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Archive for the ‘“Here Comes the Sun”’ Category

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:

1.8.1

December 2013

One of my favorites:

12.30.5

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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Two Septembers ago, in preparation for baby Ezra, we switched rooms with the kids, reclaiming the master bedroom for our own so we could share it with the baby and all the accompanying baby paraphernalia. *Backstory!: We gave Rowan and Keaton the master bedroom, which takes up most of our third floor, in May of 2009. It was awesome because it contained all the small people and their vast amount of toys upstairs, leaving the main floor to Bill and I who require a heck of a lot less brightly colored plastic crap to survive. I cannot tell you how much I liked this set-up, but alas. There was no way to fit the baby in the downstairs room with us so moving back upstairs was really the only choice we had as the association frowns on building outbuildings or putting a nursery on the roof. I did briefly consider getting an old VW van to outfit as a make-shift nursery in the garage but then I thought Child Protective Services might take issue with that. So! We preformed the great room swap once again and it all worked out okay. Since we plan to move in 2014 I thought we would all just stay put but sharing a room with a toddler who is ready to strike out on his own {what? He totally is. He told me so… with a very meaningful screech} was wearing on Bill and I. His schedule is predictable and he sleeps through the night so we weighed that against all the work the room switch would take and we decided that we should just tough it out. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, last week some asshole bee flew into my bonnet and, well, we’re going for it… bunking all three kids together upstairs so we can escape from them thoroughly every night at bedtime MUAHHAHAHAHA.

Okay, Internet, here is the play-by-play. I’ll either be mostly dead or really, really drunk by the end of today…

11:09 After waffling back and forth we decide it’s go time. Bill goes to the liquor store {NECESSARY}, I start work on the kids’ bookshelf.

11:21 Why do my kids have so many goddamn books? Who needs this many books? Reading is so overrated.

11:44 Bookshelf done! Reward: Baily’s in mah coffee.

11:54 SO MANY BARBIES AND STUPID BARBIE SHOES.

11:59 SO MANY AMERICAN GIRLS AND STUPID AMERICAN GIRL SHOES.

12:24: Break for lunch. Pray to enter some sort of time-warp/worm-hole where this is all over.

1:11: Ezra is up from his nap. We can now play the “keep the baby out of ALL the things game”.

1:16: Begin upstairs clean and dismantle.

1:55 Time to go pick Rowan up from dance, SEE YOU SUCKERS!

2:50 Back from dance. Brian is here helping carry beds and dressers up two flights of stairs. Sorry we suck so much Uncle Brian!

3:35 It has been determined that trying to switch around 70% of your house with three small people whining at you at every turn is not going so well.

3:50 Bill departs with boy children to dump them at grandma and grandpa’s.

3:51 I depart with girl child to dump her at a friends for an overnight.

4:12 God it is gloriously quiet in here.

4:14 Now where did that Baily’s go…

4:23 Bill figures out how to wedge the train table under the bunk bed clearing out loft space. We marvel at his genius.

4:26 Oh shit, there’s a lot of crap under there. I quit marveling at his genius.

5:03 Sit down to roast dinner that’s been cooking in the crock pot all day.

5:13 Lose will to do anything other than digest while drinking beer.

5:17 Back at it. Go time.

5:32 Do all the things

5:47 ALL OF THEM.

5:53 Up the stairs

5:54 Down the stairs

5:55 Up the stairs

5:56 Down the stairs

5:57 Up the Stairs

5:58 Down the Stairs

5:59 Place beer at top railing as incentive to keep climbing up and down all these fucking stairs.

6:00 Sweet! Beer! This was a super awesome idea.

6:40 Bill departs to bring boy spawn home.

6:58 Okay. Kids’ bedroom put back together. It’s just like the nursery in Peter Pan only less British and with more Legos.

7:09 Boys home. New bedtime routine attempted.

7:33 Ezra goes down, seemingly smoothly in his new corner of the room.

7:50 Bill reads Keaton a story while Ezra falls good and asleep.

8:09 Successfully sneak Keaton into room and…

8:08 COUCH COUCH COUCH SO MUCH COUCH.

8:09 WAIT! I just had a great idea! I bet we could fit my desk in our room now! Free up loft space!

8:10 Bill cries angry tears of defeat and sorrow.

8:11 Oh, couch. I barely knew ye.

8:12 Bill cleans off the desk, swears a bunch and we carry it down.

8:22 I smile and give him a big fat wet one right on the lips.

8:25 I sit down and finish this post in my baby free room at my very own writing desk.

{Tomorrow? Closet and bathroom swap. Good thing we have leftover Baily’s.}

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I won’t say too much about the election last night, only that it probably wasn’t my smartest move {in our already sleep deprived state} to stay up until 1am for President Obama’s speech. Really I was mostly waiting for the results of the MN marriage amendment to come in but it was still too close to call, the last stats I saw showed that Vote Yes had slightly edged out Vote No and while I was happy with the President’s victory I went to bed with a sinking feeling that bad news would come in the morning.

Ezra woke up at 4am for a feeding and in my haze of Ohmahgahd Isotiiiiiiireed I grabbed my iPad and there on the screen was a little check mark  next to the Vote No.

We won.

My chest swelled with so many gooey emotions, magnified I’m sure by leftover pregnancy hormones, and I know this basically changes nothing but it also changes everything and just…wow. You know that scene in It’s a Wonderful Life when Jimmy Stewart runs through the streets of Bedford Falls proclaiming his love for everyone and everything? I was very close to jumping up and doing that exact thing through the streets of my city which would not have been the smartest move since in my advanced exhaustion I would totally have forgotten to put my boobs away and GOOD LORD nobody wants to see that.

Now I will be quiet about politics for the foreseeable future you’re welcome.

In even BIGGER news, Ezra had his first well visit today and because I just know you want to hear all about it I’ll give you the quick and dirty.

* He now weighs 8lbs, 7 oz. CHUUUUUBY. He was 7lb, 11.6 oz at birth and 7lb 7oz when we left the hospital so he put on 1 whole giant baby pound in 10 days. At least I know the pain of breastfeeding is paying off. {BTW I’m feeling about one thousand percent better today. I was prescribed an antibiotic and magical nipple healing cream so hopefully all this boob drama is behind us.}

* He is 20.25 inches, gaining a quarter of an inch in 12 days. {Or, they just stretched him out better at his check-up, whatever.}

*His head measured 14 inches. FOURTEEN INCHES. When I told his nurse that he only measured 12 in the hospital, she asked if he was pretty coned at birth and I said yes, he was delayed {read: REFUSED TO EXIT} in my pelvis for quite some time. So chances are he had this giant head at birth which didn’t help matters of evacuation and it was significantly smooshed in the process. And if you read that last sentence and DIDN’T wonder why the hell people go through this, something is very wrong with you.

Since pointlessly charting babies is a fun pastime, here are his stats:

Weight: 58.07%

Height: 41.23%

Head: 49.43% {So this isn’t that impressive a number on paper but when you consider what it had to go through to get here, I’m calling it HUGE.}

And that’s about it! He has had a gooey eye since birth so we were given an ointment to make sure it’s not caused by an infection. It’s probably just a clogged tear duct~ Rowan had one her whole first year of life, but we’re gonna try this just in case. He also is showing some signs of having reflux but we’re going to experiment with a few tricks at home before trying any meds out on him.

We’re so incredibly happy to have such a healthy little guy~ hopefully we’ll be able to steer clear of the doc until his next check-up at 2 months. Now I’m going to sit on my couch and eat fancy cheese and salami with my husband to celebrate a job well done, Minnesota. We’re incredibly proud.

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…of the baby of course, get your mind out of the gutter, Internet. Our big anatomy scan is at the end of the week and it is just now starting to hit me that we might very well know if Sammy Davis Junior Junior is a boy or a girl by the end of the appointment. I always find it hard to get excited about these ultrasounds, mostly because I’m riddled with anxiety that the baby will be healthy and have all its major interior and exterior body parts working well and accounted for. It definitely helps that I had a scan at 10 weeks and there on the screen we saw a wee little head, and two arms and two legs flailing around, but still, it seems like so many things can go wrong and even though our combined genetic histories put us at nearly zero percent for defects or worse, stranger things have happened.

So to distract myself from the stress of those thoughts that I can’t seem to shut off, let’s relive how I found out what Rowan and Keaton were going to be because if my past has taught me anything it is ALL BETS ARE OFF, when it comes to expectations for finding out the sex of your baby.

{Author’s note~ This post some how got obnoxiously long {I seriously have a shutting-up problem, I promise to get it properly evaluated by a physician at some point}, in case you don’t want to read it or give up half-way through to save your eyeballs, I will sum up thusly: We will hopefully be finding out the sex of the baby in a couple of days and we really don’t care either way, The End.}

From a very young age I wanted only boys. I grew up in a neighborhood of boys. Boys were easy. You played in the dirt in the morning, played baseball in the afternoon, rode bikes in the evening and probably topped off the day back in the dirt. I liked playing with boys because I liked how boys played. At school I tried playing with girls, but there were just so. many. rules. And if you screwed up those rules you were unceremoniously banished from the game only to be the favorite again the next week. Though I definitely had tomboy tendencies, I liked playing girly things just fine as a kid {I did have three sisters after all, two older ones that I idolized and a younger one I liked to boss around} but I did NOT like the way girls played. If a boy was mad at you he maybe called you a stinky fart face or something similarly poetic, punched you on the arm and then you could all move on with the game. If a girl got mad at you it was a roller coaster of psychological manipulation and abuse for what could be weeks or months on end, depending not so much on the infraction but on the vindictiveness of that particular girl. This is the main reason why I wanted boys and only boys, the other small part being that, well, Christy as a teenager? Ugh. No thank you. No one needs a repeat of that shit.

When I got pregnant with Rowan, I kindly informed Bill that his only job was to ensure that I only received Y chromosomes from his supply, which I think was a pretty reasonable request, don’t you? {This isn’t a trick question, the answer here is YES.} After all, I had to have my head hanging in a toilet for months on end only to have my lady bits assaulted with something that GOOD LORD just does not seem conducive to its size. I was so confident after the pain and suffering of those first four months that little baby Jesus would bestow upon me the boy I wanted so dearly. And really when you took into account that Bill had an impressive amount of cousins that were having babies at the same time and they were all birthing BOYS, every single last one of them, absolutely ZERO GIRLS? Well, I thought we had this in the bag.

I was nervous for the ultrasound, having been so sick, but I DESPERATELY wanted to know the sex. I so needed something to carry me though the last half of that horrendous pregnancy. Finding out that the boy I had envisioned all my life was on his way was just what I needed to make the rest of the pregnancy bearable. The appointment was not at my normal OB office but at a hospital I was unfamiliar with and run by a tech that had most likely earned her certificate the day before our appointment. She wouldn’t even tell us if the baby looked healthy or not as “that’s your doctor’s job”. She made it very clear that her job was only to take the measurements and when we asked about the sex of the baby towards the end of the scan she moved the wand around my stomach in a  nervous fluster before saying she had no idea, not even a guess.

Unfortunately my next doc appointment was weeks away so I fumed and worried that entire time, angry that she couldn’t have at least given some sort of indication that everything looked okay and was functioning properly with the baby and disappointed that I would most likely have to wait until the birth to find out the sex. If there is one thing I hated at the time, it was the color yellow, as I knew that was all I was going to see for the next 4 months. When my next OB appointment finally came, my awesome doctor apologized for the shitty experience we had and quickly assured us that although the baby was on the small side, that it looked 100% healthy. He also took pity on me and ordered another ultrasound to check growth at 5 and a half months, making sure it would take place right in the office with the most experienced tech they had.

That scan was amazing. The tech pointed out every part on the baby, going over bones and organs, taking his time while letting us marvel at the beautiful little blob on the screen. He asked us if we wanted to know the sex and we said if he could see it then yes,

“Oh yeah, I can see it,” he said confidently, “It’s a girl!”

Me: …

Me: …

Me: Are you sure?

Tech: Yep!

Me: …

Me: How sure?

Tech: Very sure. I’m not legally allowed to tell you I’m 100% sure, but if this baby comes out with a penis, I will personally reimburse you for any pink baby clothes you buy beforehand.”

Me: {looking at Bill with narrowed eyes} He sounds pretty sure…{and in a hissed whisper} You did it wrong! You better start running now…

See how nice I was! I wanted to give him a head start so he had a chance to escape my WRATH. I was downright reasonable, gracious even! Once we got in the car my mom called, wanting to hear the big news first and I will admit that when I told her in an exasperated tone, “Well, the baby has ten fingers, ten toes and one fucking vagina, thanks to Bill”… it was maybe not my proudest, most mature moment. Bill and I went out for lunch where I begrudgingly admitted that the universe would probably not implode over this and I can tell you that after lunch it took roughly 7 minutes to fully get over myself because that is the time it took to get to Target where I was assaulted with so many twee little pink and purple, flowery sweet baby girl things and something in those feminine patterns ramped up my pregnancy hormones to FULL BLAST and that teeny, healthy girl residing safely inside of me? No longer felt like a curse but the most amazing gift I had ever received. It was the first time I could visualize not just a random baby but MY baby. And when they placed her in my arms, the deal was cinched. I know bonding and love comes differently for many mothers and babies, as the experiences between Rowan and Keaton varied wildly, but when they placed that child in my arms I was in love so completely, so wholly, and I never looked back.

Having this amazing girl-child in my life caused many changes for me, not the least of which was that I went from wanting 3 boys, to an army of girls. Seriously, that first year or so after Rowan was born, I would have gladly signed up to give her 9 more sisters. When we decided to start trying for another baby, I put in my order for another girl with Bill, and {maybe not so gently} told him not to screw it up this time.

Well. I guess we all know how that turned out.

It was less of a shock this time around because I didn’t have very long to get my hopes up. At twelve weeks the doctor couldn’t find Keaton’s heartbeat with the doppler so they rushed me in for an ultrasound where, along with a steady, strong heartbeat, the doctor also thought he spied a weinerhausen. He told us it was WAY too early to say with any confidence but that if he had to guess he’d say it was a boy. So at 19 weeks when we had the official ultrasound and the baby’s penishood was confirmed right away as he was NOT shy, it was not a super big surprise.

After lecturing Bill about learning to follow directions better {because really} I settled in to the rest of my pregnancy, trying to get used to the idea of a boy. I will admit that it took longer to warm up to the idea of a boy than it did to come to terms with a girl. While his family was definitely more populated with the male species, MY side was mostly girls. Who would he play with, with all these girl cousins running around? Plus I had spent the last two years learning to be a mom to a girl! Was I going to have to start all over again? How do you change a diaper with all those extra parts in the way? I felt like I was finally coming into my own in this parenthood gig and now I was headed back to square one. {And I was, but for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the baby’s sex and everything to do with his screaminess.}

To be honest, because of the severity of the colic, I didn’t really have too many thoughts about Keaton’s “boyness” until he hit about a year. Yes, baby boys pee on you. A LOT. And they pee on your bed spread and walls and drapes and floor and pretty much anything within a 10 foot radius. A LOT. But he never shot projectile warm liquid poop at my face {with my mouth agape in horror} while I was sleepily changing a diaper at five in the morning like his lovely sister did during the second week of her life so all’s forgiven.

In the end? My daughter, who I swore would be a mud loving tomboy like her mama, turned out to be a fairly accurate stereotype of a pink-loving, princess-worshiping, sparkle fashionista, American Girl-Child {although the kid’s not shy around mud or rough housing and I would never classify her as prissy}. And my son vacillates wildly between car-loving, rough-housing, sword-wielding, ALL BOY to Mr. I Do Not Care What You Think of My Sparkly Pink Toes, and can work a tutu and ponytails and strut like nobody’s business.

People often say, “oh you’re so lucky you have one of each- you can be done now!” Um, huh? Having one of each sex was never my goal {clearly} and I know that had I had two boys or two girls, I would have been just as ridiculously proud and in love with them. I totally understand that there are differences between the two sexes but in my experience people put WAY too much stock into a child’s gender rather than what really makes them them~ their own individual brand of personality.

That being said, I really DO feel lucky to have one of each. I think they benefit massively from learning from each other. They are both exposed to things they probably wouldn’t have been, had we had two of the same sex, not the least of which will be the avoidance of awkward conversations with terrible visual aids when it comes to the big body talk- there are no mysteries of the exterior appearance of the human body left to these two at this point. I can honestly say that the gender difference has in no way affected their love for each other. They truly are the greatest of friends. They love sharing a room. They don’t always love playing the same game with the same toys but most of the time they can find common ground with minimum bloodshed. I can very truly say that I am blessed beyond measure that my original gender requests went unheeded by the universe.

So this time around? I have put in no requests other than the standard wish for a healthy baby. I honestly do not care and have no clue or feeling whatsoever as to whether we are expecting a boy or a girl. Bill thinks it’s a girl based on… I’m not really sure what. Keaton wants a brother and if it were up to him, we should just throw this one back if it’s a girl, and Rowan has put in an order for one boy and one girl, so she’s going to be disappointed either way as we are already VERY SURE there is just one baby hanging out in my uterus. I entertained not finding out the sex at all and while I see why some people make that choice it is really just NOT for me and my strong propensity for impatience and planning shit. Then I entertained the thought of just keeping it between Bill, the kids and I, but who am I kidding, there are just NO SECRETS when it comes to six year olds and Rowan is so excited to find out that it would be a pretty big blow to tell her she had to wait 4.5 more months in the interest of secrecy.

Obviously, after all this blathering on, we will most likely get an uncooperative baby. I have a midwife this time around and they generally do not like to order unnecessary tests so unless we want to pony up for a private ultrasound, we’ll be left in the dark until October. And while that wouldn’t be awesome, it will be okay because I am ready for all possible scenarios at this point. I just feel so lucky to be feeling mostly alive and functioning and the reality of a third child to our little family is starting to come to light. While the thought can be somewhat terrifying, it mostly causes me to break out in a wide, stupid, silly grin for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

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{I know, leave it to me to push my summer post that’s been sitting in my drafts folder for a month, to the first week back to school when the rest of the world has firmly embraced the oncoming fall. What can I say! My timing’s less than impeccable.}

Now then! Today is the first day I really get to reap the benefits of having my afternoons to myself again and Internet? It is super quiet here. And now that I have this time where no one is asking me to wipe something or tie something etc. etc.,  I’m going to give you a quick recap of just what the heck we did all summer. Blogging was light, which was mostly done by design. Call me a liar or a sap, but I actually MISSED my kid all school year and I wanted to spend as much time soaking her up as I could, thinking I would have a giant first grader when fall came, which obviously is now not the case. So this, along with a little collaborative project with Bill that’s keeping us busy, is why I decided that blogging would take a backseat to life for a while. So here’s a quick summer highlights list, so I can finally rest easy knowing the goddamn Internet knows that we were actually productive little summerers and not just sitting at the beach…

1. The beach. Oh wait. We totally sat on the beach. Well, I guess we didn’t sit so much as swim! splash! play catch! play shark! back float! catch minnows! and frogs! and turtles! We had a standing Friday beach playdate with Rowan’s old class all summer and we tried to hit as many as possible, with other beach trips in between. There were maybe two weeks all summer that these kids weren’t there which is up 85% from last year. Most of this is due to the portability and ease of their ages right now. It used to take longer to get ready for the beach than the time we actually spent there, making it hardly worth it . Plus I’d bring back hot, whiny, greasy, sand covered, little beings and we’d all be so exhausted from the effort. This year though, the kids were old enough to accept that sunscreen application is not worth fighting over and their little arms were stong enough to help me lug all the necessary parts and pieces we needed along. At first when I put Rowan in charge of her life jacket and towel you would have thought I’d tasked her with carrying an elephant that just swallowed a hippopotamus. Thankfully she begrudgingly accepted her terrible lot in life by mid-summer.

Beach bum!

The goggles go well with that awesome Keaton smile.

2. Swimming lessons: Keaton was a little rockstar in the water and had an awesome teacher who gave him confidence and then pushed him to get adventurous. He overcame his hatred of being on his back and getting his ears full of water and swam facedown with the aid of a noodle. He loved it and learned a lot, THE END. Rowan on the other hand struggled big time. Between the ages of 3.5 and 5 she took weekly lessons at a pool in our town and ended up taking the same level 6 times. She just wasn’t getting it and the class size was big so after a ton of parent recommendations- people who swore their kids went from not even wanting to put a toe in the pool to swimming in three lessons- we forked over the dough for this new {further away! and twice as expensive!} swim school.

The first lesson went OK, but the teacher, although great for the other kids in her class, just wasn’t connecting with Rowan and she went totally stiff in the water. He sort of assured us it would get better but by the third lesson Rowan hated going and by the 5th she had a complete meltdown. The instructor took a very “eh- too bad” approach and for the money we spent we were pretty disappointed. In hindsight I totally should have spoken up sooner but I thought, these guys have such a great reputation, they must know what they’re doing, right? After filling out a parent survey the director called me and was very understanding and apologetic and offered to give Rowan private lessons for the remainder of the session which went really great. After the original instructor saw what Rowan was capable of he apologized profusely for not realizing what she needed {which was basically a 5 minute tutorial on how to hold her breath} and we ended the session on a great note, with Rowan swimming and Keaton getting darn close.

3. Dance: The only daytime activity Rowan had all summer was a 10 day dance clinic in June and a 6 day dance clinic in August. Again, this was done by design so that we could spend our days together and it was lovely. Her studio also offered a ballet only clinic but it was during our vacation so Rowan couldn’t go. Someone had recommended a little ballet school right in our town and Rowan really wanted to try it so this August she did an evening 6 session clinic over three weeks which she really loved. So much so, that this fall in addition to her comp dance classes she’ll be taking ballet at this school on Mondays because holy hell why not go to another flipping dance class.

4. Soccer: For Keaton Sir.  It was a 4 day soccer clinic that was so awful we skipped the last day which sort of sucked because he had been really excited about it and it was the ONLY daytime activity I planned for him all summer. Unfortunately the 19-year-old girl who ran his group appeared to hate soccer only slightly less than she hated 3 year olds so it didn’t really pan out. Plus there was a kid in there who was less enamored with kicking the ball and more enamored with hitting and pushing any kid who came into the vicinity of his personal space. Keaton, who has never EVER had a hitting/biting/mean streak phase, wasn’t having it and despite my pleas for him to tell the coach, he just went ahead and pushed back. Only he was bigger so it looked like MY kid was the asshole. Which OK, kind of, but not really. It was just one of those things that was so stupid because this was supposed to be sweet and fun and look at that little shit, he just knocked mah baby down again! Anyway he had karate and swimming once a week in the evenings which he truly enjoyed so blah blah it all worked out in the end.

5. Ladybugs!: So the ladybugs we, uh, I mean, The Easter Bunny ordered finally arrived the last week of July. It was, well, pretty gross to watch the larvae crawl around, poop a lot, ball up in a creepy pod and then grow a bunch of legs. But! The kids thought it was pretty amazing so I suppose that’s what counts. I guess. The silver lining is that Rowan named all the bugs Doofenshmirtz, which I thought was pretty hilarious.

The ladybugs were actually less gross than the butterflies, if you can believe it.

6. Workbooks: I bought 1st-2nd grade phonics and math workbooks for Rowan to keep her brushed up and a preschool workbook for Keaton. Rowan was not thrilled with having homework but it was good practice for her when we could fit it in, which ended up being pretty sporadic by the end of the summer. Keaton loved his workbook. It mostly focused on tracing lines which was really good practice for his fine motor skills which, honestly, sort of suck. I know he’s only three and a half but boyfriend cannot draw a straight line to save his life. We’ll probably keep this up at home once the weather maroons us in the house.

Today colors, tomorrow Harvard applications. Or Brown. Or Columbia. Or MIT. I'm not super picky.

7. The soundtrack to this summer was Chicago. Yes, Internet. I am woefully aware that the subject matter of this show is highly inappropriate for the 6 and under set and to my credit I DO skip over the “Cell Block Tango”. Both kids completely fell in love with the music, and who am I {a not-so-closeted musical geek} to stop them?! Rowan’s favorite is “Funny Honey”, Keaton’s is “We Both Reached For The Gun” and they have a shared admiration for “Mister Cellophane”. Bill, who isn’t a big fan of this particular soundtrack, was less than pleased with having to listen to it over and over every time he set foot in my car. I’m fairly certain I’m going to wake up one morning to that CD having a terrible accident under the wheels of Bill’s car. Better put it in the iPod just in case.

8. Reading: When Rowan was four I made a habit out of reading bigger chapter books out loud to her like The Wizard of Oz and the Little House books but then the focus shifted to her actually doing the reading herself and those tales were abandoned for Biscuit, Frog and Toad and Gerald and Piggy, which is fine but this summer we were given the time to get wrapped up in a series together and while I initially was ready to start reading her Harry Potter I was distracted by The Oz series while reading a post by Mom 101. I LOVED The Wizard of Oz to itty bitty pieces when I was little but somehow never realized that there were 14 other books that followed it. I picked up the Land of Oz from our library and though it took a good five weeks, I read the whole thing to Rowan {and Keaton when he would sit still for it}. She loved listening as much as I enjoyed reading it and we are now a third of the way through Ozma of Oz. I wholeheartedly recommend not just these books but taking the time to wrap yourself and your kid up in a series together. So much fun.

Other than that our time was spent playing with friends, catching butterflies, painting, playing Wii Sports {Keaton} bossing around American Girl and Barbie dolls {Rowan} {OK fine and Me. WHAT?! Somebody has to do their hair, 6 year olds are terrible at it!} and just being together. If it wasn’t for the great start to this school year I’d be completely bummed out that our summer is over. A summer that we sorely needed after last year and one that I think, we completely took advantage of.

Gratuitous photo log of summer 2011…

Butterfly hunt.

Dance party.

Walks by the river.

Gigantic slides.

{Kiddie} Pool parties.

Goat kisses. Because of course there were goat kisses.

And what summer would be complete without an epic battle over the last piece of corn on the cob. As if it will ever be the last piece since we get a fresh stock every Thursday through our CSA, but you know, it's the principle of the matter or some shit.

In one corner of the table we have a newcomer who is young but feisty and thirsty for blood. I mean corn. I mean, oh whatever he doesn't even like corn that much he just wants to piss his dad off.

And in the other corner we have the esteemed corn eating champ, who clearly means business. It was a good match but in the end there could only be one winner and I think we all know that...

The damn kids always end up with all the good stuff in our house.

Aaaaaaand, that was our summer. Hope yours was awesome too.

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Okay, where were we? Ah yes. Kids grow up, allowing you more time to drink, which is good because they shun you so much you need something to drown your sorrows in etc. etc.

Now. About the drinking.

There was no mob mentality this year, as there has been in years past, it being just the two families this go round. In my experience we need at least three of my siblings grouped together to bring about the competitive drinking that is most likely etched somewhere in our Felland DNA. However that didn’t mean that we all weren’t feeling the effects of that first drink by 11am most days because, PLEASE. This is still Cabin Vacation. This is why the Bloody Mary was invented, Internet. My cousin recently went on a cabin vacation of her own with her family, but they are not Fellands, and therefore drinking doesn’t fall under their “Pastime” category.

This conversation is paraphrased. Because I was drinking {duh} and can’t fully remember the exact dialogue.

Me: How was your vacation?

Erica: Really good! We just relaxed, read and enjoyed each others’ company. It’s not like YOUR family. I had maybe one drink per night.

Me: ##%????%##doesnotcompute###???%%

Huh?

Erica: And that one drink earned me the title of Booze Hound.

Me: But what did you do?

Erica: Like I said- I read a lot, rested and spent time with my family.

Me: But what did you DO???!!!

Erica: …seriously?

Me: I’m really confused right now.

Things were actually pretty tame except for maybe Tuesday night but you can go ahead and blame that on The Shirts. Tuesday was the only day that we had patchy, rainy weather for the most part. It was cloudy and thundery all morning so we decided to head into Longville and our first stop was at Old Man Shirt. Last year Bill had trouble finding the right fit for his ridiculous t-shirt purchase and while he was ultimately happy with Wild Stallions Running on Clouds, he ended up stumbling upon Old Man Shirt afterward and was so thoroughly impressed by his selection of terrible t-shirts that he purchased Moose Fight, which broke one of the cardinal rules of Cabin Vacation Ridiculous T-shirting, which is that you’re only allowed one shirt per year. This is why Moose Fight hasn’t received any blog air time because it is an Illegitimate T-Shirt. A Bastard T-shirt. THAT SHIRT DOES NOT COUNT. Even now it lies is shame, under all the other shirts, barely ever worn due to the scandalous nature with which it was purchased.

Ahem. So this year Bill went straight to the gold mine that is Old Man Shirt {the shop is actually called Marie Baker’s Shirts but it is owned and run by an 87 year old husband and 85 year old wife [presumably Mrs. Baker] and the husband in particular is very fond of his shirt collection, thusly: Old Man Shirt.} Bill went in with a solid idea of what he wanted which was something to do with pumas, only he pronounces it “pewma” in what I can only deduce is a strong and deep desire to be stabbed repeatedly in his sleep by me.

Here is the essence of a discussion we had regarding this before we even left on vacation:

Bill: I’m going to get a pewma shirt. I am already visualizing how awesome it will be.What do you think?

Christy: Um, NO. Because you will call it your ‘pewma shirt’ and if you do that I will have no other choice but to murder you and then divorce you posthumously.

Bill: What? WHY? Pewma is awesome. And fun to say. Come on. Say it…you know you want to.

Christy: Puma.

Bill: Pewma.

Christy: PUMA.

Bill: PEWMA.

Christy: PPPPPPPUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAA….

This might have gone on for awhile, but you get the gist right?

Anyway it was thankfully all for not, as Old Man Shirt knew exactly what shirt Bill was describing and had to break it to him that the puma shirt had been discontinued earlier in the year {Jesus Christ I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY?}. The only other obvious choice was Eagle and they had a nice matching father/son set that Bill was happy with, so it was almost time to go and then BAM. It happened. Jay purchased his own eagle shirt, while Jen went with a nice, feminine loon and we were all but out the door when Jennifer and Bill joined evil forces and not-so-quietly remarked that I would probably ruin vacation if I didn’t purchase a shirt of my own.

Me: Nope! I’m good! Let’s head out!

J&B: Oh come on. You have to at least join the wolf pack. Look at this wolf shirt! It’s Mountain quality!

Me: Yeah, that’s real nice but I like my shirts a little less wolf- heavy and a little more fashion heavy. {For the purpose of this argument Fashion=a plain white, probably stained t-shirt. That maybe also has holes.}

J&B: You HAVE to get this one… look! It has FOUR wolves howling at the moon! That’s so much more sophisticated than last year’s measly three wolves. I mean FOUR WHOLE WOLVES? When are you going to get another opportunity like this? Plus, you’ll probably ruin vacation if you don’t get one. Don’t wreck it for the rest of us, Christy. Think of the children. And the wolves.

Me: FUCK. Rowan! If mama has to wear this shit so do you. Pick out a goddamn wolf shirt.

So after we returned to the cabin I made Bill mix me a drink and I donned my very own wolf shirt and since one drink didn’t seem to be enough I just kept right on going until that shirt actually seemed pretty awesome.

That came around drink number 5 or 6, I don't really know, things are a little fuzzy there but I had four motherfucking wolves on my shirt so it didn't really matter anymore.

The Wolf Packettes. Notice how Rowan's shirt only has three wolves. That's because it isn't as awesome as mine.

We played bean bag toss and bocce ball and ended the night with a game of Bullshit that determined who would go on to compete in this year’s challenge, which was pretty much the same as last year’s challenge except it involved 38% more monkey, 100% less dead fish and an artificial, artificial mustache. I was the biggest loser in Bullshit which by all accounts should have put me in the running for jumping in the lake but thankfully for me, drunk people aren’t so good at calling the stakes beforehand so I got out of it for the 4th year in a row.

FORESHADOWING.

So Bill, Deps and Jen played Jenga, with their personal self-respect and dignity at stake.

For a bunch of drunks I was really, really impressed with how long the game lasted but alas...

it had to come down sometime.

Poor Jennifer was NOT pleased that her husband, the one and only Deputy Chief Fire Idiot, did not fall on his own damn sword and knock the Jenga tower over and I can guarantee you next time he will, but for this year, Jen ended up in the lake. AGAIN. Since we neglected to bring a fresh supply of fake mustaches, we had to improvise with a fake, fake mustache.

With washable marker. Because that is not ghetto AT ALL.

Jorie dutifully noted that we were missing a sole patch which is key when jumping into a freezing lake at one-thirty in the morning.

Jen was thrilled of course. It's the details, really.

It was a fun night. The next morning was slightly less fun, as you can probably imagine. Not that we really had time to nurse any sort of hangover as…

There were giant fish to catch, by the tall...

And the small,

and very important games to play,

and lakes to jump into.

Thursday evening we planned to have a bonfire a little before dusk, but when we went to get things started we discovered that the garbage cans by the pit hadn’t been emptied and the horse and deer flies were terrible, which is saying something because they were really thick everywhere up there this year. Every time we left the cabin we were attacked; all of us were covered with bites by the end of the 1st full day and these suckers seemed to be immune to deep woods bug repellent varieties packed with {super great for you!} DEET-y goodness. Needless to say we went ahead and skipped the bonfire, but in an effort to appease the disappointed children who felt swindled of their right to gooey marshmallow, chocolate and graham cracker desert, a new and better tradition was born, BEHOLD:

Mini-Donut-Boat-Riiiide, ya'll!

This is AMERICA! Of course we brought our own mini donuts on vacation.

I think mini-donut-boat-ride sufficiently made up for the skipped campfire and smores.

And how can you go wrong with mini donuts on a boat ride, I mean REALLY.

It was very seriously one of the funnest {albeit most stupid} things I've ever done. The wine is of course optional.

But the crazy boat hair,

and the amazing sunset are not. I recommend everyone go on at least one mini-donut-boat-ride in their lifetime.

I promise you'll be a better, happier person for it.

And there you have it, folks! Cabin Vacation Elevensies is sadly just a alcohol soaked, 4 wolved, mini-donut encrusted memory, but surely one that will keep us warm and blissfully happy…

Until next time...

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Let me start out by saying that every year these vacations get better and better and this year was by far the cream of the crop. Part of this has to do with the fact that our kids grow bigger and more independent every year, and with that independence comes more freedom for us, which gives us more quality time to spend with said children in these sweet, precious, short years. And also more time to drink. And nap. And did I say drink already?

In all honesty, it was pretty bittersweet. On many occasions throughout the week I would ask Rowan if she wanted to go on a kayak ride with me, or to the playground, or tubing and she turned me down a majority of the time, mostly because I was not an eight year old girl named Ellie, who is apparently The Shit, or whatever the elementary school equivalent of The Shit is {And you all know that The Shit is good, right? That I’m not calling my lovely niece shit? Okay. Good.} By the end of the week I was feeling pretty jilted and though really what mattered was that we were all having a blast, I sort of wish my five year old could have fit me into her Very Busy Schedule full of Very Important Things. She did go on a paddle boat ride with me, Jen and Jorie but she brought along a fly swatter and was sort of freaking me out with the furious passion of hate with which she went after the flies. I may have backed slowly away from her when we returned to the dock, for fear she’d turn her whapping powers on me.

Anyway!

We left on time and under happy circumstances around noon on July 16th. The kiddos were granted Happy Meals upon embarking out of our city which is something we don’t ‘do’. Rowan could count on one hand how many she’s gotten and I think this was Keaton’s 1st or 2nd and LOOK AT ME I WIN AT PARENTING FOR NOT GIVING MY KIDS HAPPY MEALS REGULARLY. {Now let’s not talk about the peanut butter sandwich/hot dog/spaghettios diet they’ve been living off of for the last 2 months, m’kay?} Anyway it doesn’t matter because I now SWEAR by happy meals as Strawberry Shortcake and C-3PO got along fabulously in the back seat for more than two hours, at which point they started incessantly asking if we “were there yet” so I threw them out the window into the grill of a semi {oh I’m kidding. Or am I.}

Little known fact: Paul Bunyan is a HUGE Star Wars fan. He's pretty lukewarm when it comes to Strawberry shortcake though.

Keaton was very confused by how this giant Paul Bunyan came to be sitting on that stump at a rest area in Brainerd so I very stoically told him that when giant lumberjacks get too old and tired to cut down trees or take care of cerulean oxen they look for the perfect stump, sit down and BAM, just turn into a statue. “Ohhh….” He said like he’d already known this but just forgot and it was all very confusing and then I looked up and knew I had done my dad proud. Not because he’d told me that particular story but because given the chance he would have done the same thing just to fuck with us. Your legacy lives on, old man.

The last hour of the drive was definitely the worst but all in all we did pretty well. We arrived a little after 5pm and set about trying to get our things unpacked and our beverages safely nestled in the coolers as it was eleventy billion degrees outside. This part of MN nearly ALWAYS cools down at night but not this week, people. The humidity and heat indexes kept temps in the 80’s and 90’s+, day and night, almost the whole week.

Getting into actual cabin recap times now. I’m going to try and use as little words as possible and make use of all. the. pictures. Because holy jebus there are many of them.

After dinner we headed to the beach so the kids could get in a late evening swim and we were greeted by old friends, Dodge the One-Eyed Dog, and this other guy whose back legs didn't work so well. Which didn't inhibit him from seeking out kids' sand castles and plopping down on them...

This group of ducklings was new but no less tame than last years. Keaton got into a face-off with the mama duck that I so wish I'd gotten video of. She fell backwards off the dock because she was so distracted by quacking at him {Advantage: Keaton} and then he got too close so she chased him all the way down the dock {Advantage: Mama Duck}. They seemed to come to some sort of mutual agreement after that so I'm calling it a draw.

There were festive summertime drinks {Pictured: This year's new concoction by Jen called The Smurf. All I will tell you is that it contained diet blueberry juice and it was definitely something Gargamel would have been pissed about due to it's epic deliciousness.}

We didn't forget to hydrate the kids either. Or dress them up like little hippies with real flowers in their hair.

The second day there was overcast but HOT so we spent it at the resort beach for the most  part. Monday was beautifully sunny and hotter still, so back to the beach we went, where a lot of shenanigans on the trampoline took place.

This was a little launcher thingy, where one person sat on the end while the other jumped on it to throw them off. Sadly, in a horrific turn of events, my husband could not get his ass to the end without falling off so I never got to launch him. I know. The saddest story EVER told.

Boing.

Sploosh.

CANTALOUPE! {Keaton yelled out a number of things before jumping into the water, "blast-off!" and "I believe I can fly!" among them, but Cantaloupe! was our favorite. And yes that it my tiny 3 year old jumping from a high, unstable surface into deep water. Whatofit?

Here is where I do need to break out and say that the independence factor carried over to the water this year as well. Last year the kids would jump off the dock to Bill or I but we had to be there with sturdy, open arms. This year, by day two they were both taking running leaps off the dock and in Keaton’s case, the trampoline, all by themselves. Obviously the life jackets and the little inner tubes were key here because they almost always kept their heads above water upon impact but still. This led to greater water confidence and both were dog paddling all on their own around the beach in their life jackets which was great. Keaton even jumped in with us when we took the boat out deep water swimming; jumping off the back ladder to me and then swimming back to the boat on his own, wash, rinse, repeat 400 times over. Most times kids gain their independence in such small, slow steps that we don’t even realize we’ve witnessed it, so it was pretty cool to be there front and center this time.

Photographic evidence of Rowan, who is NOT a water lover, clearly loving the water. The fact that you can see there are drops on her face and she's not writhing about in agony but smiling, is a small miracle in and of itself.

This guy was in heaven. And so fun to watch.

There are some moments in life when you hopelessly look down at the underwear your partner's left for you to pick up on the floor for the 3rd day in a row and you sort of wonder WHY you're still married. Then there are times like this when seeing him with your kids makes your heart warm, then expand in your chest and you wonder how the hell you ever got so lucky. Makes you forget about those underwear for an hour or two anyway.

I think the kids might have liked it too.

Gratuitous ring pop photo. Sometimes they're just necessary, ya know?

I’m going to have to break this into two parts so I’ll have to save the full t-shirt spread, our one and only Challenge {guess who ended up in the water? AGAIN.} And the most epic bonfire substitution ever recorded in recent history. Oooo! Don’t you love cliffhangers?

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