Friday, November 29, 2013

ice cold

One of the weirder aspects of winter that I had not expected until I experienced it, was how you can have the outside temperature can be in the teens and yet the snow and ice is melting (because of the sun shining on it). We had one of those days recently, leading to some pretty epic icicles forming along our roof and on the toys scattered below. It was pretty cool... expect for the massive icicle I found in the bushes. That one was a bit scary. Wouldn't want that falling on you...

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

oh, winter

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It snowed yesterday for real for the first time this season. We've had snowflakes fall a few times before, but this time it stuck. Just a couple inches, but enough to transform the landscape.

I'm excited about the snow. I've been feeling pretty bummed out by the cold and winter in general, but the snow at least makes everything so pretty and pure and helps make up for the rest of it. Of course, today also reminded me of the less-stellar aspects of snow-- all the layers, the mess of wet boots and mittens when everyone walks back in the door, icy sidewalks and porches... Oh yeah, and today it was really fucking cold. All day long we've had massive gusts of wind blowing snow everywhere, not pleasant. This is our second and last New England winter, and while I'm very glad for the chance to experience it and have our time in the snow, I will be quite happy to go back to our mild California "winters" after this year is done...
Snow on our porch last night. Always reminds me of powdered sugar.

Friday, November 22, 2013


This post about two parents who devote the month of November to making their kids' dinosaurs "come to life" (and create all sorts of mayhem) every evening has been making the rounds on Facebook for the past week or so. Zach was the one to read about "dinovember" first, one night last week he showed me the article on his phone then immediately went to the dining table and started setting up a diorama of our dinosaurs attacking one of D's hero factory creations. (Zach spent much of his younger years setting up recreations of historic battles with army men, I think hearing about this project rekindled a spark of joy in his kid-at-heart)
We've kept it up each night so far. Our dinos aren't quite as creative or messy as the originals (our guys are mostly miniature ones, less capable of wreaking the same sort of havoc...also, I'm not as patient or willing to clean up the same level of mess...sorry). But it's been fun, and the boys get a kick out of discovering what the dinos have been up to overnight.
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As with Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc, we're not hiding from them the fact that Dad and I are the ones setting the dinosaurs up. I don't think that takes away from the fun of it, though. D has started giving me requests of what he wants the dinos to do each night ("Mom, tonight make the dinosaurs climb all over my bed!"). We'll see if we keep it up through the rest of the month, but so far we're all enjoying this little project.

Well, except for the cats. I think they're just plain weirded out by it...

Friday, November 15, 2013

furious little moodstorms

The boys have been going through these weird phases lately. D is doing his Jekyll/Hyde thing where he'll be so sweet and loving and snuggly one minute, then the next thing I know I've said the wrong thing and he is furious, stomping out of the room in a rage (...often returning five minutes later seeming as sweet as ever, so at least these moods are short-lived). Q is adorable and hilarious as always. His energy levels seem to have quadrupled lately, and he's got this new... intensity? that kinda scares me sometimes. And sometimes these moods of theirs collide into these perfect storms that become days where I feel like I'm just getting screamed at all day.

This afternoon we had one moment when D was angry with me for something I can't remember, and Q had woken up from his nap in a difficult mood and spent 20 minutes screaming at me because I gave him the wrong spoon for his mac&cheese, and I tried to dig deep into my well of empathy and patience and just came up totally dry. I've been working really hard on trying to stay grounded and calm with them, talking them through their moods, but sometimes you're just spent. So while D steamed in his room upstairs and Q cried inconsolably next to me, I did what I could-- just sat in my chair eating my own food and waited for the storm to pass.

And it did. Q eventually calmed down and with his face streaked with tears he said, "This spoon is fine after all, Mom," and chowed down. D came back downstairs in a better mood, grievances forgiven and forgotten. The rest of the day went by smoothly...more or less. They even were sleep by 7pm, which will hopefully help us get through tomorrow. Now I have laundry to fold and dishes to wash and a bed calling my name...

Thursday, November 14, 2013

musings on blogging

A couple days ago I read a post by Karen at Chookooloonks (one of my favorite bloggers, by the way, do check her out) about feeling like she doesn't know what she's doing with her nearly-ten-years-old blog. It was one of those posts that's surreal to read because you feel like you could have written it yourself (or at least the same sentiment, even if the words wouldn't flow quite as smoothly). It's a feeling I've heard echoed by many long-time bloggers, an existential crisis many of us are wrestling with.

When I started blogging there was already a strong undercurrent of bloggers, but it was new enough that you still had to explain what a "weblog" was to most of the people you knew "in real life." I think most of us started our personal blogs as an experiment, sort of a "what the hell, why not?" moment. We didn't really expect anyone else to actually read our blogs, other than the friends we made on xanga or livejournal. There were no rules, you just wrote what you wanted.

Now it feels like all blogs need to have a Purpose and Direction, you gotta fit a Niche and think about your Audience and Stats and SEO Rank etc etc etc. Posts have to be a Cohesive Story with a Beginning, Middle, and End, and Convey a Message Of Some Type (they can't just be random ramblings, can they?). And it can feel like unless you've got a certain number of page hits, or monetizing with the right ads, or attend the conferences, etc, you're somehow doing it wrong. It's this weird pressure that can be stifling, and I think is one reason why many blogs have faded away over the years.

I don't want to imply anything negative about the way blogging has exploded and how many people are able to make some money, or even make a decent living, off their blogs. Honestly, I think that's pretty damn awesome. But I think that amid all the Big Name Bloggers, and the conferences, and the sponsored posts, and the bazillion articles on How To Blog Right And Stuff, there are many of us sitting just quietly in our little spaces, sharing and connecting, and trying not to feel like maybe we're part of a dying breed.

I've gone through those weird periods a few times. I start wondering about just stopping blogging, or moving on to something different (whatever that might be...?), or just questioning what and how I want to write to the point that it all feels silly. I find this usually happens when I start worrying too much abut what others want to read or what they might think (I'm especially prone to self-consciousness when I know a new friend is reading my blog), rather than focusing simply on what I want to write and share and record. Instead I try to keep in mind that spirit of blogging because, well, "why not?" And because, in the end, I just like it. I think that's the part that matters most.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013

in with the new... and out with the old

Following along in documenting my emotional attachment to electronics, I feel the need to bid a formal farewell to my old camera, a Canon 30D we bought about six years ago.  I owe a lot to that camera. That purchase opened up a whole new world for me, allowing me to not only capture my babies in a way that feels like it does justice to them and their beauty, but also discover this new passion and creative outlet. I am so incredibly grateful for the record I have of my family over these past years, and for the chance to experience the pure, indescribable joy of capturing a beautiful moment into a beautiful image.

When we upgraded last month I debated for a while about what to do with my 30D. Sure, I could rationalize reasons to keep it, but I knew I probably wouldn't use it much anymore and I hate thinking of something that's in good condition and can be used and loved by someone else, just sitting and gathering dust. So off it has gone to a good home, where it will hopefully be loved and used some more.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Saturday, November 02, 2013

our saturday

It was my turn to sleep in this morning, so I woke up around 8:30am to the sound of Donovan saying he was gonna bike over to Ethan's house, and Quinn asking Zach to go upstairs to wrestle, "But can I wear my Captain American costume, Dad?"

In other words, a very standard Saturday morning in our home.

I got up and looked at the beautiful morning light outside and decided to go for a run, since Zach was home and I had the chance. I've been wondering what to do about running/exercise as the weather gets colder here... today was my second run in 30something degrees and I've been pleasantly surprised by how not-awful it's been so far. I'm not keen on running in progressively colder temps (or in the snow), but then again an indoor treadmill also sounds kinda awful (or at least boring, since part of what motivates my running is the beautiful scenery here) so I guess we'll just take it one cold snap at a time.
I got back to an email from Jody suggesting a trip to the Montshire, so after a quick shower Donovan and I headed out-- D fitting in their backseat alongside Sam and Ethan, resulting in the usual cacophony of laughter intermittent with cries of discontent as someone's snack was snatched away, then given back again. Things at the museum went well, the older guys running from place to place while Jody and I followed and tried to keep Sam from wandering too far off. Jodes and I had a chance to chat along the way, always a bonus. I don't usually see her during the week since she's busy with her rotations, so weekends are like my Jody Time when we get to catch up and hang out while the kids play.
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We took a short break for lunch, then the boys and I went back over to play at Ethan's and then the playground for  while.
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We eventually made it back to our house...for about 10 minutes before Ren came over and asked the boys if they wanted to go to the field and help him and his dad launch rockets. You did not have to ask my guys twice...  To the field we went, and before long Jody, Ethan, and Sam swung by on their way out for a bike ride. Apparently, rockets bring all the boys to the field.
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We ended the day with Zach taking Quinn out for pizza for dinner (Donovan had a bit of a meltdown and insisted on staying home with me), and finally a (thankfully) fairly peaceful routine of baths and books and bedtime and the passing out of tired kiddoes who had had a very full day.

Our Saturdays may not always involve rockets and car adventures, but they almost always involve a lot of time spent hanging out with these dear friends. We often spend most of our day with Ethan & Co, the older boys walking or riding bikes back and forth from their houses and building hero factory guys and wreaking all sorts of havoc, and Sam and Quinn forming their own little bond as The Little Brothers, while we grown-ups make the most of our opportunities to talk about parenting and life and everything else under the sun, and there is laughter and sweetness and scheming and tears and it's not always smooth and almost never exactly peaceful... But amidst all the chaos there is love and joy and friendship, and I am so grateful for all of it.


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