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March 2009
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May 2009

last day of april!!!

and ... i don't have photo-of-the-day pix for you.

chill, man.

i DO, however, have chicks. remember, i said i was going to do a newborn shoot of chicks? my eyebrow lady called me two weeks ago so see if she could hire me to do a newborn shot of these chicks; one of her co-workers is a total sweetie and is always throwing baby showers, but doesn't have any children of her own. so when she said her eggs were hatching, my friend and her co-workers cooked up this "welcome baby chicks!" shower plan. and i think i might have been the big winner!

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seriously, does it get any cuter?

tomorrow will be part 1 of the final-week recap in photos. i've asked becca to guest-blog so you can finally hear her voice and put it alongside her words. and she's heading out tomorrow to prep for running the indy mini marathon on saturday ... we can all wish her luck! then saturday i'll try to post my part 2, in between pinkifying harper's room and getting rid of the "baby stuff." (ie orange walls and vintage nursery rhyme prints she's had since the day she was born. she's over it.) tomorrow is a trip to ikea, joann's, and target to get what we need. let's just hope harper doesn't change her mind halfway through the project and hate what she is currently okaying. because that's highly possible with her.

cheers.


let's have a quickie

just pix today. becca is taking off to tennessee to watch matt graduate from officer training, and i leave on friday morning for a weekend in chicago with four of my most intensely dear friends from high school (one of the girls i've known and been friends with, literally, longer than anyone else in my life). so there may be a daily pic hiatus until monday. unless bec and i both come through tomorrow. i have chix to shoot tomorrow, so you KNOW i'll be here ... ;o)

anywhoodle ...

today, bec got a new camera bag/backpack/awesome thing:

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and today in minnesota, harper played dress-up before we left to pick up henry from mad science. she also seems to have gotten daddy's spring allergies and got doped up on benadryl. so she fell asleep in the backseat, decked out in knee socks, a black leotard, an ariel dress, an ll bean fleece jacket, and plaid sunglasses. rockin'.

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day 20.

here are your pix for the day:

becca saw some beautiful dew-droppy blades of grass:

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and harper and i spent the morning poking around one of my favorite antiques stores, hunt & gather in minneapolis, looking for little props for the chickie shoot that got postponed till wednesday because of the crummy weather today:

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and i scored: a vintage chicken bucket from a restaurant with the words "tub o' chicken" on the side!! how much do you love that?? is it a little wrong to put baby chicks in that, i wonder ...? also found some adorable oil cloth to cover the top of harper's art table so she doesn't ruin it completely.

i think that's it for today. it's early enough that i can knock out three or four daily shows while scrapping a page for deadline before heading to bed.

see you tomorrow!


weekend update

and i'm not seth myers.

but anyway ...

day 18, saturday:

try as she might, becca just can't get isabella to stop watching infomercials during the day.

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and yesterday 'round these parts, marc synced up the garage door opening button in his car with our actual garage door. and while he was doing that, henry decided to have a little fun at the expense of me allowing him to ever drive, in this is any indication how he will behave ...

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sadly, an hour after this picture was taken, henry pulled into the driveway on his bike and pulled up alongside the car to talk to daddy, and "something happened" to cause his bike to veer into the car. the man car now has a scratch across the back driver's side door. so. not. cool. and poor marc ... he was totally bummed.

not a good end to the day in the skinner house.

and the mood carried over today ...

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we woke up to gloom and gray, which normally isn't a bad way to spend a sunday. but marc took off mid-afternoon for a few days of work out of state, and we were all feeling the "meh" about that.

becca was in a blue period today, too, fixing a hole in matt's jeans before he returns from officer's training next week. on a non-blue note, my brother-in-law will be a lieutenant this weekend!! go, matt! now they can salute each other as equals.

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wish me luck for tomorrow ... i'm doing a newborn shoot - of baby chicks!!! so fun. i'm praying it goes well ... babies are one thing, but a dozen baby chickens?! oh my. i'm taking harper along as my trusty wrangler ...

pix tomorrow, along with the story of just how i came to shoot chicks. with a camera.

hope your weekend was much less blue!


day 17, and a movie review

becca has this plant. she's had it for nearly a year. and it's still alive. becca ... was this a plant you got from grandma's funeral? if so, how appropriate that of all the plants you've had, THIS is the one that managed to live. our grandma had a fantastically green thumb, and the beds at her house were always impeccable. i can still remember the riot of red tulips and yellow daffodils (her favorite) every spring. so, kudos, bec, for keeping the plant alive! i have yet to see one of mine reach maturity ...

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on my side of things, marc and i had impromptu date night last night. amen for hourly childcare that doesn't require reservations. anyway, we hit the 5 p.m. showing of "state of play" then grabbed some dinner at california pizza kitchen. quick date, but nice to get away from the constant noise that is our brood for a little while.

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the movie was ... good. i'll give it good. it was entertaining. i am drawn to any movie that has hard-hitting journalists battling a deadline, and especially if there is politics involved. this had both, so on those facts alone i was happy to be there. and then there was ben affleck ... always eye candy, in my book. and say what you want about the guy, he IS talented. you just have to forgive the whole "jlo" thing ... every guy is attracted to bright & shiny at least once.

anyway, the hardest thing for me to swallow about the whole movie was the idea we were supposed to buy that ben and russell crowe were college roommates, and that ben and robin wright penn were college sweethearts. poor ben was seriously miscast here. the congressman needed to be someone a good 10 years older than poor mr affleck.

the most interesting part of the movie was the idea that blogs and corporating financing are killing newspapers. this is not new news, but seeing it in action really does make one fear the rise of the blogger (ahem) as a news source, and the control money and management can exert over a story. on one hand, blogs have their place (i seriously thought russell crowe was going to let the ingenue blog reporter break the story because blogging doesn't have the same "ethical" standards as print) and can be a route to red-tape freedom, but on the other hand, there is something slightly untrustworthy about it. granted, i read web news and "blog"-type news sites, and it is an interesting perspective. but there needs to be some "playing nice" between the two genres of news. newspapers probably won't last forever. they are untimely, expensive, and bound to be slowed down by publishers and corporate power.

sadly, i just read an article the other day about college majors that are hot, warm, and cold, and the article stated english majors should be discouraged from pursuing that path. their reasoning? there will be no "traditional" journalism jobs, and that finding a job reporting the news and actually getting paid for it will be next to impossible. apparently, if you have an english degree, the only career path you could possibly choose is journalism. funny ... when *i* was an in english major, everyone assumed i would teach. (um, no.) being a proud owner of a BA in english lit/minor in print media, i felt immediately offended. there are SO many other jobs that one can do with an english degree. if we discourage kids from studying the classics, how to write, how to think critically, that would be a huge disservice, and have a huge impact on the way companies and people communicate. who will write fundraising letters or speeches if no one knows how to write persuasively? who will write textbooks or corporate communications if no one can write effectively?

anyway ... this begets a whole other subject. i just wanted to say - hey! i saw a movie! i had popcorn and watched ben affleck for two hours! it was good.


inspiration

first, this:


wow.

other forms of inspiration? beets, apparently.

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henry and i went to the fancy grocery store yesterday after school, because i was craving fresh veggies and they are always better from the fancy grocery, steamed in the bamboo steamer. spring = fresh veggies, always. so as we were perusing the options, i said, "ooh, beets! that sounds kind of good." and henry, to my surprise, said, "yeah! can we get beets? i love beets?" (the child has never had beets in his life.) we put them in the bag, and i couldn't contain my curiosity any longer. i just had to ask, since when do you love beets? and he answered, "well, i'm guessing i love them. because i read in the 'bathroom reader' book that if you eat beets, your pee turns pink!" ahh. that explains sooooo much. then i burst his bubble by telling him he would have to eat a LOT of beets to change the color of his pee. but still.

inspiration had struck, though. beets sounded good to me (which, to be honest, beets NEVER sound good to me), they sounded good to henry (despite the reason why), so we brought them home. and i decided they were actually quite a lovely vegetable. and i steamed them. and both harper and henry gobbled up their slices and asked for more. ?! who would have thought? i wasn't as surprised by henry, because he's always been a good fruit & veggie eater, but harper? she never eats anything remotely "interesting" looking. wow. so glad i had some leftover to steam tomorrow for them!

and i was so inspired by their loveliness that they became my photo for today.

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and speaking of inspiration, i think becca was inspired to play with a new lens today ... i sent my 50mm 1.8 her way. let's cheer her on ... bokeh for becca!! and balancing balls for bruiser!! yahoo!!

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first, pix. and then, crazy talk.

becca saw some cool clouds tonight:

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and i saw my kids willingly and happily playing together, without yelling or screaming. too bad it was during the 10 minutes this morning that henry was supposed to be getting dressed and feeding the cat:

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i was going to rant today about henry's school district's decision to fiddle around with school start times next year to accommodate a) new busing routes to work around the new elementary school; and b) some researcher's study that the adolescent brain actually learns and retains better when it starts later in the day. ergo, high schoolers need to go to school later in the day. and i was going to whine that now i have no way of getting both my kids to school on time, and harper will have to be 20 minutes late to preschool every morning because of henry's new start time, which works out to about $40 a month down the toilet in education she will miss. and then i was going to bitch about how all we do as a society is cater to teenagers and enable them to be the most self-centered, entitled, unproductive generation, and how giving them a late start time in the name of "research says so" just adds to this sense of them not learning to be disciplined. and how they will go to college and then on to a career and still think the world will revolve around their needs. ugh. so irritating.

then i decided i need to just let it go and focus on figuring out how to rearrange life around school that starts an hour later, and how to work out the preschool thing, because ranting and whining and bitching solve nothing.

so i thought, you know ... crazy talk is MUCH more fun!

marc and i sat on the couch for about half an hour tonight discussing moving, a timeline, the pros and cons of doing it sooner while home prices are so low even though we don't have as much in savings as we would like to put down, versus waiting two years and having enough in the bank but perhaps home prices will again be on the rise and we wouldn't get as much for our money as we would now. and then i got online see what kind of stuff would be in the area we are looking and in the price range, and i found a house that we had looked at last year just for fun in the neighborhood we would love to be in, and it's back on the market and for 100 grand LESS than it was a year ago. um ... that means we could actually afford it. so now our heads are spinning.

i swear, i'm obsessed with houses and the possibilities they create. it's an illness.

and now, i think, to bed. marc is already on his way up, and his decision has inspired me.

see you tomorrow.

(oh ... happy birthday, dad! i'll call again tomorrow!)

*ETA: katrina commented a few valid reasons of support for high schoolers starting late, and in emailing a response to her, i realized it might be good to add those thoughts here, too. because there is much more thought behind my irritation of the school start time decision than just catering to high schoolers and screwing with my schedule. ha.

i knew i should have taken the time to be more specific. ;o)

i have a few issues with the whole thing, aside from catering to high schoolers and screwing with established schedules - i can't be the only parent for whom this will create a nightmare in trying to work around other schedules, other kids, a job, day care, etc. )

one big issue (and this one is strictly selfish, because i'm an open enrolled district parent) is that in two years i will have a child at the elementary school, attending from 8:50 to 3:50, and i will have a child at the junior high, attending from 7:20 to 2:20. that is eight 15 mile trips a day ... four hours of my day spent in the car for them to attend school. if marc's home, i won't have to disrupt harper's sleep to get henry to school, but if he isn't around, that means she will have to be up before 7 because she'll have to come along to take henry to school. (a BIG reason why the moving discussion started up last night.)

another issue that goes with the junior high thing is that the kids will go from starting school at 8:50 a.m. until 6th grade, at which time they will switch to a start time of 7:20 ... more than an hour earlier for wake up time! talk about a shock to the system!

third, for these elementary kids now starting at 8:50 and ending at 3:50, if they have anything after school, it won't be over until nearly 5:00, and then they have to do homework (henry sometimes has more than an hour a night already), and then dinner and bedtime. when do they get free time to just be a kid and play? and on top of that, there are times when OUR schedules as the parents preclude henry from starting homework until later anyway, which would even further push back bedtime. and just because kids CAN wake later for school doesn't mean they will. henry is up by 7 every day, regardless of how much or little sleep he got the night before.

and then the junior high kids ... they will now be out of school in the mid-afternoon at 2:20 ... do we really need 11-13 year olds with so much free time on their hands?? especially unchaperoned, if the parent has to work and was previously okay with their kid being home alone from 3:30 till 5:00? that adds a whole hour of unsupervised time to kill for these kids.

and then after junior high they switch back to an 8:20 start time. which isn't terrible, but still. as far as needing rest and whatnot goes, i'm going to be a bit curmudgeonly here. when i was in high school, i was a competitive swimmer. i was in the pool daily by 3:30, and left the pool at 5:30. then i had homework. then bed. then back in the pool or weight room at 5 a.m. ...unless i had a meet, in which case i was on a bus for sometimes an hour after school getting to a meet, then the meet, then drive-through mcd's at 8 p.m. and trying to do homework by the light from the red exit sign in the back of the bus. i wouldn't actually be in bed until about 11, and then there would be the pool or weight room again the next morning. and i still had to work, because my parents didn't give me money, and i was expected to have good grades (i was usually on or close to the honor roll). somehow i managed, and was able to be at work at my first job out of college by 7 a.m. every day because i'd been taught discipline, sacrifice, and time management. the teenagers i've seen around here all seem to be spoiled and entitled, who expect the oceans to part for them. granted, a lot of that has to do with parenting, but i'm not sure kids are given enough responsibility anymore.

anyway, i have several problems with the whole thing. to me, it seems like a lot of chaos for a problem that could have been resolved with much less disruption (the busing thing).

and there. now i've expanded my earlier ire. ;o)


day 14

can't believe the month is halfway over tomorrow! good grief. this year is going waaaayyyy too quickly.

i have more to post, but tonight i'll leave it with just pix. i feel a rant coming on, and don't have the energy tonight.

today ...

becca found the world's ugliest pants at target for $25. a) no one in their right mind would pay $25 for these; and b) i believe they were found in a recently unearthed box marked "1988" and put on a rack for the "retro" sale.

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and i discovered that even when mchotness makes it home from work in time for dinner, he isn't actually yet "off work."

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photo-heavy four-day recap

first up ... photo-a-day pix:

on friday ...

becca got a gorgeous shot of some weird spring tree thing in her yard:

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and harper and i joined our friends heather and kate at the macy's garden show downtown, where i caught this shot of the girls scampering through the skywalk:

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then on saturday ...

becca decided origami flowers are the best flowers because they never fade or die:

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and i discovered that my son can put a diner spoon on his nose:

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sunday, easter, becca was hangin' with our grandma and doing the egg thing:

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and we were saying goodbye to my parents, who had visited for the weekend, and wrangling the kids to cooperate for five minutes on the couch so i could get a semi-respectable photo of the two of them looking moderately content to be touching each other while wearing clothes they would prefer not to wear:

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(well, actually, harper was thrilled to wear an easter dress. but henry revolted against the sweater by doing the dork drop in the yard. see his knees?)

and then today ...

becca happened upon the super awesome pair of shoes that she found over christmas while we were out shopping ... on sale big time, and the only pair left in the store were her size. fate, baby:

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and i bugged the cat:

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and now i'm all caught up. i thought about posting pix from the garden show and easter, but ... meh. maybe tomorrow. i'm going to claim the remote instead and get involved in something, maybe "lost in austen," before marc gets home.


days 8 & 9. and bathroom update.

pix from yesterday ...

becca's mode of communication with her hubby until the end of the month:

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and i forced myself to look up - figuratively and literally - after the disappointment of the new shower:

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and today, becca's cat, isabella, was seeking some quiet time away bruiser:

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and marc broke down henry's first bike, the one with training wheels, and covered the "major damage" design and blue/black/red colors with something more harper-approved:

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and while he was feeling handy, he checked out the shower handle for me, and discovered that if he pushed it up ever so slightly, the water got ever so slightly warmer. so he talked to the contractor (who was conveniently busy and didn't return my call until about 4:30 today), and was walked through the process of taking off the flange to access the screws that loosen the handle and allow more hot water threads to be turned on.

or something like that.

well, the contractor cut the tile so close to the plumbing that the screw is only partially visible. to get to it with a screwdriver, *someone* will have to come out tomorrow with a tile saw and make the hole bigger. and *someone* will be called every hour on the hour until he shows up with that saw.

and i'm done with the whole thing. i'm packing up my girl, meeting my friend heather and her daughter downtown, and we're going to go look at the spring garden show at macy's. i need a breather.

and by the time i get home, my parents should be here or be close.

and maybe *someone* will have shown up with a tile saw.