Thursday, October 28, 2010


Yesterday I ran into someone whose family I photographed this summer.  A few days after I photographed her family and I gave her the proofs  she had a sudden and unexplainable stroke.  Out of nowhere.  No warning, no indication, no explanation.  She was rushed to the hospital and her family was told by doctors that there was a 50% chance that she would make it through the night.  Those aren't great odds people.
This is a mother of two.  A woman who stood before me yesterday looking as though nothing happened to her two months ago - explaining to me what it was like for her.  She's not much older than me.  Her youngest is Miles' age.  She has survived.  She is well.  She is back.

But this isn't what rocked me....she went on to explain how she was so grateful that she had taken her family pictures right before that.  Because if something HAD happpened, if she HADN'T survived, those pictures would be her childrens' last memory of her.  Those I took.  The picture of her little girl leaning against her lap that she's ordering for her room.

Pictures are important, and for this to come in the wake of our own family pictures - just taken on moved me.  So now I will make a point to step out from behind the camera - to hand it over to my husband.  Not because I want more documentation of how exhausted I look, or of the sweatpants I pull on as soon as I walk in the door.  But because I need my kids to know how much I loved them.

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for babies in costumes, Community Halloween extravaganzas with cookie decorating, and best buds.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Last Straw...

Life happens.  And lately, it has been happening to me in all sorts of ways.  I could go on and on about all of the crazy things that have interrupted my life recently, but I have a sneaking suspicion that most of you reading this have had your lives interrupted in ways that I wouldn't even begin to understand.  And I don't hear you complaining. (This is of course overlooking the fact that I wouldnt' be able to hear you complaining even if you were.)

These last few days have been particularly hard for one silly, tiny little reason.  I had to disappoint someone.  I hate disappointing people.  Let me be clear that I don't hate disappointing EVERYONE....some people I really don't care whether I disappoint or not.  It's the people I love that I hate disappointing.  You know, the people you always want to be available for - the people who are always there for you - your "homies" if you will.
I had to tell my dear friend that I couldn't go to her party.  I know this sounds silly, but it isn't.  I wasn't scared that she would get mad at me.  I wasn't afraid that she would overreact and stop speaking to me.  I was afraid that this would be something much more than it was.  I was afraid it would be a turning point in our friendship.

I'm ultra sensitive about being a mom.  Before I was a mom, I had no understanding of parenthood and how it changes your priorities.  I always had the "I'm so much bigger than this" mentality.  I wasn't going to become one of those parents who forgets all about their friends and would rather spend Friday night with her children eating pizza and watching Cars with 2 of the 4 participants under the age of three and in really tight monkey pajamas.  (Okay, so I don't think that even the most independent singleton could resist my boys in their tight little monkey pajamas if Orlando Bloom (post Lord of the Rings and before Pirates of the Caribbean) was beckoning to them from across the street... I'm just throwing that out there.) 
Before I had kids I had to say "no" to nothing.  Move to San Francisco for the summer without my husband to take classes? Sure.  Open an art gallery and wine bar?  Sounds like a plan.  Go to Europe for 11 days with a pack of hormone-driven, up-until-2am-doing-Lord-knows-what 18-year olds?  I'll get my passport!  Get dressed up for a Halloween party that one of my best friends in throwing?  No question.....
Until now.  UGH.  I had a stomachache all week thinking about it.  I knew she would be okay.  I knew she would still be my friend.  But I didn't know if it would be the last straw.

Today I told her.  I told her why I was so afraid to tell her.  She of course said it was okay.  She understood.  She still wants to be my friend.  She forgives me.  She will survive her party without me.  It was not the last straw.  I should have given her more credit.  I mean after all, back when I had all the time in the world to choose my friends, I chose her.

Wordless Wednesday - The Joy of Baking, and Eating

Thursday, October 14, 2010

NOW this is starting to look familiar...

Liam at 10 Months, 9 Days Old - 12 hours away from being completely predictable...

For the past 10 months I have been worried, flustered, confused, unsure, and many other emotions - none of which equal confidence. 
Everyone that has children spends time trying to figure out what the right thing is to do when...."what is okay for them to eat"..."when do they roll over?"..."how many words should they have by 24 months."...However....I have yet to meet someone that was figuring out two firsts at once. 
I had Miles - the toddler.  What in the world is normal for a toddler?!  (I know now that NOTHING is really normal.)
I had Liam - the infant.  The unique thing about our situation is that I had a toddler, but had never had an infant until the moment Liam was born. 
Miles was 10 months and 10 days old when he came home - the same age that Liam will be tomorrow when he wakes up.

What do I have planned?  First of all, I'll know everything.  What do 10 month, 10 day old eat? Check.  How mobile are 10 month, 10 day old babies?  Check.  Why is this 10 month, 10 day old crying?  Duh.

I've been waiting for this moment so that I can start approaching this parenting thing like an old pro.  Tomorrow when Liam wakes up I will already know everything about anything he could ever need from me....BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, BOO-YAH. 

This is of course assuming that he'll wake up tomorrow a completely different little boy that is exactly like his older brother.  I'll let you know how this 10-month-and-10-day-in-the-making event goes. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

One week ago these two little boys were very sick.....
This week they are feeling MUCH better.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Miles' imitation

A few days ago I caught Miles "talking" on my phone.  He's started saying "Oh" for "hello" and paces just like Dustin.  I thought it was pretty funny, so I had to capture it.  Unfortunately I didn't catch the best part.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I have a teacher-friend (who shall remain nameless) who will sometimes lie about her days off.  For example, if we have a half day, she won't tell her husband, and will instead run to the mall to spend the afternoon eating Auntie Anne's pretzels and trying on expensive dresses at Macy's (I made that part up - I'm not sure what she does at the mall besides bask in alone time.)  I never quite understood or appreciated it...I mean, she does have more kids than me, so she definitely deserves it more than anyone I know.  But why lie?  Why not just tell your husband that it's a half-day and that you deserve to go to the mall by yourself?

Now I understand. 

It's about guilt.

Today I didn't have to go in to work until 1:00 for parent/teacher conferences.  Did I decide to go in early and work in my classroom? No.  Did I decide to give the sitter a morning break and frolic around town with my two kids?  Of course not.  Did I tell my husband that I had this gift of time?  Not until last night around 10:00pm. 
Not because he would have made me keep the boys.  Not because I was trying to pull one over on anyone.
It was because I feel guilty.  Who wants to admit that they don't want to spend their morning with their children...that they would rather be all alone in their house....sitting in their pajamas drinking coffee and blogging?  No one wants to admit that. (Which is why I think people always go overboard on social networking sites talking about how much they LOVE spending time with their kids - but that's a whole other blogging topic.)

The truth is that I am a mom.  I am a mom that tries REALLY hard to be a good mom.  But I am not just a mom.  I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, an artist, a photographer, a non-perfectionist, a hard worker, a teacher, and a thirty year old that wanted nothing more this morning than to sit in her pajamas drinking coffee in a silent house while blogging about it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I wish...

Yesterday my students asked me what I was like in high school - some 13 years ago.  I had a hard time explaining to them what I was like.  I was certainly different than I am today, but there were elements of my true self there.  I was an idealist, hopeful, typical teenager.  But my students don't understand that abstract answer.  They wanted concrete descriptions.  So this morning I made this list for them.  Things I wish I would have done differently. We all have this list.  Some people have a longer list, and some people have a much shorter list.  This is my list.

What I wish I had done differently in high school...
I wish I would have asked my parents for more advice.
I wish I wouldn't have rolled my eyes so much.
I wish I would have embraced my teenage metabolism.
I wish I would have spent less time getting my feelings hurt, and more time building up others.
I wish I would have taken more art classes.
I wish I wouldn't have ever given that English teacher any reason to call me a "typical blond."
I wish I would have convinced everyone to vote for my best friend for Homecoming Attendant b/c she deserved it.
I wish I would have showed up for yearbook pictures my senior year instead of skipping school that morning because it seemed too inconvenient.
I wish I would have hung out with my brothers more.
I wish I would have spent less time talking and more time listening.
I wish I would have tried harder in Spanish class.
I wish I would have spent more time at home.
I wish I would have had better taste in music.
I wish I wouldn't have spent so much time worrying about embarrassing myself.
I wish I would have taken more math, because I really liked it.
I wish I would have had more conviction.
I wish I would have been nicer to the detention supervisor because she didn't deserve my snide attitude.
I wish I would have tried out for the school play.
I wish I would have realized how fragile human life is.
I wish I would have spent more one-on-one time with my youngest brother...taking him out for ice cream and other treats.
I wish I wouldn't have been so bossy.
I wish I would have hung out more with the people that would later become my really close friends.
I wish I would have been nicer to my mom and dad.
I wish I would have been a better and more cautious driver.
I wish I would have stuck up for people more.
I wish I would have chosen the colors I wanted for our Junior Prom (white and champagne) instead of the other colors that the popular girls wanted (black and red).
I wish I would have told my Social Studies teacher that I admired her.
I wish I would have taken a Family Consumer Science class.
I wish I would have embraced my inner artist more.
I wish I would have told my family that I love them more often.
I wish I would have spent less time worrying about my grades, and more time worrying about what I was learning.
I wish I would have freed myself of prejudice and skepticism, and would have embraced love and acceptance.
But most of all, I wish I would have been nicer to myself.

Now, for all of you other bloggers out there...  I would LOVE to see your list - and if possible share it with my students/children.  What do you wish? Go!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Whose kid is that anyway??!!

Yesterday when I picked Miles up from the babysitters I was greeted by two little boys in completely different outfits than they had left that morning wearing.  Upon closer inspection I noticed that Miles' white shoes were now black, and there was something black encrusted deep down in his cuticle beds and under his fingernails, along with flecks of white in his hair.  I didn't even have to ask what happened before the babysitter told me....
While she was fixing lunch she sat the children down to color.  She had put all of the paint on a higher shelf (which is because my son and another little boy had gotten into it the day before and had spilled it everywhere).  What she didn't realize is that she had left the black and white containers in the craft box. When she came back from plating their lunches she returned to find that were they not only NOT coloring, but Miles had gotten into the black and white paint, and then had proceeded to PAINT EVERYONE IN THE ROOM.  Every child.  No child left behind.  They all just sat there and reveled in his artistic influence.
So my kids weren't the only ones in new clothing....every child had to be changed.
I was speachless.  I didn't know whether an apology to the babysitter was in order, or whether I should just shrug and say like I do to so many others...."well, he's a fast little guy."  I did a little of both.
Later that night when my husband went back to pick up his car, the babysitter and some other parents were outside.
One asked...."So is your son the artist?"
Hmmmm...artist...I'll take that. :)
My response? "Why yes he is." beaming.....unless you're really mad about your kid's clothes....then I don't know who he is.