35mm f/1.4L vs 50mm Canon Lens Comparison

I’ve been sitting on some very generous gift cards for over a year. Generous enough that using them quickly would be a mistake. This is the type of purchase that takes both research and time.

 

Which I did. Along without a lot of internal debate on the best way to use it. I researched specs and photographic results – hovered over chat rooms and read review after review.

 

And finally – headed over to the camera store to buy the perfect lens for me.

 

And walked out with something else. I went in to buy a better zoom lens. I have a Canon 24-105mm f4.0L and I don’t love it. It gives a bit too much distortion for me – and even wide open is hard to use inside because it doesn’t let enough light in, and when my ISO has to be dialed up so high – I get grain. I just don’t love it for inside shots. And I don’t love it for outside shots as it just isn’t crisp enough for me.

 

I admit I’m a prime lens girl. I love my 50mm and 85mm and they are rarely off of my camera. My 50mm is my daily lens BUT it doesn’t quite cut-it in our home as I cannot back enough away from the subject to compose a good shot always. We live in an old home with smaller rooms and little light – so I find I’d rather not even take the shot than to struggle with trying to compose a shot. I had hoped my zoom would solve this issue – but it wasn’t the right lens for me.

 

So I walked into National Camera Exchange to splurge on a 24-70mm f/2.8L or go to the total extreme opposite and get a great outside telephoto lens(or inside stage/wedding lens) like the 70-200mm f/2.8L.

 

And I walked out with a 35mm f/1.4L prime.

canon-35mm-lens

Not surprising I guess. As I took photos in the store – the 35mm spoke to me. That sounds weird – but it did. It was crisp and beautiful and familiar. And now gives me the ability to take pictures inside in our dark, small rooms.

50mm vs 35mm

Here are some comparison shots with my 50mm and 35mm. The 35mm shots are on top and 50mm are on the bottom. All of these images are straight out of the camera – no editing at all – except to reduce size to post.

35mm50mmcomparison

I was standing in the exact same spot with the exact same camera settings. I took these wide open – and while sometimes with the 50mm – my focus and depth of field is off – with my 35mm I find I have a bit larger ‘sweet spot’ of focus so I can leave it wide open even with more than one person in the picture and feel confident that I will get the shot. And it gives me a lot more flexibility in composition. But know I will still always love my 50mm for many other reasons.

which-canon-lens-should-i-buy

I love my Canon 35mm and it has rarely left my camera in the past month – but next time I buy a lens. And there will be a next time – well I think I might go out of my comfort zone and get that zoom I still think about….because it’s not like my subjects are always sitting still.

trufflecomparison - 35mm-canon-lens

(I could not leave Truffle out of the fun!)

What is your favorite lens and why?

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Turn, Turn, Turn…

Our lives have changed a lot this year. No one tells you about this dance when you become a parent. They will tell you that things will get better. Or things will get easier. Or things will finally click and you’ll find a rhythm together. Sometimes you feel this will never happen and you will step on toes for the next 18 years.

 

But they don’t tell you that things will just change. And flow. And move. And it’s okay to change partners(spend time with the child who needs you most) when a song ends.

parenting-dance

My kids have always been fairly independent and responsible, but we’ve seen the biggest jump this year, and the biggest shift in this childhood dance.

 

A year where Astrid is in preschool more and has started her own activities. Her movements increase and we dance quickly together. This is tiring sometimes for an older mom because my 80s moves are no longer in fashion and sometimes I have to sit out a few dances to catch my breath.

 

A year where Esther is independently doing more complicated homework, dancing more on her own, and we will find her in a corner reading quietly for longer periods of time. Our most bubbly child seeks more quiet time and her dance has slowed as she reaches a more intellectual point in childhood.

parenting-changes

A year where I now drop Eloise everywhere. There’s that time when you go in and wait during lessons and classes. And then that time when you walk her in and leave..but then come back and wait inside for her. And now you barely slow down the car enough for her to jump out to walk across the busy street on her own to her own lessons and friends. You give her $10 for a sandwich she will buy on her own down the block between classes and know she’ll be just fine. SHE CAN FEED HERSELF. AND WALK ACROSS THE STREET.  She dances mainly alone.

 

And you come back when she calls. Sometimes you even make her wait because you’ve got other errands to run. And this thrills her because she can giggle with her friends just a little longer. She dances a lot without us now.

 

A year where I have a few hours to myself – for errands or writing or honestly just watching Ellen and drinking a cup of tea with a cat on my lap, and I don’t feel guilty at all when I do this. I’m comfortable sitting alone against the wall of the dance floor just waiting my turn.

 

A year where Jed learns how to communicate with all the women in his home just a little differently. Who is now big and is who is still little. Who likes snuggles and who wants a high-five..and the acceptance that he’ll probably never get it all correct. He waits until someone invites him to dance.

turn-turn-turn

There’s a time in parenting – so early on that we feel it will never change because it’s just so much and so busy and so heavy. We dance in the quiet, dark living room at that midnight hour with a newborn in our arms, convinced we will never sit and rest again.

 

And then one day life just moves. Like a dancer turning again and again, we have a different view each year as our children’s needs change and our time changes for them.

 

And sometimes life moves so quickly that I am always a beat behind. But my kids have reached the age that they can tell me I need to catch up a little. Or when they are embarrassed by my dance steps that are no longer in fashion. I’m grateful for this.

 

For what my kids teach me daily.

 

For in this dance I am not the leader. They are.

 

I can only hold on for so long until they let go and turn and turn and turn across the floor as I watch in wonder. And when I finally realize that they don’t need my hand each time they turn, we both move smoothly across the floor.

*****

This essay was inspired by the photographs I took of my daughters dancing and for the prompt ‘movement’ – the theme this week for Through The Lens Thursday – hosted by my friends Alison and Greta.

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Why I’m Blogging Every Single Day In 2014

I’m sorry.

 

That I’m probably driving you crazy.

 

If you subscribe to my blog you are probably unsubscribing BECAUSE SO MANY EMAILS. AND THINGS TO READ.

 

And for that I am sorry.

 

But I have decided to blog every day in 2014. I’ve been afraid to write this. Say this aloud. Or even whisper it in a friend’s ear. Or even think it inside of my own head. Because of possible and easy failure.

 

But there, it’s out there. I’m blogging every day in 2014. 365 posts.

blogging-every-day-2014

Some long, some short, some stories, some pictures. But it’s doubtful you will get recipes or craft ideas. If you start seeing craft ideas you know I’ve lost my mind and it’s time to stage an intervention and tell me to stop blogging completely. Take away my computer and my glue gun. Also if I start talking about Pinterest. Don’t let me talk about Pinterest. But just to make you crazy I’m including a pinnable image in this post.  Because I CAN!

 

Some things you will find boring. Silly. Why is she even filling space with this drivel?! And some I hope will be decent writing. Very decent. Good even. Share-worthy even. Because that’s mainly why I’m doing this. Just like photography – to take great pictures you first need to take more pictures..and I firmly believe that to become a better writer – well, you need to write more.

 

And in 2014 I’m doing both. So why not use my little blog to write and share pictures and stories with you all –  and at times just bore the crap out of you.

 

But I promise to never share crafts.

 

Maybe one or two recipes because I’m desperate. But never a craft.

 

And maybe to fill the space on a Saturday I will have to recap what I’ve written that week. Or maybe this will allow you to just read me once per week and you can stop hating me for blogging every single ding-dong day in 2014.

 

So here’s what’s going down…

 

I told you about the Happy Wives Club’s new book being released – and this was a perfect follow-up for my  on being vulnerable that was also  syndicated on BlogHer and now published on The Huffington Post. 

 

I’ve started Tumblr-ing about Po the Panda with Eloise.  If you like Pandas – follow us there. If you don’t like pandas, well we are no longer friends. Unfollow.

 

We have put out our annual call of submissions for Listen To Your Mother – Twin Cities. We want your words!

 

I’m trying to enjoy the messy corners of our lives..and appreciate the clutter and the people who hang so near to me.

 

And how to survive cold weather running and that I’m thankful it was cold enough to do the “throw boiling water in the air to turn it to vapor” trick!

 

And finally - Astrid’s eyelids are not orange.

 

So that, in a nutshell, is why I’ve been writing so much lately. May I call it writing and not blogging? Maybe a mix of both.

 

Only 354 posts to go….

** Taking inspiration from the blogging every.single.day  in 2013 superstar Casey from Life With Roozie.

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Messy Corners

I admit I feel a bit of jealousy when I see some pictures. Pictures of people in homes who have children. And these children are reading or sitting quietly. And the space in huge. And clean and clutter free. No toys, glasses from a quick snack, books or personal paraphernalia that children carry with them and leave everywhere. And I know that some people(and me) clean up a bit before taking those lifestyle photos. No one wants to see our dirty laundry, our fingerprints, our mess of toys, or stacks of books, our inability to keep up with all of the things that our kids drag out each day.

 

And I wonder if I had a home with more space if there would be a room like that. A room free of clutter, museum-like where I could great guests and they could think our home is perfectly clean because of this clutter free room.

 

Or maybe I would have more space to make that happen and my kids would just bring all of their dolls and books into that room because that is where I was sitting. Just to be near. And would I clear it all away just to take a picture of them.

playcorner

We don’t have a playroom or a den or a family room or a basement for the kids to play in. Their bedrooms are too small to hold many toys, but they work well for reading books and small dance parties. We live in a city house with one living space that also includes our dining room table for all five of us to share – and to also share with guests – and it’s quite full of things. Every toy they own, most every book they own, art supplies, magnets on our fireplace screen, movies, games, dolls, our piles of paperwork for work, school and bills, and a corner that is full of winter coats, mittens and hats. Our dining room table – in the center of our living area – is our only place to eat as well as our desks – for work, writing and homework.
This is where we live. This is where I see all of my children. This is where the big kids do homework while I serve dinner and Astrid plays with dolls. This is where we watch TV while Jed reads a book and Astrid colors. This is where we talk, play, live and compete in Just Dance 2014.

 

This is where all the things reside.

 

And sometimes I admit it drives me crazy. Would we be happier to have other places to be. A finished basement to send the kids? An office to work in? Bigger bedrooms to store the toys? A separate dining room that doesn’t become the central dumping ground in the house?  Or would I be lonely with so many empty spaces and people not close? And would my photographs of my kids feel cold and too clean and empty without books stacked in the corners or the room? Why isn’t the dollhouse next to the couch anymore?

readingcorner

Our living spaces now are full of things shoved in corners – the books, toys and extra blankets. These corners mirror my heart and hold this clutter as the memories we are making as a family now together as we share this one space.

 

And I’m tired of trying to put all of the clutter away to make my pictures less about what I think people care about and see and more about what my kids are doing right now. Right here. As I come to appreciate the clutter in the corners.

 

*****

My friends Alison and Greta are hosting a photography project called Through The Lens Thursday. The prompt this week is corner.

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Soft Landing

Eloise received a giant stuffed panda bear for Christmas. ‘Po’ has now become more treasured than the cat, a bed companion, excellent lounge chair, and is constantly being dragged around the house. He even has a chair at the dining room table as he’s required to take meals with us. Eloise takes him to sleepovers(sorry sleepover-hosting people) and I’m required to kiss him goodnight as I tuck him into bed each night next to her.

 

Certain sisters use him as a napping stop when Eloise is not at home and must leave Po behind. I might also rest against his soft, fuzzy belly in the cold afternoons.

giant-panda

I was surprised when Eloise asked for a giant stuffed animal for Christmas. It was the only item on her list. Most tweens probably asked for new iThings and video games and cool clothing and things that sparkle or beep.

 

But she just wanted a soft spot to land each day.

 

Don’t we all. And I admit that I like Jed even a little more when he wear a soft fleece vest that feels nice when I rest my head on his chest as we snuggle on the couch.

 

Life can be very hard and sharp some days. This season the winter storms beat on our faces with ice pellets, words can be sharp against us, and love can be complicated. My dry skin cracks and hurts in the same way that the dark days of now can so easily determine bad moods of depression.

 

Sometimes it’s so hard to see the sun through the gray and to know that when you are home you can find that soft place to land. Soft in heart and love as you are surrounded by your closest trust circle, but also now by an overly large panda bear who has found just the perfect home.

 

I think Eloise has been feeling a bit ‘alone’ lately. Growing quickly out of little girl looks and wants and into a new chapter of her life. I think she needs me more than she cares to admit, and as a shy girl she’s unwilling to ask questions or inquire about important and even frivolous life things. She’s not a cuddler and will duck away if you try to steal a hug or kiss. She is sharp herself – bony and angular without a physical hint softness to help her land.

 

But her heart is pure and soft and kind. When you meet her and know her she kind of feels like it does when you watch one of those cute baby panda videos as they slide or play with a ball. You can’t help but smile and feel like the world is pretty much perfect because they are in it.
Maybe that’s why Eloise likes pandas so much.

 

And I hope that Po will give her the soft landing she needs for many years to come. We all need a friend like him.

*****

My friends Alison and Greta are hosting a year-long photography project “Through The Lens Thursday” – and I would love for you to click over the learn more about it. The theme this week is ‘soft.’  My goal in 2014 is to meet my camera again. “Hi Camera! I’ve missed you!” and perhaps their project is just the soft kick in the designer skirt I need to get started again.

******

In other exciting news – A new site is launching soon called the Twin Cities Mom Blog and I am thrilled to be a contributor! More info coming soon when we launch later this month!

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National Geographic Kids Insider – The Great Nature Project #NGKInsider

We want to show our kids the world. I think that’s the simplest yet the most complicated gift I can give them. The stories we tell in the dim light before bedtime, during the long car rides, and shared over dinner are typically the stories of our adventures. My husband and his motorcycle trip to Alaska. My time visiting Venice during flooding. The first international trip we took together – to Paris and the embarrassing picture I took of Jed sleeping off jet-lag on the small bed, and how he still hasn’t forgiven me for sharing that picture with my mom, my aunts and my grandmother. But our favorite story of travel that we share with our children is the one of us traveling through Egypt for nearly three weeks when I was seven months pregnant with our first child and how we were determined that pregnancy, children and a mortgage would never keep us at home. Many of the best parts of our relationship were built on our wanderlust, our love for living in new cultures, and for discovering the world together.

 

But came daughter one, then the bigger house, then daughter two, then me quitting my job to stay home, then daughter three, then kids in school full-time, then the minivan..and 11 years later our stories of our travels get shorter as our memories fade, and our looks become sad instead of excited knowing that is no longer our life.

 

And while I don’t wish away one minute(okay, maybe a few minutes) of the past 11 years, I want our family to make memories that include the world and cultures beyond and we need to make that a priority.

 

We need to make this a priority for our family – and for us as a couple. I want my kids to have a better global vision and adventure in their blood.

 

So we are taking our first big(We’ve been to Mexico all together a few times – but I don’t really count that) international trip together as a family and are heading to Costa Rica for a few weeks. We are renting a home and plan to immerse ourselves in the beauty, culture and community during our trip.

 

Besides now making travel an importance in our family, we read, watch, advocate and discuss the world at large -sometimes it’s for causes that are dear to us and sometimes it’s through periodicals and books that bring adventure and education directly to our living rooms. One way we do this is by subscribing to National Geographic Kids Magazine. We’ve been subscribing for a few years and we had to add two more subscriptions so each of our girls could get their own. It’s full of amazing information, photographs and activities for kids of all ages.

FINAL-INSIDER-LOGO-Hi-Res-500x400

So I am thrilled, humbled and grateful to be one of the 33 National Geographic Kids Insiders for the next six months. As an NGK Insider I will get a behind-the-scenes look at National Geographic Kids, including interviews with authors, explorers and editors, review copies of books, exclusive event invitations. I love being a parent that is committed to the same mission they have — to raise a generation of kids who are inspired to care about our planet.

 

So look for posts and updates from me as I share exciting news from National Geographic Kids and as we hopefully start exploring the world together again now as a family.

NGKinsider

For September, I want to introduce you to The Great Nature Project – which is a worldwide celebration of the planet and its wonder. Through September 29th people of all ages are invited to help National Geographic take a global snapshot by taking pictures of plants and animals in their world, and then share those pictures on social media using the hashtag #GreatNature. At the same time, National Geographic Kids is attempting to break a Guinness World Records Title for the largest online photo album of animals. Any photo of an animal that is shared with #GreatNature and #animal will count toward the record! Learn more about this initiative that is striving to get people outdoors at The Great Nature Project.

 

So get outside with your kids on a nature walk and share your picture today!

 

Disclosure: I am not compensated as a National Geographic Kids Insider but believe in their non-profit mission to bring education to everyone about our planet. All words and opinions are my own.

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Another School Year

I’m just going to go ahead and sum up this school year with one word. Meh.

 

In full disclosure,  I don’t really think it’s my business to talk about the school year. It’s not my school, not my teacher, not my friends, not my daily routine. It’s theirs.

But I’m still going to give this school year a ‘meh’ as last year was such a ‘WOW’ that this year just seemed to fall a bit flat for both my girls. It’s bound to happen I guess. Some years are just so awesome and some years are just ‘meh’ and you hope to hell that the years of ‘really sucked’ are very, very few. Eloise had a ‘really sucked’ during her first grade year, and thus far Esther has been lucky to live in the mainly ‘WOW’ category, with now one ‘meh.’ Not bad in my opinion.

First Day Of School/Last Day Of School

My kids love school. They don’t get excited about Summer. They like structure and seeing friends every day. They like to learn new things and be challenged. They don’t like bugs and honestly being outside is not their favorite thing. They’ve spent the first three days of Summer mainly reading books. Eloise read 400 pages today and we took a trip to Half Price Books and bought 12 more books. They did spend two hours gardening this morning, and after each of them received about 10 bug bites, they declared that being inside really is usually the best answer. Did I mention my girls hate sports and love ballet? Also, being in a classroom all day every day is their version of a good time.

 

I asked both of my girls four questions about their school year… 1. What was your favorite party of the year? 2. What was your least favorite part of the year? 3. What subject did you like the most or what did you like learning about the most? and 4. What subject wasn’t your favorite?

 

Esther – 2nd Grade

1. Favorite part – “My teacher is super nice and always likes to give hugs and also smiles at me every morning.”

2. Least favorite part. “My art teacher yells at my friends and that makes me sad. She’s not a very nice lady.”

3. Favorite subject or learning experience. “I loved writing original poetry and wish we had more time to write more poetry. I’d like to buy some poetry books to read this Summer.”

4. Least favorite subject. “I’m not sure I will ever use math. Math is seriously no fun. Do people really like math and who are those people?” (Um, YOUR MOTHER DOES!)

Eloise – 4th Grade

1. Favorite part. “I love my teacher because she is super awesome, just real and super nice..and she really likes me.”

2. Least favorite part. “Sometimes I felt like there was a ‘lack of class control’ and my teacher had to spend more time getting kids in control rather than spending that time on actual education. I feel like our class size was way to big for one teacher to really do a good job, and I feel that with fewer students we would’ve had more time for more projects, more subject matter and really more instruction time. Sadly, I feel like I didn’t learn as much as I wanted to this year.” (WHOA)

3. Favorite subject or learning experience. “We wrote an actual ABC picture book for little kids. I wrote mine about bears and it was really awesome to publish an actual book with all of the writing and illustrations. The best part was taking it home to read to Astrid as she was my target market. She loved it!”

4. Least favorite subject. “I did not love learning about the Greek and Latin roots of words because there were too many tests and seriously it wasn’t that much fun. I mean I understand the importance, but it was super boring.”

So now let’s bring on Summer! Linking up with Memories Captured.

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Sharing a Photo Can Impact The World {Johnson & Johnson $100 #HealthyEssentials Giveaway!}

I love to take pictures. All of y’all on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feed are now like “Yeah, we see the cat pictures ALL of the time!” So, yes, I love to share pictures too. That’s why I’m thrilled to tell you about the new Donate A Photo  app from Johnson & Johnson. Donate A Photo is a brand new app that allows you to give back to causes you care about and make a difference through one simple act – taking a photo.

For every photo you share, Johnson & Johnson donates $1* to a cause you want to help – which does things like fix up a public park, get medicine for an infant, or help kids play sports safely. You choose the cause you want to help, Johnson & Johnson makes it happen.

[Read more...]

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The Preschool Conference

Astrid had her first preschool parent-teacher conference last week. What I have found out so far is that the majority of the kids in her class are first-borns. I gather this because most of these moms seem to have newborn babies and most of these moms are about 14 years younger than I am. Needless to say I haven’t really met anyone yet and I just overhear some of the conversations as they meet and most of the conversations go “OMG I graduated from the school in 2006 too!” And I am like OMG I graduated before you were born so I am just going to sit her quietly and pick my yellowing teeth.

 

Astrid isn’t fairing much better than I am. In fact if you ask her what some of her classmates names are she answers with “I don’t have classmates” or “there are no other kids in my class” or “I like to play by myself.”

 

So she’ll be lonely too in about 40 years.

I think the most uncomfortable part of the whole preschool situation though is that neither of us know any of her five teachers names. I mean I am sure they told me what they were when we toured, but I’ll be damned if I can remember. So for now I just call them “Hi” “Good morning” and “How are you today!” It’s working for me. I wonder if Astrid calls them “You” “You there” and “You the only lady with short hair.” Whatever works.

 

But I do have to giggle that I am dropping Astrid off at a place where I don’t know who anybody is.

 

But she seems happy as long as the other kids keep on the down-low and don’t invade her space because she prefers preschool completely alone.

 

Because the information from her conference was actually quite surprising for me to hear. You see, she has two sisters whose preschool conferences always started with “They need to be more assertive.” And I would say “No, no they don’t.”  So here’s the thing about my kids – and believe me this is nothing I taught or did or instructed or disciplined or anything – my kids even as babies, toddlers, preschooler and now beyond have NEVER(no exaggeration) taken a toy or anything from another child and if a child wants something that they are playing with, well they will just hand it to that child and then find something else to play with. Every time. No exaggeration. Always. All of them. So as you can imagine my girls have NEVER gotten into a fight. Ever. Because I do believe since birth they care more about people than stuff and if you came over here right now and said you wanted everything they owned they would just help you load it up and haul it away and then shrug their shoulders and say “Oh well, we can find something else.”

 

So I need to repeat that – my kids have never fought.

Back to the surprise of the conference – her teacher said that Astrid is being assertive at school, and while she would still never have interest in what another child is playing with, she holds firm if another child just tries to take her toy. And I about died when I heard this news and wasn’t even sure what to do with it.

 

But the first thing I did was warn her sisters that they are pretty much going to get their asses kicked when Astrid gets bigger.

*****

Linking up to Wordful Wednesday with Dumb Mom

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Playing It Safe..

So the first thing that I want to tell you is that my pants phase is over. Whew. It was a tough week. I mean I hadn’t shaved my legs for like three weeks and all with the swimsuit season finally coming to an end so I the pants were somewhat a necessity, but still. My nether-regions like to breathe.

 (What I wore just hanging out on a Saturday – Sweater from The Gap, Splendid black tee from Nordstrom Rack, Chevron Maxi Skirt from The Nest On Main, Boots from Nordstrom, Scarf from MayBaby)

So the fashion part of this post is brought to you by The Schick Intuition Razor because I finally shaved my legs and could show them to the world without scaring small children or upsetting dogs.

 

And also my crotch is happy again.

 

Amen.

 

The rest of this post has nothing to really do with fashion so you can just nod and admire as you scroll by the pictures of me wearing dresses again and just know that everything is now right in the universe. Your concern last week was appreciated.

 

The second thing I want to tell you(and the last..but it might be long) is that I have this thing now each week called FIVE HOURS COMPLETELY ALONE while this beautiful thing called preschool happens. In this FIVE HOURS, while I might not be as productive as I had hoped, it has given me space, time and air to actually think. Because they one thing I’m not doing during that time is running errands. I made a pact with myself(and I found myself quite agreeable) that I would be home during this precious time so I could spend more time with just my brain..and not my wallet at Target or Nordstroms or other pesky places that are just so damn tempting. I’ve decided quite selfishly that during the other gazillion hours that I am with my preschooler, well she will do errands with me because as a third child it is her will in life. Sorry. Okay not sorry.

 

So during these seven weeks that I have had FIVE HOURS alone – which if you are a math whiz like myself is 35 hours…I’ve been doing some thinking, soul searching, talking to myself, and some major coffee drinking.

 

And here’s what I’ve discovered with myself. I’m playing it too safe. I would never let my kids play it safe. I ask them for more, to try more, to do more, to ask for more, to never settle. Maybe I do all that because I can just sit here all comfortable in my safe. My mother-safe. Isn’t that what we are?

 

I used to play it not so safe – I traveled, dated around too much, interviewed for jobs, left jobs, moved a lot, got new jobs, met new people, wore pants more, skied too fast, skied at all, ran marathons, got rejected a lot, spit in the face of fear, drank good wine, spent time with girlfriends, read lots of books – before I had kids.

 

But now I sit here in the safety of thinking that everybody here must need me for something so why bother with the rest of it. And truthfully I’m not rocking this SAHM thing all that much because my house is a mess and I truly could not care less about cooking. Also, who the hell is really going to put that pile of laundry away.

 

So in this 35 hours my epiphany is that while I love my life I will not settle for safe anymore.

(What I wore to the Minnesota Blog Conference – Purple shirtdress from Anthropologie, Brown chevron tights from Missoni for Target, Oxford heels and belt from Anthropologie)

Here’s my plan.

-I will not settle for just the 10 out of 10 writing rejection letters that I received this year. I will receive at least 100 this next year dammit. No 200 – because that is how much I am going to put myself out there. I know now that I need to be out there. I need to write more. I need to write everyday and not play it safe because I am good enough..and with those 200 rejections I know there will be acceptance to continue writing. I know it.

-I will take pictures everyday. I will take the time to shoot and edit. I will take shitty pictures. So many damn shitty pictures knowing that some of them will be gems. They will. And I will take the time to invest in my photography – with classes and actually photo editing software and TIME. Because I know I have it in me if I wasn’t just sitting here playing it safe and thinking that it will never be me and that ‘woe is me’ I just cannot do it.

-I run almost everyday but now I will run farther. I will sign-up for that marathon that I’ve been talking about for the last four years. 2013 watch the fuck out road. I’m going to beat you. And I don’t care if I cannot run a sub-four hour marathon anymore. Worrying about my time is playing it safe and basically means I am doing nothing.

-I will make an effort to go out more. Dinner dates? Movies? Plays? I don’t know. But I know it would be good for me.

-I will ask for help when I need it. I won’t worry about cooking or laundry or vacuuming being my SAHM job. There are four other bodies here that can help too and I will make them appreciate the help that they do and I won’t feel guilty about take-out for dinner. Also, I won’t apologize for our house.

-I will help at my kid’s school. This scares the absolute shit of me – okay just go and analyze that. But I think that kids scare me. They do. Maybe because I see them never playing it safe and I wonder how they do that.  So maybe I’ll spend some time with a few so they can teach me a thing or two.

(What I wore out shopping at H&M – Black sweater, belt and scarf from Anthropologie, Charlie Dress from Matilda Jane, Bag from Karma, boots from Nordstroms)

But my skirts and dresses – well they will always be me..safe and comfortable and easy to wear. So don’t get excited thinking that I might wear pants again because it’s a pretty safe bet that will rarely happen.

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Linking up with The Pleated Poppy and What I Wore Wednesday

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You’re now required to like Sellabit Mum on Facebook. You’re welcome.

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I Got Nothing Big

I’m trying to dig out of this canyon right now. Nothing seems all that big yet everything seems all that big. Laundry looks big and my bill pile looks big. The litter box is huge and the schedule we’ve created thus far for the kids seems monstrous.

 

Work is big. Which makes no sense because truly it’s not very big.

Now the pile of fucking walnuts in my backyard. Well that is big. And annoying and I’ve never wanted a pellet gun more. Damn squirrels.

 

Astrid is now also big. She started school and said she was just so little until last week when she announced that she was big and would now always put her shoes on ‘all by herself’ and poop ‘all by herself’ and make her own lunch ‘all by herself’ which means I should probably buy a dorm fridge so she can reach everything she needs.

(Unwritten law in my family that my mother gives all first haircuts because she went to beauty school in 1966)

But Astrid is allowed to get big because that’s her job.

 

I wish my hair would get bigger again. And by bigger – I don’t mean bigger hair - I mean just some body. Who else finds more hair on the floor than on their head most mornings?

My boobs will never get bigger. Thank god.

 

Social media is actually starting to scare me a bit because it’s becoming so big and so important that it’s taken over lives.

There are so many blogs that I’m just overwhelmed. But believe me, I like you over there with the small blog because you’re hot and I like them small. Like mine.

 

In the meantime while I’m sinking in ‘the big’ I feel like a big change needs to happen. Like I know I’m focusing my attention where it should not be while something I really want to do has been staring at me for years and now it’s time for me to focus somewhere more productive and creative and somewhere happier.

 

And don’t worry – I love blogging and don’t mean I’m leaving this space. I just want to do more to add to my big. Whatever that is.

In the meantime I just wanted you to know that Astrid got her first haircut last week. I mean she is only three. Maybe in a few months she’ll be ready to move out of her crib.

 

You know, when she’s really bigger.

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On Vacation

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that your kids are growing up. I mean I buy them new clothes because they seem to grow daily and I don’t try to shove my 9 year old into size 2T clothes anymore.

 

But there are so many moments that they just seem so little.  Or I forget that time has passed.

 

I planned a drive from Minnesota to my parent’s home in Indiana. It’s a solid 12 hour drive and with just one adult(me) it can be very, very long. And while I’ve tried to get Eloise to help me drive she still cannot quite see over the steering wheel.  Maybe if I put her back into her booster seat…

Two years ago when we made this drive I did it in two easy days – six hours each day. It was my plan this week to do it the same way. But I forgot something. Two year ago I still had a nursing baby and no iPad.

 

Turns out with an iPad, a potty trained almost three year old and two other kids who can basically take care of themselves – you can do a 12 hour drive all by yourself quite easily.

 

And since everyone in the car no knows their alphabet we can even play the ‘sign game’ and I even let them win a few times.

 

Anyway, I’m on vacation this week. And by on vacation I mean I’m in Indiana, not on a private beach in Aruba.   But I’ll take it.

 

xoxo

 

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Project 365 week 23

Whoa what a week. I actually took naps the last few days because I am just shot. I’m going to blame it on the heat and having way too much to do rather than my age.

 

The girls had their end of year dance recitals this week as well as their last week of school with many fun activities.  It was an emotional roller coaster, intensely fun, yet exhausting.  Next year I think I will plan for a short weekend getaway to a beach somewhere just to unwind, but mainly so I don’t have to look at the mound of laundry that piled up this week. More details on the events of the week coming soon.

 

Here are some highlights.  (And yes when you are two and your family is busy pretty much you just take naps when you can.)

In case you missed it I was honored to guest post about wanting our home to be one that my kids want to hang-out in and I guest posted about how I started writing. (If you haven’t been there yet I would love a visit).

 

In other news – how do you know you’re a parent of a toddler – the signs are easy to spot.

 

Astrid is still sleeping with her pussy bear and I wonder if you are happy with your right now.

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Have a great Sunday. Happy Summer break! Oh and if you haven’t already all the cool kids are liking me on Facebook and you really should too.

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Project 365 Week 22

Here’s what we did this week…

 

In pictures…

and in words…

How do you encourage your children to take risks?

Is breakfast for dinner acceptable or the end of proper society?

Isn’t it fun having a string hanging out of your butt?

And a creed for the parents who shop Justice for their tweens – and yes a creed because I don’t know how to write a prayer.

 

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Enjoy your Sunday – ours will be at Grand Old Day watching a parade. I love our neighborhood.

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Project 365 week 21 – The Beavers, Braces and Birthdays Edition

May is busy. Every May I wonder how we will get through it all. If you don’t have school age kids yet, you might be wondering what I am talking about…so oh just wait. May is December on steroids.

 

But it’s a good busy. The busy May is full of happy things – end of school parties, field trips, graduations, Spring sports, recitals, concerts, award ceremonies, teacher gifts and recognitions, finalizing Summer plans – vacations and camps and the like.

 

School is out in exactly nine days and then we can all breathe a bit easier again.

 

Do you have a crazy May?

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Thus, we had a busy week again – the highlight was my dear friend Kristi’s 50th birthday. Her husband threw her a surprise party which was absolutely fantastic!  There should be more surprise parties in our lives, yes?  Do you like surprises?

 

Astrid has been potty trained for quite awhile now and I just finally blogged about it. I wasn’t sure if I was even going to mention it because nothing says ‘mom blogger’ like a potty post, you know?

 

We are trying to figure out how to afford a Disney World Vacation.  This was until we had Eloise’s first orthodontic appointment on Thursday and any plans to actually leave our home for a vacation might be tabled until 2024. But that is another post for another time. Seriously, beauty and braces are expensive!!!

 

I have to find a new Starbucks to visit as Astrid now hit-on the cute Barista with her beautiful beaver story and we can never show our faces(or our beavers) there again.

 

Do you have anything exciting planned for the weekend?  We are going to Valley Fair tomorrow – our first time as a family to an amusement park. I hope someone goes on the big roller coasters with me!!!

 

Have a great holiday weekend.

xo

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Project 365 weeks 19/20

Happy Weekend – if you are looking for something really, really, really good to do this weekend…go here to Scary Mommy’s Blog.  Summer is upon us and families the use their school  free lunch program may need some extra help this year.  As an alumnus of the free school lunch program and as a mom of students who have a third of the kids in their school eligible to receive a free or reduced fee lunch – I personally know the importance of helping these families…so please go help if you can. Thank you. xo

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I didn’t do my weekly recap 365 post last week as I was ‘Mother’s Daying’ at Ruttgers.  I’m still suffering from a bit of PTSD(Post Traumatic Swimsuit Disorder) but hopefully I’ll be healed this week just in time for Summer and lots of pool time! Oh joy!!

 

I realize that many of you who follow me on The Twitter and The Facebook or perhaps The Instagram probably have already seen these pictures but I still post them here because my mom isn’t on any of those places but she reads my blog. So you all must suffer for my family. Bless you.

The highlights of our week have included finding a suitable plaid shirt!, and eating ice cream(did you enter to win yet?).

 

Okay, that is not true – the highlight of the week was my post about my girls being there for one another WON the sponsorship by BRICA to Type A Conference in June. WON! I’m beyond honored to be chosen from all of those amazing entries and words from talented women.  So go check-out BRICA!

 

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. We went to the Farmer’s Market and planted lots of flowers. Today – vacuuming and laundry. I hope your Sunday is just as exciting.

 

 

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Project 365 Week 18

I did 100% mom stuff this week. I didn’t work. I tried to stay away from the computer. Mostly. I caught up on laundry. Our dishwasher has been broken for 23 days so I’ve done a significant amount of dishes. I’ve consider resorting to take-out only so there will never be dishes again. I’ve cursed some European dishwasher makers because I hate ours so much.

In the meantime we’ve resorted to donuts only for breakfast. If you live in the Twin Cities you must try Mojo Monkey Donuts (they don’t know me nor will they even tweet me back…as if) but their donuts rock so I’ll continue to stalk them and tell my friends.

 

I took Astrid to the zoo – TWICE. There should be an award ceremony for that. She rode the carousel at Como Zoo. We were first in line for the first ride of the whole season. I kept waiting for confetti or a key to the city.

 

Today I took the girls to see their first imax movie in 3D.  Immediately afterwards we headed to Justice to exchange some items. Word of warning to you over 40 – if you watch a 3D imax movie and then enter Justice – YOU WILL FEEL REALLY DIZZY AND LIKE YOU WANT TO PUKE.  It was like a great acid trip from 1985 but with 3 children in your care and a minivan to drive home.

 

Other stuff we did this week – and a review for you in case you’ve been busy doing dishes also and accidentally missed my blog  – we started a garage band.  I’m still waiting for it to go viral and for Toyota to call me and either say “OMG you’re amazing” or “Maybe you should consider buying a Honda next time and leave us out of it.”

 

Esther and Astrid’s room redo is finally done. It’s fun to hear the comments on what your kid room-sharing statuses are.

 

I love when my kids celebrate each other. It’s a parenting win don’t you think? Anyway – I hope they will be there for each other until they are 122 or forever – whichever comes last.

 

And don’t forget to enter for $100 worth of free house cleaning!

 

Have a great weekend. Don’t drop acid.

 

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