Monday, December 12, 2011

pups and heels.

love this photo from my sister's session that we did for her housewarming invitations. 

it was almost exactly as i had envisioned during my planning.  except for the fact that my little pup niece, talullah, wouldn't sit still ...

can't really blame her ... she was only a few weeks old and just over a pound!

linking up to i {heart} faces ... this week it's all about animals!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

in which I realize that i'm absolutely terrified of mice ...

& that my husband doesn't really care.

oh my, y'all ... I'm not entirely certain what woke us in the first place ... but ...

i heard cats playing. squeak.
cats rustling. squeak squeak.

& then, the husband that pretty much has no hearing left after being bombarded by airplane noise day after day ... said, "what's that noise?" ...

"it sounds like a mouse."

& then you know that screeching record sound?
& the feeling of every hair on your body standing tall?
& your heart speeding into overdrive?

yeah. that.

let me preface this story by telling you about a "mouse" in my house years ago.

I was all, "oh, what's that on my floor?" & i bent closer down until my nose was practically touching the floor ... and just as i was about to reach out and touch it because i was unaware of what that THING was ... i noticed that it was a nose with whiskers. attached to a skull & a spine.
like some freaky cartoon where a kitty pulls a mousey appetizer through it's teeth.

I promptly grabbed the closest tupperware. slammed it over the top of the "mouse". put a gigantasaurus dictionary on top. & called my dad. to come and help me.  and then i pretty much sat in the corner rocking.

so, this. tonight? it's a big problem. it's alive. it squeaks & it's in my bathroom.

heart racing, palms sweating ... I kind of (not really) casually ask jeremy if he's gonna go get it. to which he responds, "i don't see you jumping out of the bed to get it *harry houdini."

but he didn't really say harry houdini ... I think he said some track & field athlete. but I don't really know because i'm not a track & field fan ...
& because i was FUCKING SCARED out of my mind.

so he got out of bed. (finally) & so did I (to show camaraderie). and I stood on the step we have for my bed. but then I couldn't get off the step because I was freaking out. and I really wished that I slept in socks because apparently socks give you courage when dealing with mice. but my socks were across the room in the drawer, so no luck there.

jeremy went in search of ... something. & he was gone for a really really long time.

& then he came back and asked if I'd found something to catch it with. but I pretty much hadn't moved, so he just got pissy at me and left again.

he left me standing on my poor pathetic little step wishing for socks.

so I stood at my post watching to make sure that nothing left the bathroom. 
and i watched and i watched and i watched.

and made a plan.

my plan was that if it came running at me, i would either jump onto the fan and hang from the ceiling
i would sail through the air, over the mouse, run into finn's room grab him. take him into the girl's room. stuff dirty clothes into the space between the door and the floor. and hide out there until the mouse was gone or died of old age.

i'm just gonna come out & say it. i really don't love mice and they can die if they live in my house.
i think i would much prefer to have the littles living in my walls.

wait. maybe I should rethink that statement.
because even though the littles are cool & resourceful & stuff, it might not be awesome having a crapload of little people living in your walls.

plus also? I don't have any thread spools and thimbles lying around, so they'd have to use those little plastic pizza box things for tables and legos for chairs, which wouldn't be as homey.  and probably uncomfortable.
but i think they were pretty much made up ... so i don't have to worry about that right now.
oh crap.  finn whimpered. and i pretty much couldn't move. so i willed him back to sleep. with my mind.  it worked.  whew.

and then i secretly prayed that the mouse wasn't gnawing on his sweet little baby face.

jeremy came back, finally, empty handed. again. and I reminded him about the puke bucket in the cupboard that he could use to capture the mouse and he asked how he would pick it up and I said
"slide a freaking piece of paper or cardboard or something underneath!"
thinking, "i'll gladly find cardboard, if you would just cover up the mouse, first ... so that I can move."

but instead, he rushes off to find cardboard ...
but not before seeing the mouse & exclaiming, "oh that's a big one"

oh fuck, thanks.

new plan.
if it comes at me ... i'm running out the back door & moving to a new house with 3 bathrooms and 42 cats.  so that at any given moment there will be at least one bathroom without a mouse living in it.

i watched the doors.

husband came back with cardboard. grabs the puke bucket.
and can't freaking find the mouse.
so i offer suggestions.
to which he responds, "i don't really want to hear anything from you."

because apparently ... he forgot that men are supposed to always save their wives from scary mice.  i swear, don't you have to pass that test in boy school before you are allowed to become a man?  i thought there was a whole chapter titled "Saving Your Wife From Creatures".  and included tips for keeping mice, snakes, axe murderers and spiders away from your wife.


currently, i've made it to finn's room. i'm vowing never to sleep again & i'm never using the bathroom again.
and i totally, of course, have to pee.
edited to add ...
ok.  fine.  maybe he does love me ... because when i woke up ... i asked him to come and help me pee.  and first he said no.  but then he went and turned on all the lights and then peed first to make sure that it wasn't hiding in the toilet.  he didn't hold my hand while i peed, holding a broom and standing watch over me ... like i would have preferred ... but i think maybe he does care ... a little bit.

Monday, November 28, 2011


i knew from the moment that she exited her cocoon of a bed that she was still tired. 
so tired.

she fell into a heap of tears because of ... something. 
{i have really no idea what it was}

and then she sobbed because we were heading to pick up grandma for a day at the zoo.
{i still don't really understand why}

and she was full of smiles and laughter and love and joy and happy.
{and all of those other nice positive filled words}

but throughout the day i found myself quietly whispering ... she is so tired.
she is just really so tired.
excusing her from my frustration with her just being four-ness.  her tiredness.  her tears.  her flipflopping happies and sads.
or trying to.

i have days where i feel like i'm totally and completely failing everyone that relies so heavily on me for oh-so-many things.
and days where i kinda pat myself on the back for maintaining composure and managing 3 children.
i was kind of patting myself after accomplishing zoo in 2 hours.  with 3 non-crying children.
wherein i (thankfully had mom along ... but still) managed to encourage curiousity.  answer questions.  create questions.  ask questions. 
i was *that* mom.
and it felt so freaking good.

grandma invited us all over for dinner. 
so we managed to get finners there napless.
and managed to put him down.
and managed to eat peacefully.
{which isn't always accomplishable when finners is around}

and then it was time to leave.
probably *past* time to leave ...

and cora lost it.

she's so tired.
she is just really really tired.
i whispered to noone but myself.

and i herded everyone to the car.
and went back for her.

i've taken to calling her my "pickle in the middle"
i don't know.
i hated that game as a child.
it's like the outsides are teasing you and taunting you.  and there just really isn't any sure way to get that ball from their hands.  i feel nervous and clicky and anxious thinking about it. 
i hate that game.
but that girl has my heart. 
i love that girl.

i went back for her and scooped her up ... sobbing.  crying. ... picked up her purple boots and carried her to the car after her pitiful goodbyes to the grandma that she didn't want to see today anyways but was super excited to see when we saw her.

she continued the whimpering and the crying ... as we drove home. 

finn was noticeably worried about her ... and i heard his sweet little voice from the backseat ...


and i watched as he reached out his little bitty hand to her and just simply held hers for the remainder of the ride home.

i cried.

i cried alone quietly ... because i know that i can accomplish things like zoo with three kids.  and dinner from nothing in the cupboard.  and studying for spelling tests.  and reprimanding snooty almost 8 year olds.  and managing bedtime.  and up-all-nighters.  and no coffee creamer kinds of mornings.

but my success as a mama rested alone in his reach for her to comfort her when she was hurting.

tomorrow they will probably fight.

i'm sure someone will be tired.  really really tired.
or teething.
or just snooty.
or crabby.
or sick.

because someone always is.

and i'll probably find something else to take pride in.  and i'll probably kick myself for doing something else. 

i wonder where she gets it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

burrowing in ...

for the {shhhh!} ...


burrowing in.
simmering soup.
falling leaves.
dancing together.
billowing blankets.
watching movies.
drinking cocoa.
crackling bonfires.
baking breads.
reading books.
painting projects.
darkening nights.
shortening days.
cuddling close.
listening tunes.
playing piano.
making plans.
enjoying family.

that's just a bit of what we've been up to. 
winners of the shutterfly cards were 6.  1.  and 3. 
and i do have pictures of the random number thingamajig that i took ... but i really don't want to have to go and upload the pictures ... so can we all just agree to agree.

i'm going to do my best to go and let those people know ... BUT ... i need them to send their emails to me so that i can send them their codes ... so if i don't receive an email by wednesday ... i'll probably have to pick a new person ... k?

everyone happy??


winners are ...

number 6 ...
little.birdy said...

Merry and Bright grabbed me!
November 9, 2011 5:41 AM

number 1 ...
darcie said...

I'm a huge fan of shutterfly - obvi! But how on EARTH does one pick just 1 design? aye aye aye.
I loove me some Christmas cards!
November 8, 2011 10:13 PM

and number 3 ...
Terumi said...

What a great contest! Love photo cards:)
November 8, 2011 10:29 PM

heading t'bed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

once upon a time.

once upon a time ... i was able to get things done.

i may have even been able to send out a christmas letter detailing the events of our not-yet-married life with two cats and one bird. 

oh yes.  i was *that* person.

if you were lucky?
i included a photo.

and then ... oh ... about ... seven years, one month and 11 days ago ... something changed.
i had a baby.  (hi stella!) and ever since then ... i cannot for the life of me get anything done early. 
on time?  yes.  sometimes.  early?  rarely.

and so that is why, my friends ... we have resorted to sending out valentines day cards.  they pretty much look like i'm trying to be quirky and different and funwe are fun!!  no!  really!! we are!!!
but honestly ... i'm pretty much too busy scrambling to purchase gifts and shove the kids in front of santa to be worrying about sending you a christmas card.

my friends over at shutterfly have generously offered to give a few of us the opportunity to get christmas cards.  on time. 
like ... if you are one of the winners ... you'll pretty much be able to go ahead and order your cards ... and send them out and be the first person on the block to send out christmas cards.


you can be like me and just order your valentine's day cards all early like ... and give yourself a few months of sitting around and doing absolutely nothing (ha!) before you actually have to lick the envelopes and slap a stamp on them. 


now ... if you pretty much FORCED me to make a decision for a card to get out by christmas ... and you promised to come over to my house with wine and maybe a spiked punch drink that i had all warm and christmasy like the other day ... and you vowed to write all of my addresses and lick all of my envelopes and place all of my stamps in the upper right hand corner ... i might just pick this as my favorite.

(it's the confetti jacks christmas card.  super adorable.  plus not TOO christmasy.)

then again ... i just spent the last 25 minutes looking at all the super cute and adorable and lovely options over there ... take a look over here ...

and then ... i'm probably going to spend another few hours pouring over all of these cute gift ideas

or ... OR!  these calendars.

note to any family members reading this post ... you might just want to put your gift requests in the comments section ... it will be so much easier for me to find prior to december 24th when i would usually scramble to put together something for you.  and honestly ... if you want to just go ahead and order your own present, slap my name on it and send me a bill ... i'll take that option too.
i'm kidding.  seriously.
but it's really not a bad idea.
i'm kidding, though.  i totally love shopping.  especially at christmas time.
ok.  now i'm having heart palpatations.
remember my last christmasy shopping trip?

at this point ... we're all just going to go ahead and assume that shutterfly will never again ask me to be a spokesperson for them because i'm rambling about gifts and shopping and breastfeeding babies.  yes.  those things are all related.

and on a sidenote?  i'm fairly certain that this is going to be my card this year. 

it's the 'love and whimsy' card.

but probably with pictures of my family.  unless they won't sit still. 


shutterfly has given me the chance to give three (3!) of you a set of 25 of *your very own* cards to hand out this holiday season ... so ... go ahead and leave me a comment after you go and visit over at shutterfly to pick our your most favorite card ...

it's gonna be a hard decision ... you might want to put the kids to bed first ...

i'm going to close this contest on ... sunday 11-13-11 at 11:59 pm.  pretty much because i don't work on monday so i can find some random number picker thingy and have it pick three numbers from the probably really high number of comments that i'm going to get ... (ha!) ... because shutterfly mentioned something about my "influential blog" and that kinda makes me giggle.  (do i really influence you?  that seems a bit crazy to me.)

got that?
cute cards.
valentine's day?
win 25!
send them!
best holiday season ever.


** obviously ... this post is sponsored by shutterfly.  they were generous enough to give me a few cards to hand out this year.  and super nice enough to give me a few to give to you ... and even though they were kind enough to do all of that ... the opinions of how cute their cards are ... are actually mine.   

** “Are you a blogger? Want a chance at 25 free cards this holiday season? Register here:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

where i'm from ...

i am from a teeny house with front railings that doubled as my noble steeds, from a child sized library full of golden books and saturday night taco bell followed by pirate ships at the park.

i am from the deliciously scented lilac trees abundantly painted in their hues of purples and whites and the ant covered peonies blooming in wild pink bunches across the backyard.  from the yellow butter loving of dandelions and the wisps of their seeds as we blew them into the wind.
i am from frequent "i love yous" and selective shyness, from alice and doris and kristi and so many other mamas that came before us and paved the way for us to be amazing at what we do.

i am from the wish to fade into the background of busy-ness and the desire to truly connect with my friends in quiet spaces and places.  i am from creative energy and color.  i am from connections and love and smiles.

from "i am proud of yous" and so many more "i love yous".  from hugs and kisses and powerful nonverbal communication that said so much more than words could simply say.  actions.
i am from here and there faith and the realization that faith and religion are a part of something so much larger and so much less defined.  less confined.  less.  and sometimes more.
i'm from norway and minnesota, lefse and grandma's chocolate chip cookies.  with milk of course.

from the kinda sorta hippy-ish parents that worked together at kentucky fried chicken when they were younger (my dad actually mixed the secret spice recipe once ... though he has no idea what was in it), the grandmother that molded the lives of so many children through teaching, and the grandmother that raised so many children with the family need for quiet aloneness in a house that was anything but. 
i am from pictures and frames bombarding the shelves.  from portraits and artwork adoring the walls.  i am from boxes and boxes of family memories.  and intricately cut out silhouettes of my sister and i hanging in my mama's bedroom to this day.

i am me.
and i am a part of all of this.
and it ... is a part of me.

... i wish i could remember where this came from.  it's been sitting in my posts to be finished pile for quite some time.  it called to me so i rambled out the answers rather quickly.  do you know where it came from originally? 

where are you from?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


i feel like i'm drowning in my days.
i dive in as soon as my eyes flutter awake.  straight into the depth of the morning ... coffee.  shower.  closet.  "good morning." breakfast.  clothing.  "gym, today?" make up.  teeth.  kisses.  love yous.

out the door. 

i hit the ground running on a tuesday morning.  which is my monday ... but still.  i'm constantly playing catch up from the days before.  meeting.  paperworking.  computering.  emailing.  calling.  scheduling.  reading.  therapizing.  nodding.  gathering.  shifting.  smoothing.  extinguishing.  driving.  listening.  talking. 

and i often quickly run home for kisses and cuddles and lunch.

and then i head back to another location or two for more meeting.  paperworking.  computering.  emailing.  calling.  scheduling.  reading.  therapizing.  nodding.  gathering.  shifting.  smoothing.  extinguishing.  driving.  listening.  talking.

dinner.  and homework. and bedtime.  and chores. 

and life.

this is all just to say ... damn.  life is freaking hard.  it's busy and chaotic and rushing and wonderful and full.

so. full. of a lovely chaos.  that i rarely have time in my day to sit and get out the words and the creative mumbo-jumbo that eats me up inside late at night.  i think in words and colors and textures.  i dream of what i would say, what i might say, what i will say.  my fingers long to tippity tap out words for noone but myself.  because if i don't they might not get said. 

is my life any different than yours?

do you feel like you are sometimes drowning in your days?

is that just who we are as mamas??

did my grandmother ever feel like this as she ushered 12 little lives from morning to night?
i'm drowning.  and sometimes i don't feel like i'm going to survive the depth of the waters.  i feel like there is so much i want and so much i need and so much that i'm doing ... but there are certain things that are absolutely just not an option to give up.  because they feed my soul.  there are crazy things that i do late into the night when the house is quiet and the world has slowed down.

i kiss sleeping heads.
i write.
i play with photographs.
i whisper to myself.
i make milkshakes.
i breathe.
i take bubble baths.
i stretch.
i make hopes for tomorrow.
i forgive myself for today.
i sit.
i read.
i wonder.
"you are a good mommy," she tells me.
"i could never do what you do," she says.

i look at her questioningly ... because holy granola ... she raised 6 children and had 6 others in her care for a large portion of their littleness.  that's 12.  twelve.  TWELVE. 

i'm drowning in 3.

"how can this be harder?" i ask her. 
"there were TWELVE in your house.  that's 9 more than i have.  grandma!  i don't know how *you* did it!  patty always had broken bones.  you had numerous sons.  you had a husband that wasn't always around for help.  you did so much on your own!  no car.  no daycare.  i can't imagine."

it's a simple answer, she tells me that things were just different.
it was quiet, here.  the house stood still.  i could hear the hum of the refrigerator.  the whirr of the heat and a pup snoring in the living room. 
a whimper rose to a full out cry ...

i left my words on the computer and fast tiptoed to his room.

he wouldn't fall asleep for me earlier.  on a day when i felt the water toppling over my head and didn't know how i was going to make it through another hour ... he stalled.  and sang ABCs and counted in his annoyingly sweet voice ...
1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  10.  yay!
he applauded for himself over and over and over again.
i silently screamed.  and grew increasingly frustrated. 
i put him down.  over and over and over again.  the boy wouldn't go to sleep.  until finally he laid in my lap long enough to nurse into sleepiness.

i tiptoed into the boy's room and sang him a lullaby ... quietly.  without applause.  i stroked his sweaty hair behind his ears and kissed his head softly. 

i forgave myself for being frustrated.  and forgave him for being almost two.
i resurface ... not gasping for breath, but ready for sleep.  i'm sure i'll dive into these waters again tomorrow.  and i'm sure that i'll feel moments of drowning.

but i'll also feel moments of unbelieveable gratitude for what i've been given. 
and because a post is not a post without a photo ... my witches and my bat.
love them. 

thanks for listening.

go visit her.  she does some amazing things with words.  someday i'll tell you about the lego on my desk.
and yes.  those two things are related.

Monday, October 24, 2011

i {heart} little faces.

and little toes. 
and little people. 
and little fingers.
and button noses.
and that super soft wispy hair on top of a newborn's little perfectly scented head ...

another i heart faces challenge ...

let them be little.

one of my favorite little pictures this year. 

2 little faces.  20 little toes.  2 little {perfectly different but so kinda the same} people.  2 button noses.  2 little heads of wispy hair.

i swear.  is there anything cuter than two babies in a bowl?

check out i heart faces for more little peoples this week. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

impromptu puppet show and just how much i truly love my kids.

we had a kind of sort of planned (like yesterday) birthday party at my house today.
my grandma is turning 91 tomorrow.


holy goodness.

and we celebrated in the gorgeousness that is (apparently) fall in minnesota.  80-something degree temps.  beautiful blue skies.  no raindrops (though the forecast a few days ago had predicted oodles of raindrops ... thank you for being wrong dear forecasters.)  we had a lovely lunch outside.  we crunched through the leaves that i didn't bother to rake up.  we quietly manuevered our circle of chairs and wheelchairs and walkers into a new patch of shade every so often.

it was nice.

and then the girly-girls pulled out the final straw for making it a perfect day.

they delighted us with a puppet show.

finners pulled up the best seat in the house.  no one fought him for it.

i think it was titled the "mouse and the gorgeous dance by stella and cora olson."  there was something about a mouse.  and a hunter.  and the hunter was hungry.  and the mouse was going to do a dance ... but never did.  and that's pretty much where the show stopped.  but in it's own way continued on.  and on.  and on.

though none of us were really paying attention. 

finn saw a plane.  (i love that he's still in the "hi daddy!" plane stage.)

my 90 years and 364 days old grandma got bored and asked to be brought home. 

and it didn't really matter what the play was about or what was actually happening ... because it was a moment.  a blip in the time of my life that will never happen just as perfectly again.  there may not be the same characters or audience.  at any given point in the next day or year or decade ... there will be people that are no longer with us.  and there will be bigger girly girls that are less interested in performing and much more interested in boys.  and make up.  and their cell phones.

stella so politely curtsied.
and cora took a bow. 

in the only way that my cora would.  (notice the mismatched shoes, and the belt.) 

and i realize ... now ... looking back ... that i'm so happy that i stopped this moment. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

fall mini sessions at jennifer liv photography

just in case you are local and interested in having family portraits in the near future! 

please email me if you are interested ...

i would love to help your family capture some wonderful fall memories!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

on this day. this is who you are.

 you are my heart little finners.
it amazes me and gets away from me ... obviously (i'm a bit late on this post) ... how old you are getting.  you. are. my. baby.  you are supposed to stay that way forever and ever and a day ... and you aren't. 
you are.
but you aren't.

and it kills me just a little bit on the inside because i can't stop time.  i can't make you stop and stay where you are and then i feel guilty for wishing that i could. 

what i can do, though?
is ...  i can write.
i can hold this exact moment on our page of history and i can tell everyone who you are ... but i can also flip back to this moment someday down the road when you are really big and grown and you ask me for the car keys and you know how to actually put them into the ignition and then you know how to start the car and then you drive away.

on that day ... i will pull this memory out and i will sob and remember who you were.

this?  is who you are ... today.
you are 1 1/2 years old ... and then some.
you have twinkles of trouble in your bright blue eyes.
you love your family.

your sisters are your lifelines.  without them you would crumble.  you want to be with them always.
you are a mama's boy. 
i'm not sure if that has to do with the fact that you still nurse.  um.  all the time.  and you have just begun to slide yourself off my lap saying all done ... and run off to join the girly-girls.
you are a daddy's boy.
you are enamored with anything and everything that he is doing.  you want to be a part of all of it.
and oh-my-god ... he pushes you too high on the swings. 
but you never want mama to push you.

you climb.
boxes and beds.  stairs and ladders. 
and you're fast.  super fast.

you love to put on everyone's shoes.  pink.  slippers.  ANYTHING.  and you trot around in them as best you can.

you color.  you always start on paper ... and then move to the table. and then chair.  and then hopefully i catch you before you make it to the walls.  or floor. 
you are also amazingly specific about what you are drawing.  what looks like scribbles across a page to me ... is a dog.  or a kitty.  or a tree.  to you.  i should really get better at guessing.

you count ... everything.
wah.  tu.  fee.  foh.  fai. and on and on and on.
sometimes you get to 5.  and go to 8.  and then back to 7.  and then 8.
sometimes you get all the way to 13.  or 14.
i think you forget that you are ONLY one.

oh. wheels.
you are in love with anything with wheels ...
bus?  beep beep.
truck?  ("tuk") honk honk.
train?  ("choochoo") i'm not quite sure how you make the exact sound of a train.  but you do.
tractors?  ("TAHCTOHS!!!!!!") yes.  they are really talked about with THAT much enthusiasm.
boat?  no wheels.  but transportation ... so it still counts.
firetruck?  ("weeooo weeooo")
motorcycle? ("cyco")
bike?  ("bite??  bite??")
helicopter?  ("coptoh")
airplane?  ("pane")

i wish i could remember your first words ... but similar to your sisters ... as soon as the words spilled ...they tumbled and there was virtually no distinguishing first words from lists of words.  they were just there.

you throw with either hand.
you love to swing and slide.
you say peez.  and tah-too.
you hit your head against the floor.  ground.  wall.  if you are frustrated.  (thankfully this is quickly disappearing as your vocabulary is quickly growing).

you seem to be allergic to red dye #40.  though that is strictly a guess at this point. 
you have spent the past week in multiple stages of hives spread across your body.
you got hives.
so we gave you benedryl (recommended by a dr.).
and you worsened.
and then i realized that benedryl has red dye #40 in it.  poor guy.

you love elmo.
and dora.
and george.

you love to read books.  in your chair.  in your room
or with someone.
as long as they are about trucks.  or tractors. 

you love spending time with your people.  boppa.  and grandpa.  grandma kristi and grandma jeanna.  you love all of them with your whole heart.  and you will gladly leave mama or daddy to go to them.  unless you want to nurse.  then no one is better than mama.
though you do think it's really funny to request num nums from anyone. 

i'm realizing very quickly that you are just about to turn two.
and the girly-girls were weaned at two.
and i just am not sure that i can do that again.  i failed miserably at weaning cora.  expecting her to do the same as her big sis.  when i really should have stopped and realized that they are two VERY different peoples.  and that you are too.
so i think we'll probably just take it ... at our own pace.  k?
though i would really appreciate sleeping approximately 6 hours in a row sometime in the very near future, ok?

i love you little finnamon.
we all do.
you are a superb addition to this little family of ours. 
we never knew you ... never dreamed of you ... never thought in a million years that there would be a boy in our lives.
and then you were there.  here.
and we wouldn't change it for the world.
our little blue caboose.

Monday, September 26, 2011

favorite summer face.

seriously.  not sure that i can possibly pick a most absolutely favorite ... but this comes close.  this boy. 

my heart is had.

this summer was amazing watching him grow up into this little man with thoughts and ideas and likes and dislikes and all that jazz.

he's most definitely a boy (with a twinkle of trouble in his eye) and the sweetest heart you ever did meet.

and is currently covered in a bajillion hives.  so, that's fun.

i surely love you finners.

head on over to i heart faces to see more summer favorites ... it's people's choice this week! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

sun. shine.

there's this to do and that to do.

and i sit here.  gazing at this photo.  because it's my sunshine.  in action.  totally and completely being her. 
and she's not here.

gah.  it's taking some getting used to ... this whole kid in preschool thing.  with another in elementary school.  and another that occasionally blesses his mama with a nap for a few hours in the afternoon.

and i feel so lucky to get to experience this while working part time. 

i feel like a mom.

isn't that weird?  i haven't totally wrapped my brain around that ... it's me.  i'm well aware of that ... i know that my heart rests outside of my body in these three beautiful children and i love them so amazingly.  but ... i'm a mom.  i have to get people dressed and out the door.  i have to look out for them and take care of them and i can't just abandon ship and run free.

nor would i want to.

though i still dream of a weekend eating pizza alone while watching a chick flick in a bed. 

blah blah blah.

my girl.

allowing me (last fall ... i can't believe this was last fall already) to practice sunflare.  and she tipped and the sun shone through her arm while she made the silliest face.


 if you are lucky enough to KNOW her ... you know that this is her.  SO. HER.

check out i heart faces for more a touch of sun entries this week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

everyday beauty.

trying to find the beauty in the everyday ...

in between the teeny leftover pile of macaroni and cheese ... a half eaten cucumber ... a plastic kids fork and the can of coke that i treated myself to (after having given up soda for a good two weeks, now.)

thinking about things and how they change things and leave me uncertain ...

thinking about the copier room i was in 10 years ago watching a tiny black and white screen while awful things happened ... thankful that jeremy wasn't flying that day and that i knew exactly where he was. 

i felt really uncertain that day too.


there it is ... the beauty in the everyday bouquet of flowers from my mom and the girly girls.  stella had no idea how much i love irises.  my mom told her to grab a sunflower for me.

beauty.  in between the mac and cheese and the uncertainty.

Monday, September 5, 2011

rolling on.

and just like that ...

fall rolls in.
quicker than i can stand up anymore after being knocked down by a bout of depressive sad thoughts (that aren't true depression but feel like it sometimes) ... the autumn rolls itself back in to my life.

and with it?
my mood lightens. 

i need this change of season in my life.  i need the wind and the cool temperatures and the crunch of leaves beneath my feet just as much as i needed the sand between my toes and the flowers budding on the trees ... and hell ... i even kinda sorta needed that first scarf wrapped around my neck and that first snowfall and that first breath of air cold enough to make me gasp.

i feel the heaviness of the season upon me just as i'm about to lose it ... just as i'm about to watch something change and become something new and it throws me down on the ground and stomps on me a little bit.  and then i feel crappy and bad and sad and introspective.  and then just as i'm realizing that this is too much ... and my fingers tappity tap the feelings out of my body ...

then the change generally happens.

night falls.  the morning sun rises.  and i am given a glimpse of what is coming. 

the past two days ... that glimpse has been warm coffee cup.  a sweater or sweatshirt.  the pull to the colors orange and red and brown and mustard.  the scanning of the recipe book for soups and stews.  sliding my hand across flannel sheets in the closet and unrolling my pants from capris to jeans once again.  i want to drink apple cider and pull apples from a tree.  i want to find my mom's antique school desk and take pictures of stella and cora in their new school digs.  i want to layer sweaters and find a way to make myself look pretty in scarves.

and now?
i'm off to step outside into that cool burst of air.  and breathe it all in. 

rolling on.

self portraits are hard, yo.
but it's been a skill i'm trying to get better at ... because i'm going to succeed at putting myself in front of the camera so that my kids can see me someday.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

sometimes. it's just all too much.

i know i should put myself to bed ... but i also know that putting myself there means that before i know it little ones will awaken and call for mama and i'll go.  and snuggle and try to convince a certain little someone *coughcough* finn *coughcough* that nursing in the middle of the night is not such a good idea. 

he's not buying it.

and then eventually i'll meander back to my own comfy bed and my alarm will make it's presence so rudely known.
and then i have to get up and start a new year.

and there is a whole lot of worry and stress and fear and angst in my body tonight.

it's a lot.

it feels heavy and burdonsome.
it feels scary and unknown.
it feels a bit sad.

i think of the to-dos that didn't reach to-dones status.
i think of the lazy mornings in pajamas reading books to my littles.
i think of how fast they grow and how much i'm missing.

it's just all too much.  sometimes.

there's really no happy ending tonight.
it is what it is and i guess i just suck it up and put myself to bed ...

and then wake up.
and snuggle the boy.
and i probably won't attempt to convince him that he shouldn't nurse ... because he's only going to be this small for a very short amount of time.
and i will turn off the alarm and make coffee and hope that one of the littles wakes early enough to read a book before i walk out the door ... but not so early that i don't get a chance to shower first.

i'll be fine.
i will.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

and that? is just the first day.

liv said on facebook or email or twitter or something that she was heading up to the north shore.

i turned to my husband and said ... "i wanna go up to the north shore." 
i probably used my whiny voice. 
though likely, i didn't ask over and over and over and over and over and over until he finally relented ... like some people i know.  *coughcough* cora *coughcough*

and so we threw together the skeleton of a plan. 
and then we changed it.
and then we found a dog sitter.
and a cat/bird sitter.

and then we changed it again.

and jeremy went to work.
and we talked on the phone and decided not to go.  decided that we should go anyway.  decided to camp.  decided that that sounded like too much work.  decided that maybe the weather wouldn't be good and we shouldn't go.  decided that we didn't care.

jeremy came home and we left. 

we drove in relative silence.  with virtually no plans but the plan to just be together and have fun. 

we had an idea of where we might stay.  and then we abondoned that idea when i saw the location and the in the downtownishness of it.  i may have used my whiney voice again when i mentioned that we should maybe drive on down to canal park and see if there were any vacancies.  (i have secretly always wanted to stay on canal park.  by the bridge.)  so we drove to the farthest down hotel.  made our agreement about how much was too much and i ran in to ask about vacancies. 

please note.  this is also around the time that finners was screaming DONE DONE DONE from the middle seats.  and the girls were politely indicating HOW MUCH LONGER?  and ARE WE THERE YET?  and I HAVE TO PEE!

they had one vacancy. at that just right price.

and we walked into a jacuzzi suite. 
the girly girls loved the bathtub in the living room.
i was in love with the view.  from my bed. 

the bridge.  right outside my window.

the rain splattered to the ground and we watched the storms roll through from our porch.  the cool breezes off of the lake forced us to sweatshirt up.  and then when the rain slowed to a drizzle we ventured out.

first stop. 
and lemonade.

and i stood back and watched my kids doing something that i grew up doing.  and there was a bit of surrealness to it.  i remember standing upon that same hill with the gulls swooping in a dance to be the first to grab a bite to eat from the children.  i remember feeling small and afraid and utterly astounded at how close these silly creatures would come to me. 

it starts out quiet.  a simple grassy hill. add a minimum of one child and a superty expensive box of popcorn and you begin to hear seagull noises.  and they begin to drop out of the sky and scatter amidst your feet ... quickly grabbing a popcorn here.  and chasing a friend away there.  all of a sudden the child is surrounded by the chattering soaring creatures. 

i remember that fear.  and amazement.
i was reminded of that.  watching my babies standing in that same exact spot that i stood many many years ago.

we were relaxed.  and calm.  and it was so fun to feel that lack of stress.  the children splashed in the puddles and no one said no.  or stop.  or worried about clothing being soaked.  dry clothes and a warm bath in the living room were a mere steps away.

we promised boats to our boy.
that little blue caboose of our family that excites over cars. and trucks. and buses.  and now boats too.

he was in his element ... outdoors.  under the crazy clouds still recovering from the bout of rain.  with his family.

my husband grabbed my camera and i've just realized as i'm editing these photos through tears ... has given me the best gift ever. 


that silly little picture right there that proves to my children that i love and adore and cherish and am actually WITH them. 

you have no idea how much in love with that photo i am right now.

we saw rainbows.  and played and laughed and truly enjoyed each other for the whole night. 

and my husband didn't even think i was crazy when i asked him to take the kids up onto the bridge and then proceeded to take a photo of the ground.  because i thought it was crazy neat that i could totally see him and the kids in the puddle.

he also didn't think i was nuts as i pulled my camera bag close and snapped a photo of this ...

because the thought that kept rolling through my head as i tried to drift off to sleep ... was ... that is something that you might just never get the chance to see again from your bed.  and you'll kick yourself when the sun comes up in the morning if you don't take a minute to capture it now.

that's kind of how life is ... isn't it.

it was a really lovely amazing evening.
and that?
was just the first day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

happy anniversary, love.

so wednesday marked our 9th anniversary.  which ... in the grand scheme of things ... isn't so crazy amazing ...

but then again ... maybe it is.

it's funny. 

i feel like we went through this major point in our lives where we were planning a trip for this wedding and foraging through pages of a wedding gift registry for that wedding.

and then it all stopped.  virtually everyone was married and/or in a long term relationship.

and then rumors and messages and conversations between friends started showing the other side of the mountain.

now, we're in the midst of divorces and separations and watching people fall out of love with one another.

and it's a kind of scary place to be. 

life is rough.  it's really really hard.  this whole life with little kids thing is incredibly impossible and so amazingly satisfying at the very same time.  and then?  you are expected / want to put energy into the attention of another person?  who is most possibly an adult hopefully most of the time.  and that person expects/wants your attention ... and you have NO! MORE! ATTENTION! to give!  there are so many moments where i find myself frustrated and annoyed with my husband.  he irks me when he plays devils advocate.  he drives me bonkers when he can't spell the word before.  he scoots over into my side of the bed while i'm out attending to children that he didn't hear wake up in the middle of the night.  sometimes he snores.  and i super lightly kick tap him with my foot while he sleeps ... and he startles.  stops.  and starts all over again.  sometimes louder.

even through all of that though ... i love him.  i still love him.  perhaps more than i ever did before.  (which is totally spelled with an E at the end, honey.)

on our anniversary we went out and spent a groupon to a new local sushi place.  it sucked.  and they were out of diet coke.  and then we went shopping for shoes.  and then we went to holiday station stores where i bought myself a gigantic fountain diet coke because that was the glass i accidently touched first and then i was paranoid that someone saw me touch THAT glass and that i would be scorned for taking another one.  (ever wonder why my girls are proving to be rigid rule followers?  yeah.  me neither.)

and in between all of that not-so-excitingness.  i sent out random tweets and facebook messages ... and because most of you probably don't know i exist in other areas of the internetty world ... this is what they said.


honey?  thanks for being the love of my life ... you love me in the middle of all of my craziness.  and i truly appreciate how you love and support me.  when you have your own blog you can write about all of my faults maybe.  but i won't link to it.  ok?  i love you.

jeremy and i have been married 9 years today. and we're still planning a vacation for next year's 10th. {i think that's a good sign}

‎9yrs ago today he walked me down the aisle. Today he sealed my driveway. #amazingwhatadifference9yearsmakes
{in which @bluexoxo wins the best reply award for "@coconutbelly is that what you're calling "it" these days?? Happy Anniversary!" ... which totally made me giggle all day.)
‎9 years ago today, i had my hairs done for an hour (at least). today? i managed to wash AND brush them. #amazingwhatadifference9yearsmakes

‎9yrs ago I said I DO. today I said STOP LICKING YOUR BROTHER. #amazingwhatadifference9yrsmakes

‎9 years ago, I carried a bouquet. Today i'm carrying a purse, a diaper bag, matchbox cars, a wooden zoo set & the boy.

‎9yrs ago today I threw a bouquet & a party. Today I watched 3 little people throw tantrums. #amazingwhatadifference9yearsmakes

‎9 years ago today I had a bounce tent at my wedding reception. Today the girly girls went to a bday party in a bounce tent.

‎9 years ago today we answered to bride & groom. Today we answered to mommy & daddy. #amazingwhatadifference9yrsmakes

‎9yrs ago I fretted about flowers, catering & vows. Today I fretted about diapers, gluten & preschool. #amazingwhatadifference9yrsmakes

‎9 years ago i said good night and i love you to my husband. tonight i said goodnight and i love you to my husband.

Monday, August 22, 2011

i {heart} faces ... pet week.

so last week ... when i on.a.whim threw in a photo of my stellers into the {eyes} category challenge at i {heart} faces ... i ended up with a 10th place. 


that's happened once before ... which i would totally link to ... but i have approximately 24 seconds before someone loses it or a child falls or someone screams.  and go.



the superty cutest cat monster thing in the world.
while asleep ... super cute and cuddly.
while awake ... don't mess with him.  unless you live here.  then he kinda loves you.  sometimes.

don't you just want to cuddle with him?

hop on over to i heart faces to see more pets of all shapes and sizes ... and probably some that you wouldn't want to live with.  (you can enter any animal image!)


Monday, August 15, 2011

i {heart} faces ... beautiful eyes.


there is a certain depth to a person's eyes.
the cliched window.
the soul.

and as a photographer ... i think my most favorite thing is capturing that depth ... that soul ... in someone's eyes.  when they fully see you and you fully see them in a single click.

i love opening up a session in photoshop and zooming in superty close to see that person's eyes.  it's amazing.  the colors and the textures and the beautifulness ... the uniqueness.  sometimes i feel awed when i can catch a glimpse of me taking their photo.  it astounds me.

this though ...
is my girl.
my girl that made me a mama.
and her amazing blue eyes.

a bit lighter and less oceany than her sister's.
softer and a little less vibrant than her brother's.

but blue and beautiful and a glimpse into this grown up girl that she's becoming.  wide eyed and wonderful.  with a bit of her fragile little girlishness mixed in.  all of this HERness swirled into their beautiful blue.

check out i {heart} faces for more beautiful entries this week!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


i say no.
i say please walk.
i say use your inside voice.  (except for cora ... who i tell "talk like this." girl has no volume control. whatsoever.)

i tell them to stand up and sit down.
i tell them to look and to say hi.
i tell them to count to 10 and go inside.  (except for stella ... who would much prefer to be inside anyways.  couch potato.  kinda.)

i ask tell them to clean their room.
i ask tell them to feed the dog.
i ask tell them to pick up 10 things that are out of place.  (and two of them do.  after a few threats of losses of those important things in life.  like food.  or a bed.  or a morning cartoon.)

i try.
i try really really hard to be the best mama i can be.
i try not to do too much.
and i try to do just enough.
but that's hard too.
really really hard.

i think what i'm trying to say is that i want to do good by my children ... but i lie awake at night worrying that by doing and saying too much that i'm actually doing a disservice to them ... am i?  i don't know.
i just don't know.

i want more than anything for them to be free creative thinkers.  i want them to exude happiness.  i want them to be amazingly wonderful people that do amazingly wonderful things in amazingly wonderful places.

and i think i have to teach them all of that.  but do i?  i just don't know ...

would they just figure it all out on their own? 

i said ... stop!  don't put your feet in there!  we don't put our feet in the fountain! 

will they realize that even though their grandma let them put their feet into the fountain at the park while i objected ... that it's just not ok to put yourself into fountains in public places when you are 37 years of age?

when really truly my heart knows that i want them to dance in a fountain in the early dawn if it makes them happy.

if i could do it all over again ... i would have put my feet in the fountain too. 

i hope that they get that.
i really really hope they do.

Friday, August 12, 2011

lemonade and popcorn.

it started over a bowl of microwave popcorn and lemonade over ice in tall sweaty glasses. 
with straws.  of course.  the day after labor day in the year 1985.  (my first day of school in the new neighborhood.)  our moms hooked us up and officially put together an unofficial surprise playdate immediately after school. 

it's hard to remember much else about that day. 

i know it never felt awkward or pushed.  it tasted of freshly squeezed (though totally from a can if you know my mom) lemonade.  there was a breeze pushing it's way through the screens of the porch.  there was probably a billowy flower in a vase on the table.  it felt immediate and lovely. 

and it still feels that way.

a friendship beyond best. 

over the years we lived close together and far apart.  we've had overnight camps and night before weddings.  we've held hands, exchanged glances and been a supportive shoulder.  we've said hellos and goodbyes in so many different places.  we comfort.  we calm.  we listen.  we speak. 
perhaps not often enough.

but just right, i guess.  because honestly.  there is this amazing lack of timespace between us.  we are immediately right back to where we always have been.  small talk feels awkward.  it's the heavy and the deep that feel safe when we are together.

and jellybeans are always eaten appropriately.

love to you my dear friend.

Monday, August 8, 2011


funny ... this has been sitting in my draft posts for quite some time. 

and i've never hit publish ... because i didn't want someone to think that i didn't appreciate them stopping by or reading my words or perusing my photos. 

all i had written up until just a few minutes ago? 

why are you here?

what keeps you coming back?
why do you want to visit this (often neglected) space?

i just kinda want to know.

and because a post just really isn't a post without a photo ... and because i keep coming back to this photo ... because ... i don't know why. 

i guess ... "i don't know" is a good enough answer sometimes.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

i wish i could put the kids to bed ... wake all up again ... and start over.

with a new vacuum sitting on my front porch.

so ... i'm just gonna go and tell you a secret.  on the day that my husband comes home ... i kindasorta frantically try to make sure the house is all picked up. 

today though?

i dropped a new outlet cover that was clear colored ... and it vanished into thin air.  i still can't find it.

i really needed to vacuum for the umpteenth time this week and the vacuum WON'T SUCK ... i held it over a bird feather and it just kinda made it sway.

i need to go grocery shopping so that we can eat.  and yet ... the thought of dragging all three children there kinda makes me want to sit in the corner and cry.

i politely asked the girly-girls to pick up their room ... and OH THE HORROR.  it was akin to pulling teeth.

i not so politely asked the girly girls to pick up their room ... there was a lot of arguing.  notsomuch picking up.

i have yelled more than i care to admit and it's only 11:11am.

i'm not sure that i can handle people asking for things over and over and over and over and over and over even when i just said ... please wait. (i really did say please wait and i didn't yell.  i get 5 points.)

i have 3 photography sessions to edit and attempting to sit at the computer is silly-thought.

even now.

(though i did sit down and write this because i needed to let my fingers do a little bit of fast tippity tapping ... makes the crabbies disappear a little faster when i can get the words out and "talk" to someone.)

i'm calling uncle on thursday 7/28/11.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

neither here nor there ... probably number three if you were keeping track.

** things of virtually no importance. irrelevant and most likely unnecessary to the conversation.

though quite possibly knocking at my brain and spilling out of my fingertips.

i've sat at my keyboard for quite some time now ... fingers itching to tippitytap.  and brain swirling with this and a that.

and ... nada.

so i just decided to spill my last few goings on upon you ... mostly in pictures a few words here and there ...

we picked strawberries.

we waited until justabouttheverylastminute to go and pick strawberries at this beautiful farm ... although in all honesty ... someone had told me that they had "just begun to pick" and then 2 days later ... there were virtually no strawberries left.  there was a lot of digging (by me) and a lot of whining (by the girls) ...

but dude. every. single. one. of. these. strawberries. is the MOST DELICIOUS strawberry i have ever eaten.

they are the tiniest sweetest little things.  ever.
this farm doesn't spray their fields ... so there are a bajillion of these guys ... the primary reason for all! the! whining!
pokey pokey pokies.  which only sting for approximately 2 seconds when you bump against them.  i know. 
i also remember long long ago being a little girl and STEPPING on one of those things in bare feet ... because i have really never been one to be fond of shoes ... and ouch.  it felt like a lot more than 2 seconds.
also, though?  do you see that pretty little strawberry in there?  i just went to the refrigerator and ate it. 
best strawberry ever.
we made some friends in the field.

a pretty little fuzzy caterpillar (in a really overexposed photo). 

and just so you know how much i care about all of you out there ... it's a saltmarsh caterpillar.  which is actually going to be a moth someday.  and i can no longer finish my breakfast.  because my computer screen was just covered in caterpillars. {shudder}

or this little friend ...

yay!  it's like an i spy game ... grab your kids and play along!

can you spy the girl that i was trying to take a picture of ... before the big sister so rudely stepped in front of her mother as she was taking the perfect photo of her little sister?

can you spot the elmo wearing finners out among the strawberries?? ... no ... because he pretty much hated the entire super fun strawberry picking and preferred for daddy to take him to look at tractors. 

but ... he did enjoy the currants.  have you ever tasted these little white currants?  so. yummy. a little sour.
and then we drove around ... kinda getting lost and had lunch in a little cafe on the st croix river.  in the kitchen.  because there were no more chairs that didn't have umbrellas on the porch dining area.  and the food was fine ... but it was SO HOT IN THERE.  that it could possibly be remembered as not-my-favorite-place-to-eat. 
and then?  we cursed ever driving that far because finn turned into oscar the grouch on the way home. 
but we'll probably go back in a few weeks for blueberry picking.
we ate crepes.
hmmm.  what else? 
i got a studio space!
in a really neat old building on the river in northeast minneapolis.
i'm kind of loving it.

it's the sunlight that gets me ... everytime.

i love lilies.
and they are popping out everywhere.
except for in my front yard area.  where there used to be a billion ... for some crazy reason, this year ... the daisies have completely taken over and just didn't let the lilies up maybe?  i'm not sure ... but i certainly know that i'll be handing away free daisy bulbs in the fall.
we've been doing a bit of cut and color around these parts ... a little something for a little someone.  or two.  you'll know who you are in the very near future.

finn was in heaven watching trucks at the parade ... and out the front window this week. 
in heaven.
i'm still getting used to this boy trait.
the rest of us pretty much just keeled over and died from the heat of the parade.  honestly ... at one point a parade walker person threw out a wooden coin for a free cupcake
and. it. stuck. to. my. bare. arm.
so ... we've been trying to keep cool.

finn's first snowcone! 
which has meant many pool and waterpark trips.  early morning park outings.  lots of icy drinks and hunkering down in the air conditioning for part of the day.
this guy  at the zoo was attempting a bit of a cool down as well ...
also at the zoo ... another guy cooling down ...
please enlighten me ...
is this a boy thing??

happy week to all of you out there ... someday soon i'll be back to regular posting ... but i'm just having so much fun over here with these three crazy kids. 
most of the time anyways. 
sometimes i just drink a lot of coffee.  and pretend like i'm having fun.