Archive for the ‘“A Day In The Life”’ Category

I guess it’s pretty clear that Ezra has been the star of the show here for the last 16 months. This is for two reasons, one of them being that it’s really sort of tricky to navigate what you should share about your kids once they get older and the second is TIME, as in, I don’t have any to write more than one substantial post a month. To remedy this, I’m going to try to do a quick family update each month when I post my photo sets so I can write down some of the cool/annoying/awesome stuff the rest of us are up to and at least give the illusion that our world doesn’t revolve around a despot toddler king {which it 100% does}. Ezra will still have his own post for the time being because he is my babaaaay and I’m not ready to let that go just yet.

So Let’s start with me. As it turns out I’ve become a bit obsessive and have absolutely loved documenting our every day family life over on Instagram for the My 365 Project. It has been a HUGE push to better my photography skills which are now somewhere between Does Not Suck and Can Sometimes be Okay When I’m Not Screwing It All Up. I take out my big camera pretty much every day and I love reading articles and watching video tutorials when I can squeeze them in. Recently I watched one about Newborn Photography which blew my mind… too bad there were so damn many precious, tiny babies in those videos, distracting me from actually retaining any of the information.

Here are my favorite shots from February 14, {the whole set is here}:

3.5.1 3.5.2 3.5.3 3.5.4 3.5.5 3.5.6 3.5.7 3.5.8 3.5.9

Other than being a chauffeur, homework overlord and packer of backpacks for the older two, I’m enjoying the calm before the {dance} storm. Competition fees have been turned in and we’re hoping one of the costumes will be handed out for decorating this week sometime. UPDATE!!: I now have a fringey pile of orange and pink and approximately 800 stones to affix to it! {Also: Sweet baby Jesus in heaven, please bless our room mom for not including those teeny/tiny/miniscule devil sequins, I am forever in her debt, AMEN.}   So: YAY! Let’s get this done! And: Oh God. I’m going to die from E-6000.

Here Lies Christy, who at 2am after 14 straight hours of gluing varying sizes of irritatingly small, iridescent stones, mistook her wine for the E-6000, gluing her throat shut. It was a good death. RIP.

Moving on to Bill… You remember him right? That guy I married? I wouldn’t really know since he’s done nothing but workworkwork for the last few months. Thankfully, he’s able to do part of this in the evenings on our couch but still, it’s been a really busy time for him both with work, personal projects and the side stuff. We divide and conquer from the hours of 4:30-8pm and then it’s back to his laptop until 11ish. Since he likes to watch stuff while he works, we pick a series to binge-watch so at least we have the pretense of together time. Against my better judgement, I let Bill choose the show this go-round and he picked Breaking Bad. We tried this show once a couple of years ago and after the third episode I told Bill if he wanted to keep watching it that was fine but I just couldn’t spend my relaxing time watching something so painful that I wanted to throw myself off a bridge after each episode. And yeah, I know, Best TV Show Of All Time, Is One of The Greats, yada-yada-accolade-cakes. I get that, I really do. My opinion though {which was right on the money after those first 3 episodes {re:THE PAINFULNESS} and unchanged when we watched it all the way through}, is that the first 2 seasons were pretty meh, save a couple of episodes, then in the third season they turned the characters into 100% unlikable, reprehensible shells of humans. There was no fading into gray for me, really. They went from conflicted, desperate and confused to The Most Terrible People and by the last third of the 4th season things blew up.

I’m not going to turn this family update into a BB recap but since it has dominated my time with my husband for the last 2 months I will say this. The writing and acting in the last 2 seasons was truly smart and really just downright phenomenal. But. And this is a big, huge, hairy but. I can’t handle watching shows where everyone is awful. There is no one to root for on this show, save maybe one, and even this guy has done so many despicable things and suffered such terrible losses, there’s no way he’ll ever come out functional. This makes each episode something you have to suffer through. Maybe other people could root for Walter White {but you’re probably a closet sociopath, FYI}. Not me though, not even at the end and I think it’s sort of troublesome if you actively want your protagonist to bite it. I get the whole idea of the “anti-hero” but man, I just found the whole thing to be so reprehensible, and even though I appreciate the art of it, {TL;DR!} you could not pay me to watch that shit again.

Okay, stay tuned for next month’s Bill update when I talk about True Detective, Scandal or House of Cards, because that is what our marriage has turned into at this point.

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Rowan: My first born has been a busy little bee with school and dance. She officially turned 8 and a half which is still just so weird to say. My kid is like, old and stuff. School has been going really well. So well, I feel like anything I write here will just sound like obnoxious bragging. I can take pretty much zero credit for this anyway, it just turns out I am raising the non-magical Hermione Granger, complete with tears when school is cancelled for the 6th snow day of 2014. She’s tested out of the curriculum reading assessments through third grade. She gets herself up early so she can read for fun and while math isn’t her favorite and she has to work hard, she gets great marks. She has an excellent memory so history tests are super fun for her and she aces them. Most weeks I forget to go over her spelling words with her {super mom, I know} and she has brought home a 15/15 every week, save one, the entire year. Do you see what I mean about the bragging? I sound like a total asshole right now but I don’t care. She works hard. She’s so independent. And I’m so proud of her.

Here is Hermione/Rowan reading a math book. For fun. Listen, guys. I know I was there and all when she was born and I'm fairly certain they placed her directly into my arms but there is just no possible way she can be my kid.

Here is Hermione/Rowan reading a math book before bed. For FUN. Listen, guys. I know I was there and all when she was born and I’m fairly certain they placed her directly into my arms but there is just no possible way she can be my kid. Like ZERO percent chance. Back me up, everyone who knows me…

Conversely, dance has been rough for her this year. I touched on this a few months ago, about the challenges of the flexibility amidst the other choreography and how it’s been tough for her. Rowan isn’t a Career Dancer. She doesn’t have the natural flexibility. She doesn’t have a family member that was or still is a dancer that can help her at home {for free} with the intricacies. She doesn’t have room in her house that she can practice without hitting the couch or a coffee table or another human. She also doesn’t have parents who have a huge disposable income for $50 worth of private lessons a week. Though this has always been the case for her, it was made really apparent this year as so many of the girls at the studio are doing this extra stuff. Rowan has always been very happy to just be a part of the group and work her hardest but based on all the extras the other kids are doing she’s starting to fall behind and feel what she’s contributing isn’t good enough for her team.

In most cases it’s not a matter of dance mom one-up-man-ship, but that all these kids really love dance, want to do their very best and they have very supportive parents that are making that happen for them. And while I personally feel some of it is getting a little out of hand, if it works for the individual family then that’s thier choice to make . Unfortunately, it doesn’t work for us which will be a tricky road to navigate if Rowan wants to keep dancing competitively. In the meantime we’ve done what we can to help her through. We share private lessons with others so they’re not so spendy. We go to open gym so she can work on flexibility instead of paying $30 an hour to work one-on-one with a gymnastics coach. She shows up every day ready to work her butt off and she really does. We practice at home, couches, coffee tables and other humans be damned. I feel guilty, like I’m not doing enough to support her sometimes, but the reality is, dance isn’t our family’s only reality and I just have to make peace with that and hope Rowan understands when the other girls are progressing in a way that she isn’t.

I will say that the coolest thing to witness was a few weeks ago when parents were invited in to watch and the instructor was working on turns with them, which need some work all around. Some of the girls have been doing these turns for well over a year or two in various solos and small groups but a little over half have just started them in earnest since January and Rowan was having trouble finding the rhythm of them. She struggled the Tuesday before big time and when her teacher asked her to do it in front of everyone I held my breath, fighting the urge to throw my hands over my eyes but… she did okay, and compared to where she was the week before, okay was AWESOME. And when she was done her teacher gave her an approving smile and the other girls clapped for her and it was so, so sweet. She really is in with a great group of very kind kids, which is important to us because she spends so much time there.


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After a completely activity-free fall, Keaton has been enjoying swimming lessons, a basketball clinic and joining the boys/partners dance at the studio. Swimming has been going well for him I think, but it’s stressful because Bill has to handle the two boys while I take Rowan to ballet. Ezra goes to baby swim from 6-6:30pm and Keaton does level 3 from 6:30-7pm. I haven’t seen Ezra at all and have only been able to watch Keaton 1.5 times which makes me feel shitty but just the way things worked out this time around.

Basketball was… sort of hilarious. Keaton definitely has an aptitude for sports; he has a good eye and great coordination. Since he’s never had trouble picking these sorts of things up, I thought this would transfer to basketball but it totally did not. The six sessions he had, he made a total of 8 baskets. He is not tall, on the contrary, he is a peanut compared to the other boys and while his fancy footwork was awesome while playing defense, you could totally tell they were the feet of a dancer, not a ball player. Still, the whole point was to get him out of the house for a couple of hours on Saturdays and to have fun, and both of these things were accomplished so I’ll call it a win while recognizing that we are NOT raising a hoops star.


In January we were asked if Keaton was interested in doing the big boys’ number at the studio. At first he didn’t want to do it and I practically had to drag him there but after a few practices he fell back in love with the booty-shaking and I’ll admit, it’s been pretty fun to watch him again. It was most definitely the right decision for him and our family sanity to pull him from the line numbers but I’m glad he’s still able to dance in some capacity~ plus it will give him something to do one of the days we’re in Florida for Nationals this June.

School has been going really well for him. He loves his teacher, his classmates and has gotten a green light every day so far. His reading skills have really taken off in the last month. He can now read Frog and Toad style books all by himself and while getting him to stop jumping around the living room like a maniac can be hard after a long day at school, once he gets settled in he really gets into the story. I’m so proud of how great he’s doing although I will say, he has been having some attitude and listening problems at home that are driving both his father and I nuts. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that he is the child that requires the least amount of our time and energy. He’s so laid back and easy-going so we tend to just let him do his own thing which sometimes results in him feeling left out, and then he acts out, not terribly, but just enough to push our buttons. I hate that it’s come to this so we’re trying to make an extra effort to spend one-on-one time with him in hopes that the attitude and listening issues will work themselves out.

Okay! Wow! I’m… gonna stop now. That was really, really long. I had a lot to catch up on but the good news is, that shouldn’t be an issue if I keep this up month to month. Of course this is me we’re talking about so no guarantees. Hope everyone made it though February alive and here’s looking to somewhat of a thaw by the end of March.



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Alright. I wanted to do a big holiday recap but for all but the first 2 days of our break, Ez was sick. We thought it was that his mouth was exploding with 4 molars and an eye tooth but after a week of sososo much green mucus, the fevers started in and then he quit sleeping, like, ever. I’m of the school of thought that When Thou Taketh Sick Children to thy Doctor, Thine Sick Children get Sicker, so I always do the wait and see method but this boy has been so miserable for so long, Bill and I packed him up and sat in urgent care for an hour before the doctor could see him. Of course he perked up when we got there, the Tylenol had knocked his fever down and all he wanted to do was run around and lick every germy surface he could get his mouth on so Bill and I just traded him back and forth, attempting to contain his toddleriness while exchanging knowing looks of GOD THIS IS TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY POINTLESS. However! He had a big fat infection in both ears so we are now on day 4 of antibiotics which will hopefully clear up one problem, the other being his teeth which I’m pretty sure will plague us til the END OF DAYS.

Anyway! I wasn’t able to accomplish a ton because of a screamy baby and two very squirrely children but I did finally manage to compile my November and December Flickr sets. November was pretty great {as Novembers go… it is NOT my favorite month} so I did get out a few times. December was pathetic. I don’t think I picked up my 7d more than a handful of times, but I’m so grateful for my iphone to capture the little moments, especially because all the best stuff seems to happen in shitty light and I am not practiced enough to navigate through my settings to get the shots I want, so the phone was my lifesaver this season.

Here they are:

November 2013

One of my favorites:


December 2013

One of my favorites:


This leads me to my next project which I started January 1. I follow a few instagram accounts that do 365 projects and was inspired to attempt my own this year. I’m only 8 days in but it has motivated me to pick up my big camera and capture small stuff every day. I know there will be days when I’m gonna regret this but so far it’s been a great experience. Here are my favorites from the past week…

day2 day3a day4 day7

I tried to focus on Rowan because I knew once school and dance started up again, my opportunities for photographing her would be sparse, plus she is sort of temperamental about getting her photo taken so I have to snap her when I can because I never know when she’ll let me do it again.

I have a lot of stuff in the works right now, both personally and for our family. {This is where I confess I’m cheating on this blog with a new tumblr blog that will be used to work through the massive overhaul of everything I’m stupidly attempting.} We have a BIG 2014 coming at us. The words for this year are WORK HARD. It’s going to be nuts but I’m hoping that this  365 project and my monthly shoot compilations will be a good reminder of all the good parts of our lives together, it is pretty super kaduper after all.

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It doesn’t always feel like that. But today it does.

A decade of memories made without you. A decade where you didn’t hug me once. A decade where I didn’t steal your sunflower seeds or your car keys and get called, for the umpteenth time, The Ever Naughty. A decade where you didn’t see me graduate from college or come out of “the asshole years”. A decade where you didn’t see me get married. Meet my first, my second, my third baby. A decade where you didn’t get to see them grow.

A decade where you didn’t get to see me grow. As a person, as a wife, as a mother. All those hours logged in being my dad and for what? When you last saw me I was a twenty-three year old Aimless English Major Extraordinaire. Not the most hopeful place to leave a child off, huh? Oh, well, now I’m an Aimless Stay At Home Mom Extraordinaire so not too much has changed.

Except everything has.  And I’m sorry you’re not here. Sorry for myself, sorry for my siblings, sorry for mom, sorry for all of your grandchildren.

You want to know something I don’t like saying out loud because it upsets people? I don’t believe in heaven. {SHHH don’t tell mom, it’ll be worse than the Christmas Eve dinner she found out I pierced my tongue and that was no fun for any of us.} I don’t think you get to go up to some magical realm where everything’s perfect and we’re all reunited. Go ahead, all of you shaking your heads, I know you want to pity me so just get it over with. It is a beautiful notion, I’ll give you that, one that I completely understand the draw of… but I call FAIRY TALE.

I do believe you’re with me though, Dad. Your love and your life, the good and the bad, made an impression on my life and my shape as a person. Your love and energy and heart exist somewhere, on some plane, maybe cosmically watching, maybe not. Maybe just inside my heart. Sometimes I think I feel you but most of the time I just feel the empty space.

Either way, I know you’ve left a mark. Because of this, most of the time it doesn’t feel like a decade of loss, but a decade of gifts. You, along with mom, gave me the tools to become Me. Yes, some of it was achieved on my own, {I take full credit for my ability to swear so much over soso little}, but the model you gave has shaped me and I see that shape, your shape, everyday whether I always recognize it at the time or not.

Ten years. A decade. I will remember the gifts, but today the loss… well, it feels so wide, so open so huge right now.

miss you. love you. side hug. patpat.


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Keaton: I want to draw Obi-wan Kenobi!

Rowan: You don’t know how to draw him.

Keaton: Dad will help me.

Rowan: But dad’s not here!

Keaton, looking around, disappointed, letting out a sigh of realization and defeat: Mom will help me.

Rowan: Really?

Keaton: She’ll try her best.

Rowan: Okay, but don’t get your hopes up.

Keaton: Yeah, I know.

*    *    *

Whatever. It’s not my fault my stick figures look like dying foliage. Or maybe it is! It’s called abstract art, children, and it’ll probably be worth so much… man, I can’t even finish this sentence, my drawing skills are so crappy even my five year old knows it. Either way Keaton never asked for my help. He might have forgotten to ask but more likely decided hold out for dad.

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And also, although much less nuanced: When Raking and my Husband Collide…


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After a lengthy separation {okay, 8 eight days, but still} the prodigal camera has returned home, and more importantly, turned on. So now if I can muster four seconds to myself, which unfortunately won’t be anytime this week, I can get out there and shoot as the vibrant colors give way to the dreary-ass brown {or dreary ass-brown, whichever you prefer} that will grace this state for the next 6 or more months. Can you tell I’m a HUGE winter, gal? No? I do like warm fires and red wine and snuggly little people who smell like peppermint and hot chocolate, so silver linings and all that, but when you have school age kids you quickly learn that your main function in their life, your life, any life, is Chauffeur and driving in MN winters sort of sucks giant asses, to put it the most delicate way I’m capable of. {What?! It’s true! I can be WAY more vulgar when it comes to this particular subject, trust me.}

Anyway, the camera. It turned out to be a ground wire connection issue and maybe something about a loose screw…???… I don’t know, I was so happy it was a quickish fix that I just told Bill to pay the damn money and bring home mah baby. This was the best case scenario because it didn’t require ordering a part from Godknoweswhere, China which is good because Camera Guy said he had to dig pretty deep to make the fix, making the labor pretty expensive on its own.

So we’re up and running and I’ve already taken several new shots of my cats. PHEW, right? I’m totally going to have to catch up on 8 days of taking useless cat pictures. I don’t know how I’ll fit it all in! I did also finally get to look at the pictures I took of Ezra’s birthday party and wow that already seems like weeks and weeks ago. I’ll have to put them together in a post to {cross another day off the list, uh, I mean} document these precious memories.

I guess I don’t really have much else to say about today other than Sick Angry Baby is still sick and angry. When I have to wipe his nose he runs! away! only he’s only been on all twos for a few weeks so he makes it a grand total of two scurrying, pathetic steps before he collapses, arms outstretched like he’s trying to cross an invisible finish line, one that the Kleenex cannot cross along with him. Alas, I catch him, stand him up and attempt to wipe away the perpetual trail of goo that now resides on his face and holy shit does that make him mad. He throws his hands in the air, balls his fists as tight as he can and SCREAMS with unadulterated RAGE at the injustice of it all. It’s the cutest kind of rage though, the kind that wells up so much empathy and love for him and, yes, maybe a giggle or two at the same time, and then I realize I’m getting a stupid grin on my face over his sheer and utter frustration/misery at being alive and I sober up a little.

As you can imagine it’s been a fun few days with the little bugger. I now have to get through the kids’ fall concert at school with him tomorrow night which will be… interesting. This event is crazy chaotic without a toddler in tow so you can just go ahead and plan on a giant empty wine glass Instagram in your near future, Internet.

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