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Posts Tagged ‘NaBloPopMuthaFucka’

Thirty days and we’re DONE. It was a long, late-night road but I managed one post a day for thirty {one!} days and yes I am drinking a celebratory beer at 5:30 whatofit?

Truth be told, I know that I’ve outgrown this space as a writer, but I love looking back and reading about what life was like with three year old Rowan and one year old Keaton so I know one day I’ll be grateful I stuck with it, even minimally so, to record Ezra’s first years on planet Earth.

It gets harder and harder to share Keaton’s stories and it’s damn near impossible for me to navigate through Rowan’s because I know these words will one day affect them. When I was making all the choices and calling all the shots from what activities/shampoo/cereal/books/clothes/etc they consumed, I felt like their story was my story, but that line is getting awfully blurry now so if this blog seems like The Ezra Show, it is not because my older two babies don’t continue to make me laugh, learn, bang my head against the wall and love to the fullest every day, it’s because they are beginning to lead their own way, to tell their own stories and I need to back off a little bit.

11.30.3

11.30.2

This blog is so so tiny. Only a handful of people outside of my family still read it and that is the way I’ve designed it because I just want to be careful about who consumes how I write my children. To be truthful, I’m really not worried about ruining their lives, they have a healthy sense of dry humor and they know how much I love them. What I want is for them to one day appreciate that their mom is a human being instead of a cranky robot who just says NO and CLEAN THAT SHIT UP all the time. And these pages will hopefully show them this and for that I’m very grateful.

11.30.1

I’d write more but, Internet? I am hosting over twenty people tomorrow to celebrate {TO THE MAAAAAAAAAXXXXX} Keaton’s birthday. Year five of NaBloPoMo is done. A big thanks to those who cheered me on through facebook comments and likes and to those who hid me, I solemnly promise I’ll quit incessantly linking here because even though I’m proud of my family and think it’s good for me to share my writing to keep me practiced {in curse words, if nothing else}, I don’t like bombing the newsfeed everyday just so you all can see what mess I’ve gotten myself into this time. So! I’m going to finish this beer and scrub a floor or two. Or maybe just sit on the couch and snuggle with my babies in front of the newly decorated tree. Who’s gonna look at my floors anyway? {Answer? Now everyone probably will because I just told them they’ll be really dirty. This is why I’m terrible at the Internet.}

Now here, let me leave you with a picture of a baby and a candy cane to start the Christmas season:

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It was conferences this week! You wanna know how much fun it is to bring a mobile, nap-skipping baby into classrooms with thousands of things to destroy and/or choke on? SUPER FUN. The only major snafu was when Ezra’s milk cup exploded all over Bill, the baby and the classroom floor in a spectacular geyser of coconut milk. I’m pretty sure we won’t be invited back to 2nd grade unless we have proof of a babysitter first. It is now time for you to sit back {or, uh, slowly back away by means of the handy x button} and enjoy reading about my two oldest precious little snowflakes…

First up we have Keaton, Sir:

This little guy’s report surprised me the most. I know it’s not fair to pigeon-hole your kids but if I WERE to do that, Rowan would definitely be my academic child and Keaton would be our… wiggly… uh… funny…. uh… sports-ball child. I think that about sums it up nicely. He always got great reports in preschool and was always put in the more accelerated learning groups but I guess I sort of thought that he was placed there because his teachers had Rowan as well and maybe just assumed Keaton was similar.

I know. I’m a terrible mother. But in my defense Keaton has never had the patience to sit still and work for long periods. Getting this kid to sit for a story was impossible until he was four and even now he jumps around and plays invisible swords when I read him chapters of Harry Potter. He loses interest and gets bored easily and always defaults to some physical activity involving swordplay or barrel rolls.

So imagine my surprise when his reading assessment revealed he was already working on the end of the year goal list. I have been trying to make an effort for him to read to me but man.. reading with a beginning five year old is just plain exhausting. He gets so tired halfway through that he just turns off by the end of it, making guesses instead of reading tougher words and sounding out words like “is” and “the” when he has had them memorized for months.

I really need to find some shorter books for him because I think he would get more confident if he could read in shorter bursts. I’ve tried the whole, I’ll read a page, you read a page thing, or only reading a few pages a night but the payoff just isn’t there for him then and he ends up crabby about the whole thing. I need something like the Biscuit books but more challenging and maybe with a little more stimulating subject matter. He loves Gerald and Piggy {and really, who doesn’t} but he’s read them all so many times that he doesn’t even need to open the dang book to recite the story. Of course he always wants Star Wars books but those suckers have super tricky words so I end up reading half of it for him. Right now the best ones for him are the more simple Dr. Suess ones. He can read The Foot Book, One Fish Two Fish and The Cat in the Hat and green Eggs and Ham with very minimal help from me. I’m really proud of his hard work and was so happy and surprised at how well he is progressing in reading.

Other than that? Kindergarten and Keaton are getting along swimmingly. He was sososo ready to go and really hasn’t skipped a beat since September once he adjusted to the much longer days. He loves his teacher, and absolutely adores being around people all day. I honestly don’t know how I produced SUCH a people person but wow is he ever. This is the kid I have to bribe to just gooooo beeee byyyy youseeeeelf for fiiiiiiiiive minuuuuutes, pleeeeeease. He would never ever be/play/sleep/eat do anything alone if he could help it, so school is a blessing because there are 29 other kids plus a handful of teachers he gets to spread all that love around to.

He has a half-day once a week which has been our time. I’ve tried to make it as special as I can so I pack a lunch and take him to various parks, make trips to the library or come home and play board games. Unfortunately once Ezra switches to an afternoon nap we’re going to have to switch Keaton to full-day 5 days a week which will be good for him but I’m really going to miss my time with my big guy.

Now that winter is at our doorstep, I know I have to get him involved in an outside activity. Unfortunately it just wasn’t feasible time or money-wise to keep him in dance this year. It’s been sad because he really loved it but with the dramatic increase in hours he spent at school it was the best choice for him at this point. We’re hoping to get him back enrolled in either the all boys dance group or karate and he’ll start a little basketball clinic and swimming lessons in January so that should keep him active over the coldest winter months. All-in-all it’s been a bang-up start to his formative school years.

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Now for Little Miss Rowan:

As I mentioned, academics are never an issue for this kid so we don’t really worry. She is very close to being a Step 12 reader which is where the reading assessment ends {typically for end of the year third graders}. THIS IS WHERE THE BRAGGING COMES IN, if that wasn’t clear. Because I’m solely responsible for this, right? Me, the 7 year old who still couldn’t read simple sentences. Whose first grade teacher took pity on me and kept me in for recess to give extra help. I got it eventually and when I did I soared, I loved reading… but I was no Rowan. Her comprehension is phenomenal. She’ll read and {this is important} understand pretty much anything you lay in front of her.

We asked her teacher for a few reading suggestions because she absolutely devours books so quickly that I have a hard time keeping her challenged, but by the fourth or fifth one she suggested to our responses of “yep, she like that one” “read it” and “Yeah, she’s finished the whole series”, Bill was like, see! this is exactly our problem. She was stumped for a minute or two but after a good laugh she thought of a few titles Rowan has yet to read so the girl should be set for a while.

We moved on to math, where Rowan has bounced back and then some from last year. In first grade she was put in the most fast-paced math group and she struggled big time with the timed homework. They had 5 minutes to finish 100ish problems and it was really overwhelming for her. She spent the whole year getting more and more nervous about it until the end when she just quit trying all together. This kid had ended the first semester report with a strong “meets expectations” and by the end of the year she got the lowest score possible. When I talked with her teacher, who had left on maternity leave a few weeks before the end of the year, she was sure Rowan would bounce back fine, and thought the low assessment scores were due to the disruption of her leaving {Rowan was very close to this teacher and was not happy to be getting a sub}.

When we saw she was placed in the middle instead of the top math group at the start of this year we were relieved. The pressure and the pace was just too much for her very careful, perfectionist personality. She definitely has her confidence back. We did have one issue, however. The 64 question timed homework is the same sheet of  problems in the same order which they get about four times a week. They have 5 minutes to finish the sheet and seemingly overnight Rowan went from finishing in 4 and a half minutes to finishing in two and a half. “WOW, Rowan! That was quick!” “I know, Mom! Aren’t you proud!” “Yes! I can’t believe how much faster you’re doing these!” “Oh! It’s easy! See, the answers are always the same! So I know to just write 6,4 18, 7, 3, 15, 2…” “Uh… aren’t you reading the problem? “Why would I read the problem when I can just memorize the order of the answers?” “Oh, Rowan. I don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to do it.” “Why WOULDN’T you do it that way, it’s way easier!” *so much head-shaking* Sure enough, the next time she did the sheet I watched her carefully and she blew through the first three lines, having memorized the answers. Needless to say, I notified the teacher of this, um, tactic, for homework completion, and she said, “Huh. that’s the only sheet they offer because they want the kids to see the equation and immediately associate the answer. I always wondered if kids figured out that they were always the same.” Yep. Leave it to our kid. Lovely.

Last year was a tougher year friend-wise for Rowan because of the dynamic of her particular class. Unfortunately Rowan got drawn into this mid-year a bit because she really liked a few of the girls so she tried to play “the game” of who is allowed to play with who and on what day but after way too many mean-girl tactics {in FIRST grade. Seriously.} she had to give up on the group which was a tough call she made herself and she moved on to a smaller group of drama-free girls which she has very happily stuck with ever since. Thankfully this year has been awesome and her teacher said that even though she definitely has a few close friends she spends most of her free time with, she is a good friend to all her classmates and well-liked.

She has even become somewhat of a mentor to the kids who struggle. She has noticed since starting at this school that her teachers often sit her next to the kids who need a little extra help. Once and a while she’ll get frustrated by this if her seat partner is a little too rambunctious but she understands it’s because she can stay on task and be a helper even if there is a little chaos around her {this is a complete 180 from how she was when she first started school at five, she couldn’t handle ANY disruption}. One boy in particular has been having a hard time but since her teacher sat him next to Rowan, she has taken him under her wing and he’s been really benefiting from her friendship, and she really likes him as well.

This is one more reason I love this school so much. They are so big into positive attitude, reinforcement and character building as well as academics. And listen, kids are still kids. Mine make dumb mistakes all the time. They can be jerks to Bill and I and jerks to each other… we all have our days. But they are learning some valuable things about not just being a good student but about being a good person and that I’m really thankful for.

Other than that, it’s dancedancedance for this lady. She’s struggled a little bit to keep up with the flexibility and acro moves which caused a rough start this year. She kept thinking she there was just no way she would ever get them, but then, she just…did it, and no one was more surprised than her. The look on her face when came back upright after her first walk-over was “oh shit! did that just happen?!” It was pretty priceless to witness after months of failed-attempts. She has a great group of girls in her line who she really likes and has become close to one in particular so that was a big help getting through the toughest parts, but I think she’s now officially turned the corner from the “no I can’ts” to the “welp, it’s gonna be a lot of work but I know I cans”.

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There you have it! These two have done such a great job. After we got the report cards, we told them we’d take them out to a fancy family dinner. “Because we’re so smart?” Keaton asked, and I had to say, NOPE. I loved all the 3s and 4s on their report cards, but it was what we saw in the teacher’s comments that got them a crab and lobster dinner. Compassionate, good friend, role model, helper. Proud doesn’t begin to cover it.

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11.28.1

Jammies, parade and couch snuggles all morning. I like the food as much as the next guy, but this, THIS, is the best part of Thanksgiving.

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Before I dive into Ezra’s monthly blah blah I just want to describe to you the moment I just had… My blood started pumping so hard it filled my head, my palms became clammy and my hands started shaking. My chest went tight and I felt like I could feel every single hair on my entire body as I tried to catch my breath. Slowly I attempted to regulate my breathing as I clutched my pounding head in my hands, the only thought swirling around in there… my god. I’m going to have a highly mobile, non-verbal 13 month old and a Christmas tree in my house at the same time for 5 weeks.

AND THEN I DIED.

Which I’m actually quite thankful for because death is a far easier thing to deal with than a baby, that I just know will figure out how to scale the gate I will inevitably have to put up, whose main goal in life will be to take that tree OUT. He will maim the branches. Pull off the needles and eat them. He will get too close, poke his eye and then cry like it was the tree’s fault. Then he will get mad and try to hit the tree but when that won’t prove satisfying he will try to push it and when he realizes the branches just spring back, only to hit him in the face again, he will charge that sucker in a fit of horrifying toddler rage and knock it over. Or he might just look at it suspiciously, like what’s this giant pokey green thing doing in my house and then largely ignore it. I’m betting on option one though and wow, I am feeling all of the fear now, just ALL OF IT.

Alright, time to reanimate so I can throw some bullet points up about mini-budders month of twelve, stepping away from the inviting, warm, glowing orb of light in 3…2…1…

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This month in Ezra!

* The biggest change for our guy was the room swap which I think he’s adjusting to fairly well. Unfortunately we did this at sort of a crappy time for him developmentally as he was definitely starting a sleep regression, getting ready to drop a nap and cutting his molars. It was either now or after Christmas though and I really just wanted to get the whole mess out of the way before the holidays. He’s had a few rough nights but it hasn’t seemed to impact the older two at all and most times the wake-ups can be resolved with a simple re-corking of the nuk.

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*naps. Ah, naps, BANE of my existence. Since he was nine months old, Ezra has been insistent on napping right at 9:30am after a 6:15 wake up. Since he is so spotty on whether he’ll then follow that early morning nap with a late afternoon nap, I have been trying since September to push back the morning nap. This would give him a more balanced spread of awake time~ that 7 hour stretch of no nap is very rough on all of us. He would NOT have it though. If I tried to push the nap back any more than 20 minutes he would lose his ever-loving mind, and then when he would fall asleep he’d only go down for 45 minutes instead of his regular 2-2.5 hour rest and then still refuse the afternoon nap. Forty-five minutes of sleep during a 13 hour stretch for an infant is not a sustainable schedule. Of course now this week, that of the holiday in which I need him to sleep in the morning otherwise wreak havoc all over our Thanksgiving plans, is the time he chooses to skip the morning nap in favor of reaching over and banging the wood blinds against the window frame and giggling maniacally for 40 minutes until I finally give up and pull him out. He of course went down smoothly at 12:30pm, exactly the time we need to be out of the house and on our way to a day of family stuffs. GAH, this is stressing me out.

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* Teeth! After getting 8 teeth between 6.5 and 9 months we had a blessed break until last weekend. He came home from his grandparents’ house with a fever of about 100 and a runny nose which sent me into a panic because of the upcoming holiday and the fact that he had just gotten over a stupid cold that lasted over two weeks. He woke up a number of times that night, needing tylenol, a cuddle and a nuk but by the morning the fever had vanished and in its place I felt the corner of a branny-new molar poking through. UGHUGHUGHUGHUGH. As you may recall, molars are my least favorite things about toddlers. It’s gonna be a fun few months.

11.26.2

{*This photo series brought to you by dumdums, aka: the only way to get a baby to sit still for more than three seconds.}

* Food. Everything gives him a damn rash around his lips. EVERYTHAAAAAANG. We have to put petroleum jelly around his mouth before and after every meal and even then he still gets red and irritated. Before nap and bed times he also gets either a prescription strength hydrocortisone or a combo of lotrimin, neosporin and regular hydrocortisone, which may lessen the redness and irritation briefly but it certainly hasn’t helped to heal it.

We can’t figure out one thing as the cause. He reacts to carrots, citrus and tomato, it definitely gets worse when he is teething and really really bad when he has any dairy. Do you know what toddlers live off of? Whole milk. That makes this whole “keeping the kid alive thing” a little trickier. As if one child with a dairy problem wasn’t enough, now we have a second. I just don’t get it. Bill and I ate ALL THE THINGS when we were little and neither had any food sensitivities or allergies. We exposed all our kids to a variety of foods at appropriate times to minimize the chances and Rowan, my picky child, remains completely food allergy free. The boys would eat anything but can’t and it is maddening too have to pay over seven freaking dollars for a package of dairy-free cookies or snacks. This week his mouth flared up so bad he looked like The Joker, so I finally broke down and am committing to a month of dairy free for him, let the vanilla flavored coconut milk commence. He does still breastfeed twice daily. I was able to drop the before-bed feeding with no problem for him or myself. His need for a morning and afternoon feeding is still pretty strong so I’ll just be following his cues on when he wants to wean from that.

11.26.6

* Ezra has gone from new drunk baby walk to stealthy, speedy drunk baby walk. He still stumbles at times but he can go FAST, and now rarely, if ever, breaks out into a crawl. {RIP cute and creepy baby franken-crawl, I will miss you.} Now that walking is fairly mastered he has started to move on to climbing. Lord help me, Internet.

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* Language. Welp. Not much progress was made this month. He makes a vaguely familiar sound when he’s trying to say a word, like “guk” for his rubber duck, “sss sssk” for sock and other similar things but he still doesn’t say anything discernible. The exception being thank you which is a relatively easier to understand “tink ye” as he hands you toy after toy. No intentional ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ or ‘more’ or ‘uppy’ even though we repeat the words and use the baby signs all day long. Listen kid, I think it’s highly adorable you’re trying so hard to say the name of your ducky but maybe let’s focus on something more practical like “up” so you can stop trying to wedge your body between me and whatever I’m standing next to so that you can hang off my shirt and scream. Forming a u and a p sounds with your mouth seems so much easier than these shenanigans.

His sound effects repertoire has become very impressive though and his receptive language and ability to follow instructions continues to grow every day. He is also starting to point much more than he was last month so I’m holding out hope this doesn’t turn into a ‘thing’. {And I know there are tons of you out there with kids that didn’t make a peep until 18 months or later but when your other two kids were absolute motor-mouths at this age… well, the difference is huge and worth paying attention to.}

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To sum up, at 12 months Ezra loved: Meowing, walking, dance parties with his siblings, brushing his teeth, baths, snuggling blanky, eating cake, going to the playground, raiding the cupboards, sneaking into the bathroom to inspect the wastebasket and remove anything he didn’t think should be thrown away {i.e dirty kleenex} and removing and hiding his socks. {Where are all the damn socks baby? No, seriously, you only have one and a half pairs left.}

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This month has been one of your most adventurous ones yet. It’s been SO fun to watch you explore the world on two feet. One of my favorite things to do this month was to bundle you up, set you on the sidewalk and just let you go. Seeing your little body bob up and down as you carefully lifted your feet in a kind of slow-paced, very deliberate march, filled my heart up to the very top. You are so happy outside {in the wild. Yep, this is total foreshadowing of your personality isn’t it?} that I’m a little frightened of being trapped indoors with you for the next 5-6 months. We’ll get through though {if the Christmas tree doesn’t kill mommy} {again} and I can’t wait to see you racing up and down those sidewalks come spring. We love you, pal.

11.26.8

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So! Look who learned a new skill while I was cleaning off his high chair after lunch! I don’t want to be all *NEWSFLASH* Against all odds, small child hoists himself up by his boot {one moccasin} straps to conquer monstrous living room furniture in unforgiving conditions... But, well, I’m sort of gonna be like that…

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This wouldn’t be a big deal if he knew how to correctly dismount the couch when it was time. When Ezra is on my bed with me he knows to slither down the side feet first but something about the couch just screams HEAD FIRST! to him which yields unpleasant results. He’ll learn. This little guy is a smartypants to the first degree but in the meantime… it’s gonna be a bruise filled few weeks. I’m thinking of just lining the floor with pillows until he turns three.

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This is how I spent my day internet…

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That’s right. With the Monster Closet of Death. Oh God. It is just a wall of eight years’ worth of LIFE. I’m pretty sure I swore I’d never let it get this bad again but you know what happens when you create another miraculous human life? You also accumulate miraculous amounts of shi- I mean stuff. Lots of shitty stuff. Oh crap, I think I was trying to avoid cursing there. Oh well. So you know that moment when you finally clear out the closet but then all of its contents are spread out in gigantic piles all around your house and all you want to do is cry and move far far away from it all? Yeah. That’s what I was feeling here:

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…Punctuated nicely by my second born, who kept creeping ever-so-quietly behind piles of junk, jumping up and shouting BOOOOOOO at the top of his very high-functioning lungs. I briefly threatened to look up orphanages in the phone book but then he said “What’s a phone book?” and I lost my will to threaten him further, for the laughing and the wonder at how much different life is for these small people. After MUCH to-do and a little help from Radio-Lab, This American Life and two Bloody Mary’s, I finished…

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I know that all said and done it doesn’t look that impressive but trust me on this one. This is a closet that slopes downward under our entryway stairs. It is neither wide nor long enough but it happens to be the ONLY storage space for a family five we have in this entire house. I want you people with basements, extra rooms and/or storage closets full of shit to close your eyes and imagine putting all of that in one tiny, angled walk-in closet. It is the ultimate game of tetris, especially when you have to pull out your seasonal things every 2-3 months and if that seasonal item has migrated to the back GAME OVER CHRISTMAS IS RUINED, ALSO YOUR LIFE.

Balance in the force of the entryway was also restored and we are now semi-ready to put up Christmas decorations next Friday and host our family for Keaton’s 6th birthday..

11.24.4

Well, I’d write more but I need to go get really drunk* so I can effectively rid this day from my memory. I hope you understand, Internet.

*And by “get really drunk” I mean, have a glass a wine and fall asleep on the couch. This is what drunk is to old people.

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1. I just ate a giant burrito and my brain has officially turned to mush as my whole body is focused on digesting it. The mushy brain was for a good cause though since today the local Chipotle gave half the proceeds of purchases to Rowan’s dance studio {which is moving in January to a new, non-creepy-70s-strip-mall location} and needs help raising funds for dance floors, which are ridiculously spendy. Starting in January when I go in to watch her I can rest easy knowing my stomach helped the studio.

2. Bill and I ditched the oldest at dance and the boys with grandma and grandpa so we could catch the 11:20am Catching Fire. Rowan has dance from 11-3:30 on Saturdays {I know. I KNOW.}. I usually sit at the studio for a good portion of that time in case we need to go in and record her dances, or just to give her a quick hug between classes but we skipped out for a day date and I felt really guilty for leaving her on her own. However I quickly recovered when I realized the theater had replaced it’s regular seats with barcalounger stadium seating. Umm… kid-free popcorn-fueled entertainment with roomy seats that recline and cushy armrests that I don’t have to share? Rowan, WHO.

3. The movie was really good. It followed the book exactly and I’m not normally one to even notice unless they are egregiously bad, but the special effects were impressive. My favorite part though, was the row of preteen girls in front of me who exclaimed to each other in the loudest whisper possible, “DO YOU SEE THAT?! THEY’RE KISSING?!”, every time J-Law made out with a co-star. It was annoyingly adorable.

4. Ezra came home from his day of being ditched with a fever and his wambulance cry in full swing wherein he actually sounds like a siren. It’s a combo of whine and cry with a cadence of EEEEEEEEoooooooEEEEEEEoooooooEEEEEEEEooooooo. It’s not loud but he drones on and on and onandonandonandon and it’s driving me B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

5. After the kids go down we will continue our current tv binge watch which happens to be Sons Of Anarchy. This show was a bad choice to follow Six Feet Under, which was basically devoid on action and all high emotional drama where nothing and everything seems to happen within each episode. And that ending… best thing I’ve ever watched as far as TV goes PERIOD. Because of this, SoA was really hard to get into, so much so, that as we were winding down on season one I told Bill I didn’t want to keep watching, but then HOLY HELL. Every episode became a trainwreck of a life or death situation and I started to care about the characters {which like SFU, are all incredibly flawed and fairly shitty human beings at times}. It has become so intense that I made Bill also download the first season of Friends to watch in tandem so I can restore balance and get a better TV equilibrium.

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