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April 2006
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June 2006

in case i'm not around ...

Never fear. I haven't given up blogging. I'm just way busy right now. We leave on Thursday for a 600 mile car ride to Indiana ... and please note that my daughter hates hates hates her car seat. Like, really hates it. So this should be lots of fun.
We'll drive to Indy on Thursday, then I leave Marc and the kiddos with his family and I'll schlep two hours to the north to be with my family. My cousin, Abe, is getting married and I'm a photographer for their big day. I'll start at 9 a.m. with Lisa and her bridesmaids as they get their hair done, and then will follow her all day long until the ceremony at 4:30 and through the reception afterward. Long freaking day, but I'm so excited and can't wait to start creating these photos that my head has been imagining. I hope the weather cooperates - the ceremony is in Lisa's parents' backyard. How special is that?!
So the wedding will take Friday and Saturday. Sunday I'll head back to Indy, and Monday I'm hanging with/doing a photo shoot for one of my oldest and dearest friends, Amy, and her beautiful little girl, Edie, who is nine months old. Last time I saw Amy, said baby was still in utero.
Then Tuesday we head back home.
And somewhere in there Marc and I hope to have a little time alone together, and I have to edit all the content for the June issue of DesignerZine.
Oy. Stinkin'. Vey.
Marc made the comment about how it'll be nice to relax and catch up on sleep. Apparently Dude hasn't given any thought to the fact that my schedule is a little different than his. While he's being loved on by Mommy and the kiddos will be off his hands, I'll be loggin' the miles. But I'll be taking pix and hanging with my family ... I have a 50% chance of having a most excellent time.
The crazy thing is that this kicks off our summer. Henry graduates from kindergarten on June 8 (why do they need to "graduate"? Are we supposed to throw a party? Buy him gifts? Since when is this transition a big deal?) and will, the following week, start going to park camp every morning. Later in the summer he'll be in a one-week-long Camp Invention ... summer camp for geeks in training. Totally up his alley. I'd like to send him to a nature camp at the Y too, but considering every one-week summer camp is about $200, we really have to pick and choose what he's going to do. Our gym has an awesome outdoor pool with kids' area, so I think we'll just go there daily instead.
And I need to head BACK to Indiana at some point to throw a wedding shower for my sister, who is getting married in September.
Holy cow - September. Summer better be fun because September is going to be insane.
Over Labor Day we'll be in Iowa for a wedding, two weeks later I'm photographing another wedding, when our friends Jess and Dave get married at my favorite spot in the Cities - the Landscape Arboretum (how excited am I?! Woohoo!!), and the following week we're yet again on the road to Indiana for my sister's wedding. And sometime between now and then I have to lose 40 pounds.
Busy summer. Bookended by wedding shoots. And I have a couple of family shoots thrown in between now and then. At what point do I say "Hey! I'm a photographer!"?
Crazy busy months ahead, but there is lots of fun to be had, I have a feeling.


BjtylerYes, it's old news, but i just finally got around to watching all of the finale of Amazing Race. And can I just say that the entire last forty minutes I was clapping and smiling and bouncing up and down because the hippies were kicking frat boy booty?!
To watch BJ & Tyler maneuver around Japan was lovely. To watch them out-paddle boat those cocky testorone-laden boys was joy. To watch them out-brain the waiter and valet was vindicating. To watch them win so gleefully, to the snide scowls from MoJo and compared to the can't-look-at-the-camera bad attitude of  Boy 1 and Boy 2 was pure perfection.
Finally - a reality show outcome that actually made me happy I'd invested the time. I loved the hippies (and the Geek couple - how cute were they?!) from Day 1, so their win was sweet. And I would have been totally crushing on them in college ...
Good to see people genuinely love the adventure and not let it ruin their relationship or integrity.

what's in a name?

Sepiaharp_1 When Marc and I got married, one thing we agreed on was that we loathed trendy and/or odd names for kids. It just seemed so unfair to strap some small child with some far-out name just because the parents wanted to be unique in their naming choices. But yet we wanted to be enough different with our kids' names so as to avoid making our child just like everyone else. I mean, really - we were born in the early 70s and he's a Marc and I'm a Michele. Disregarding the spelling of each, there were scads of Marks and Michelles wherever we went.

While we were still dating, it somehow came up that we both liked the name Henry. Classic, smart, decent. A good solid name. When I was pregnant, we went to Walden Pond in Massachusetts - as an English major, I was a big Thoreau fan, and somehow being there while five months pregnant felt prescient. Henry it would be if our child was a boy. And he was.

(Don't get me started on how trendy Henry suddenly is, though. I promise you, more than six years ago I didn't hear it anywhere!)

People always say how great the name Henry is, and we're proud of giving him such a fine moniker. But then there's Harper. When people ask her name, I always have to repeat myself. I had no idea we'd chosen such an "out there" name for our girl!

So, with lack of anything better to write about, I'm gonna tell you the story of Harper Lillian's name.

Because Henry's name has a double meaning for us - a name we both independently liked before we were even married, and the name of one of my favorite writers whose home we just happened to visit while I was pregnant - I wanted to do the same with my next child.

When I was in high school and falling in love with literature, I read the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. I loved the story. And I loved that my grandpa, an attorney and a Congressman for 16 years, was referred to in local media as an "Atticus Finch figure" for his legal and political work for the downtrodden, for civil rights, for the underdog. Because of the respect he earned, and the connection made between him and that character, I loved the book even more.

Ever since reading "Mockingbird" I liked the name Harper, but I also liked lots of other names. Heck, Henry, if a girl, was going to be Annabelle. As was child #2, as far as I knew.

Then, right after my miscarriage, my grandpa passed away. All the old articles started being dredged up, all the media started replaying soundbites. And that Atticus Finch reference again came up.

While his death was still on my mind, I once again got pregnant. And the name Harper was again in the front of my mind. Since Henry is named after a literary great, why shouldn't his sister? And in a small way it's an homage to Grandpa and what a special person he was.

And the Lillian? Well, that's Henry's doing. A month before Harper was born, Henry attended a Big Sibling class at the hospital. In the video shown to the kids, the baby's name was Lily. Henry came home all psyched up for being a Big Brother, and insisted that our baby would be called Lily. We had to tell him that no, in fact, his sister was not going to be Lily. Now Henry is a stickler for status quo and precedent, and he got quite literally bent out of shape that we were not following suit and naming the baby Lily. So we thought, why not? We liked Lillian as a name (actually nixed it as a first name because of it's trendiness. We were planning to use Eleanor so both our kids could have the same initials.) and decided we could use it as the middle name, and then Henry was free to call her Lily if he wanted.

And he did. For about a year. Then he told us that Harper wasn't such a bad name afterall and he was dropping the Lily for now.

It would have been a lot easier to just pick some name out of a book, but then there'd be no fun story, eh?


I became aware of two significant milestones yesterday: 1) my blog's had more than 10,000 views (wonder how many of those are my own, though, as I test stuff?), and 2) I've officially been journaling for more than a year.

That last one is huge for me. Because while I've been a writer my whole life, I've never been much of a journaler/diarist. I had great aspirations when I was younger, and then again in college, but it never stuck. I guess I just needed the right format. I'm a much better/faster thinking/writer on a keyboard than longhand.

So, cheers to me. And cheers to you, for sticking with me. To all of you who have posted comments, thank you! I'd blog even if I got no hits and no comments - because ultimately, this IS just a journal - but the fact that I occasionally strike a chord with people and the fact that I'm blessed with lovely friends have made this a really rewarding experience.

In honor this, my 101st post in the past 370 days of work in progress, I leave you with my own greatest hits (hardy har har):
1. the one that started this party
2. my biopoem, which I'll one day scrap
3. amazement that my baby is already four months old
4. the lisa russo post. this baby still gets me hits ... all the people searching for lisa's blog
5. the two peas crop, where nisa, kirsten, and jes became fixtures in my life, and margie became our croppin' buddy. what a blessing that weekend was!
6. apparently it's been "one of those days" for a year now. sheesh! give the sistah a break!! oh, and also, apparently the moratorium on the f-word is over.
7. still pondering this question
8. still good for a laugh
9. still using this line. and it's a winner every time.
10. the night Henry peed in the fridge
11. New Year's resolutions. I've kept only one - going to the gym. And that's cuz they have free child care and some days that's the only way I can take a shower in peace.
12. the Seth Wescott post, cuz he's still yummy
13. my girls. i love them so.
14. the donna downey post. another heavy hitter.
15. laughing at the cat is good for one's soul

And there you are - caught up to May. Fun little trip down memory lane, that was.

Happy Blogversary to me and you!! Thanks for your support.

views of sunday dinner

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Sunday afternoon, Marc got in a guacamole mood. When that mood strikes, the prudent thing is to take it to Edina to Tejas. They have, literally, the best guacamole in the world. Or, at least in the Cities. Avocado ... roasted garlic ... pico ... green tabasco ... worcestershire (which must be the secret ingredient) ... it's seriously its own food group.

The best thing about it is that Tejas is located in a beautiful little setting ... boutiques, enclosed walkways that feel like an American knock-off of Europe, little wine bars, brick paths, lovely plants. It's a great place to just lolligag. Knowing that, my camera came along for the ride.

Henry did the typical "I'm too sick to eat" routine once he found out he couldn't get barbecue sauce with his chicken strips, even though he was perfectly fine during chips and lemonade time. Harper ate more than her fair share of the guac and some mac & cheese. Marc had an enormous cobb salad with grilled steak, I had a chipotle shrimp appetizer with chevre croutons and a bowl of amazing tortilla soup. Food-wise we were all happy ... parent-wise, we were a little miffed with Henry's attitude. Win some, lose some, I guess.

But the walk was worth it. Such a lovely afternoon.

(Oh ... and notice: I am now addicted to action-ifying and border-ing my pix. You'll be inundated with those, I have a feeling, until I get it out of my system. Bygones.)

quite the day.

Grungehenryyard First of all, can I just say how much I love that we have a yard? For seven years we lived in the city on this tiny little lot. Henry would run in tight circles ... around and around and around. But now - ah, now!! Room to run and spin and throw airplanes and just be a kid with the sun on your face. It's awesome.

Now, our day. Today's still Saturday, right?

Harper slept, um, badly last night. After three nights in a row of not waking (or not waking significantly - ie needing our attention to get back into zzz-mode) and taking a good nap during the day, last night she blew it. Up at 1:30 ... still up at 3:30. Yeegawds. And today we ran to Ikea, had a ball, but she fell asleep in the car on the way home and messed up her schedule. She went back down for a nap at around 4, and I had to wake her up at 5:45. Took about an hour of crying to get her to sleep tonight ... we'll see if the exercise helps her stay asleep.

And speaking of Ikea - finally got Henry's bunk beds and bookshelf. Bed is made and he's currently sleeping five feet off the floor. The kid was so stinkin' excited he couldn't stop moving. Literally. When he gets excited about something it consumes him and all logic and reason go out the window. It would be sad if it wasn't so funny.

Will post pix soon. Still have "clubhouse curtains" to sew and hang, curtains to sew and hang, stuff to hang on the walls. And stupid Ikea was OUT of red lekman boxes!! Grrr ... must place an order. But the room ... it's turning out so cool.

Tomorrow, if we sleep tonight, will include church and building aforementioned bookcase. We'll see what happens beyond that. Maybe the zoo? A little family outing? We'll see. I have a feeling Henry will just want to climb up and down his bed all day long. Seriously.

OH - and before midnight hits and I can no longer say this: Happy National Scrapbooking Day! (Does a holiday have to be all capitalized like that? Cuz I don't normally like capitalizing things.) I managed to get a handful of pages done for two online crops - one last night at Scrapbook Supply Store, where I DT, and one today at Two Peas. Both way fun. I got these done in the last 24 hours ... bumped up my average this month big time.

Auntbecca_3 Mydreamofyou_1 Theboyis6

Anyhoo ... lovely holiday. Must send cards next year.

it's funny (not funny "ha ha") ...

but everytime I blog when I'm down or stressed or aggravated, my friends rally and I instantly A) feel so loved and appreciative and blessed to have them in my life, and B) feel like the most ungrateful whiner there ever was. And the thing I wrestled with the other day goes back to a talk Marc and I had after my last little cyber-outburst: it may come across that he's selfish or never home or not much help or whatever, and he really isn't that way. Except when he is. Because let's face it, I wouldn't have these issues if he was Mr Perfect Always Involved Johnny-On-The-Spot WonderDad. Then again, is there such a person?

Yes, my complaints have some merit. And I won't apologize for that. But is Marc a bad husband and dad? Not by any stretch of the imagination. He just gets - like most red-blooded men - complacent and wrapped up in his own stuff and starts taking stuff for granted. And he made the mistake once of answering my pleas for help by saying, "My mom had four kids and my dad was hardly home and yet the house was always clean and every meal was on the table and a five-course affair." Yes dear, and your mom had a housekeeper and lived on an enclosed compound with several other families who had children and you were outside playing all day every day. Except when you were shoveled off to boarding school. You're right ... I can't compete with that. I'll always come up short.

No wonder my efforts seem fruitless.

So, I've once again gotten over it and let it go. For now. Marc and I talked ... which will be effective for about seven more days ... and I've been amazingly cheered and heartened by my lovely girls. Support is everything.

And on an unrelated note, all four of Henry's front teeth are loose. Hee hee hee. Imagining him without teeth is so odd ... and yet I'm so excited for him!!

Oh, and three weeks until my first wedding photo gig. Granted it's just my cousin, and I begged on for practice for the real deal one in September, but I'm totally excited. Getting all sorts of ideas in my head that I want to try. Now I just need to get over my feelings of self-consciousness and inadequacy, milling around family and looking like I'm pretending to be a photographer. I always feel so invalid around my family ... but that's another rant for another time.

Oh, and Kirsten: two more of you came in my mail yesterday for Great Clips. My fridge looks like my personal Kirsten shrine! Ha ha.

Marc's in bed with a migraine (yes, another one). The weather is lovely. And the kids and I are off to the zoo.


Before you get to the post below:

I'm sharing some good with the bad. Don't want you thinking I'm a complete lunatic who has nothing better to do than bemoan her life and rant about how horrible things are. I know I'm lucky. I know I'm blessed. Just some days it's very hard to see that.

But here - you'll read about that in a minute. Right now I want to share.

I did something I've never done before: I entered a manufacturer design team contest. ACK!! I'm so not a contest girl, but I did it. Ugh. Cherry Arte - tres fab. Too cool not to enter.

Here's a little looksee at something I entered with their product:

I also made a little shadowbox thingy for our kitchen - plan to make one for each of us:

And I got so inspired by my friend Margie's idea on the April 18th page of the 2006 Autumn Leaves calendar, that here's what I made:
Lovebug1 Lovebug2

Little bits of happy. I take them where I can.