotional, is really holding it together just enough not to let the smile crack through. This worked pretty well for a while. He would see he wasn’t getting any attention and give up. Unfortunately toddlers are always looking for new ways to be asshats, so now he has started to get up from ignored tantrums, come over to me and swat me on the leg to get my attention. Then he gingerly gets back down into tantrum position and resumes his floppy fish impression, only now he’s just landed his butt on the Stair of Shame and nobody wins.

2.27.4

Says “jump jump jump” happily as he jumps on the bed or the trampoline.

Climbs. The coffee table. The chairs. The toilet. The big table. The stools. The toy boxes. The play table. If I try to stop him he tries harder. He does not give up until he has hoisted his giant diapered butt onto an object, stood up, grinned at you and claimed it as his own. I mostly let him just do it to get it out of his system because once he’s conquered something he tends to leave it alone unless there’s something highly desirable at the top, like the cats’ water dishes that he can splash in, then dump onto all my prized literature books from college. I’m >FROWNY EMOTICONING< at you, baby.

2.27.5

Loves:

Shoes. We somehow lost his shoes sometime mid-December and his boots, I can only surmise, must have sharp needles lining the insides, because he refuses to put any pressure on his feet to stand when they are forcibly fitted on his person. This meant that he spent 2 straight months in Hanna Anderssen sock/slipper things which are lovely but not really Minnesota weather proof so I was finally shamed enough to head to Target where I was greeted with 9,768 styles of adorable girls’ shoe styles and 5 versions for boys that are either plastered in superheroes or are a boring brown/blue/black. THIS IS BULLSHIT. Boys like shoes too, assholes. {Well, at least their moms do.} I did end up finding a couple of okay pairs hidden on a clearance end-cap, one of which was the size up in the pair he lost, but still. I shouldn’t have to keep buying the same shoe because all the other options suck, Target. I love you, but I’m really mad at you right now which still won’t stop me from dropping another $150 on things I “need” next time I go in to get toilet paper.

Good Lord, What was I even talking about before I got mad at Target? OH! Shoes. SO now that Ezzer finally has shoes again he loves to walk on hard surfaces so he can hear his feet make cool noises. He carefully lifts his knee up high and then drops his foot with a big smile when he hears the tap. It’s all kinds of adorable to witness, trust me.

2.27.10

Dance, which means pumping his fists up and down and then throwing himself onto the floor and writhing around. He gets all his moves from Bill, BTW.

Books. We read a ton every day.

My phone. You and Suri are super tight these days. You babble at her incessantly and she directs you to the 5 closest restaurants in our area. I think it might be true love.

Turkey. Every time we give you a bite you say “turrrKEY!” and gobble it up; pun 100 percent intended.

Rowan. You and your sister have been super close this month. She adores playing with you and making you laugh. Every morning after nursing I say “let’s go get Rowan and Keaton up!” You haul ass up the stairs ahead of me and start banging on the door. {Thankfully doorknobs still mystify you, I’m sure you’ll have them figured out by 18 months though because my life is nothing if not HILARIOUS already}.  I open it up and after you run over to turn the fan off {whitenoise} you proceed to climb up on your sister’s bed and shove your sweet little face between her nose and the book she has it stuffed into. Rowan has never liked being interrupted, she will forever be my trouble-with-transitions kid, but you are the exception. She just laughs and puts her arms around you, pulling you in for a morning hug.

2.27.7

Says:

Jump, turkey, please, thank you, cracker, cookie, hello, stop, drop, uh-oh, ouch, hot, da-bu {pretzel}, fish, duck, quack, moo, meow, kitty, book, baa, woof, choo-choo, sock, shoe, hat, juice, tub, ear, eye, nose and a bunch of others that I can’t think of right now. He really has had a language explosion, but 85% of these words are only discernible to Bill, the kids and I. He gets the inflection perfect but the annunciation is all off so it’s really near impossible to understand him if you’re not us. Still, this is huge. Such a massive improvement from where we were a month ago. His language skills have been so puzzling to us because he started out just like Rowan and Keaton. He was an early babbler, and was able to make all the consonant and vowel sounds he needed to form words. He had amazing receptive language skills and even started regularly mimicking a few words by 8 months like ‘drop’, ‘stop’ ‘meow’ and ‘dada’. Then he just stopped altogether and wouldn’t even try to say anything other than MEOW for 6 months so it made me really nervous. I’m so relieved he’s figured things out because communication has gotten much easier but really? He still does not say mama intentionally, so none of this counts. Nice try, baby.

2.27.2

The winter days are getting so long. The weather this year is trying to kill all of us what with the daily highs never even reaching the teens and the snowsnowsnow. That paired with the fact that you’ve been so sick a majority of the last 2 months means we’ve been stuck inside since December. I was really hoping spring would take pity on us and give us a pre-show by way of a thaw out but nope, here we are nearly to March and the windchill was almost 40 below this morning. I complain because wow, this is ridiculous, but really there is no one else I’d rather be stuck inside with for months on end. Yes, you can be a little dangerous {no more sneaking into the dishwasher and pulling out knives!!} and yes, you can be a little feisty, but oh boy are you sweet, and snuggly and there has not been a day that’s gone by where I haven’t said, “Oh, baby. I just love you.” Because I really, really do.

2.27.6

 

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Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been seventy and surely would finally be blissfully earning the moniker we gave him much too young, “The Old Man”. My dad would’ve been a good old man, the best really. He already excelled at it by his late forties and that sort of thing only gets better with practice.

For his 70th, I’d like to share a story from my 15th.

Once upon a time, there was a horribly selfish 14 and 364/365 year old, who was incredibly PUT OUT by the fact that her dad was going to miss yet another of her birthdays. You see, my dad {yes, I will be playing the role of The Selfish Brat for this story} was the secretary for something called the International Claim Association, or ICA. {Which, totally unrelated but worth mentioning~ when I was a young thing I was a little hazy about all of this so I used to tell people my dad was a lawyer for the CIA. Untrue! But probably impressed a lot of very confused people.} In fact, my dad was an attorney for a life Insurance company so he was deeply familiar with the claim department of his company which led to his involvement in this organization.

Let me just break here to say, none of this matters. Except that it did because the committee meetings for this particular organization were often held the second week of September which also happens to hold an extremely paramount moment in history: the date of my birth. And because these meetings were often held at warm, sandy-beach locations, my mother naturally wished to accompany my dad and where did that leave me? A neglected orphan cruelly left to suffer yet another birthday alone {or, you know, in the company of very loving, capable grandparents and older siblings who more than made an effort to give me a special day, WHATEVER.} {I should also note that while my dad did very well for himself and his family, 5 kids in parochial school and all the various other expenses so many grunions incur, of which there were numerous and plenty, is not easy on the checkbook so taking us kids along was just not a viable option.}

By the time my 15th birthday hit, I was OVER it. Had it been a year later, I probably would not have cared, being at an age where spending the day with my friends would be much more important than hanging with my family but at 15 I was not quite there yet and the memory of my 12th, and golden, birthday still stung. On that occasion, not only was I was missing my dad but out of the goodness of my mother’s heart {she stayed home this time}, she agreed to baby-sit my severely ADHD cousin who had been served sugar and Mountain Dew at a Boy Scout function and who subsequently had to be locked out on the porch for fear he would destroy our house. It was an unpleasant experience and I told my dad he wasn’t allowed to miss anymore of my birthdays until I was over 18. I’m sure he didn’t actually agree to this, but somewhere in my head he did, so when I found out he would again be attending the ICA meeting over my birthday I was… displeased.

He left a day or so before the 12th of September. I can’t remember the conversation we had or the hug I’m sure he gave me, despite the fact that I had not stopped giving him The Filch Eye since I found out he was leaving. On my birthday, from Wherever, USA {I can’t even recall which warm, sandy location he was visiting this time} he called and I told him, after careful consideration, I would forgive him for ditching me if he brought me home something really, really special. Something to make up for not only missing this birthday but the handful of others over the years. He just chuckled in his way and told me to “be good”. I took that as a confirmation that he was going to bring me home something awesome. Something truly spectacular. And really? I should not have been this naive. I can say with almost 100 percent certainty that my father didn’t pick out any of our gifts growing up. I’m positive that task was delegated to my mother and she did a fabulous job at it so I don’t know what I was thinking. By the end of my dads trip I had myself pretty well convinced that he was bringing me the 1995 equivalent of a time traveling, golden unicorn that shit money. {Spoiler alert! That did not happen. Disappointing, I know.}

Anyway I had built this whole thing up in my head, so sure, sososososo sure, that my dad wouldn’t want to disappoint me and would have been sufficiently guilted into picking me out something fabulous. And sure enough, when he got home, he intimated to me that he did pick me out something special. All my teenage angst and rage dissipated, I was immediately filled with love! admiration! and awe for this wonderful man. This beautiful father who brought his newly minted 15 year old daughter a special gift. He passed me a smallish green box. Oh! Jewelry! I hadn’t even thought about that! Diamonds? Sapphires? Oooooo definitely sapphires, they’re my favorite and also my birthstone which makes them awesome AND meaningful. I was so in love with the contents of that box for roughly 20 seconds and then…

I opened it.

And it was a fish.

A fish made out of shells.

It wasn’t even a pretty fish.

It was a dumb fish.

It was the goddamn dumbest, ugliest fish I had ever seen in my entire life.

I hated it.

I hated that fish more than anything I had ever hated before and I was an angsty teenager so I hated A LOT of things.

Here is where I’d like to tell you that I pushed that hate deep down. Deep, deep down. And graciously smiled and hugged my dad for picking something out just for me. I did not do that. “What the hell is this?” may have been uttered. Also “A fish? You thought of me and bought… a stupid fish? Really?” I was not happy and after making sure this wasn’t a gag and my REAL gift wasn’t waiting for me outside, I left the little green box on the counter and stormed off to my room.

Such a brat. A complete, utter, ungrateful brat. To my mom’s credit, she was patient and understood why I was upset. Later that night, through the crack in their bedroom door, I heard her explaining to my dad that no 15 year old girl wants a fish made out of sea shells for her birthday. “They want CDs. They want pagers. They want Abercrombie shopping sprees. They really don’t want decorative fish.” And in true, unperturbed Garry form, he said quietly, “I thought it was nice.”

I did not forgive him easily. I did not take that dumb fish out of its box for weeks on principle. Eventually it made its way to my room, I’m sure my mom brought it there, and at some point I took it out. Inside was a little stand so it could be displayed and well, time is a funny thing, that ugly fish made it into that stand and was placed on a shelf in my room. I still hated it. It reminded me not only of being disappointed in my dad but of my own shitty behavior when I had received it… but there it stayed. Mostly forgotten, occasionally despised, for the rest of my years at home.

*         *        *      *

After he died I found myself in my old room. For the few months following the unexpected, I had abandoned my cozy loft apartment that still had my cats and my fiance, to give support to my mom in the wake of a loss that seemed as long and wide as all eternity. There, on my dresser was that dumb, ugly fish. And I picked it up, and ran my fingers over its cool, smooth surface, its sharp angled fins, and I cried. And I clung to it. I imagined my dad wandering off into the hotel’s gift shop. I saw him walking slowly along the shelves, scanning the various kitschy objects. Picking trinkets up, putting them down. I saw him pick up the ugly fish. I saw him smile at it. I felt him run his fingers along its surface. I heard him say, “I’ll take this one. For my daughter, she turns fifteen today!” And then they put that atrocious thing in that small green box and now here it was, 8 years later, a gift from my dad. A part of him here, waiting for me to love, and to appreciate the love it always had for me.

Ugly Fish {that’s its name… after all, a spade’s a spade} has spent every night since, these 10 long years of missing him, on my nightstand. It is a reminder to be gracious. A reminder that I was loved. A reminder of my dad. And I love him so much. And the dumb fish too.

Happy birthday, dad.

2.10.1

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I have taken more photos this January than all Januarys combined since I got my first DSLR five years ago. I much prefer shooting in natural light because of the way our house faces and the window situation~ It really makes for absolutely dismal choices when trying to get the photos I want. So beyond a special occasion, my camera normally keeps the shelf pretty warm until April or so. I had big plans to brave the cold this year, to get out and shoot some beautiful, snowy Minnesotan scenes, however, it has been below zero nearly every day since Christmas and I know I was born and raised in this state but I’m sorry, I’m just not that hearty. So I had to suck it up and work on indoor shooting and I have to say, it’s forced some great practice out of me. Working with the light I have has been challenging, and I only get 1-2 good shots out of every 30 I take, but I’m learning and slowly getting more comfortable and confident about where to position my subject and getting more intuitive about what placement will get me the right shot.

I know I will be MORE than ready to get outside once the temps creep up into the 20s, but for now I’m happy with what I’ve learned and love that My 365 Project is keeping me motivated to get out my camera, whether it’s my Canon or my phone, and capture the life around me.

Here is my full January set, and these are a handful of my favorites…

2.9.1day28aday21bday26a2.9.2day28c2.9.42.9.3

 

 

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