I'm still dying over our family photos that were taken by Jamie Street. Love. I "met" Jamie online a few years ago and it was so much fun to finally meet in real life. She's even more amazing in person.
I've seen this done all over the internet and have always loved watching kids answer questions. So, here are ours!
***Pardon my incredibly annoying and loud voice. Gag.***
Maja at 2 years, 8ish months.
Ah. Finally. After 34 shoots - edited and delivered to clients - in under 7 days, we all could use a little vacation. So, we're off to Palm Springs for a quick little trip, then to AZ for the holiday. I'm so excited to put down my camera, turn off my computer, and relaxxxx. Adios!
The other day I was stuck in traffic for a little over 2.5 hours. - My actual trip was something like 22 miles, which is so crazy. That's Los Angeles. Anyway, I thought it would be the perfect time to catch up on This American Life. I actually got to listen to two, in their entirety - which is rare for me. Ah, it was so perfect. I listened to The Seven Things You're Not Supposed to Talk About and loved it. It was funny, well thought out and, in the end, made me cry.
The premise was that Sarah Koenig's mother, Maria Matthiessen, has a sacred list of topics that are never to be discussed. And, I have to say, I really agree with her list. She assures the viewers that no one actually cares about any of these topics, when discussed. Unless, of course, there are extreme situations but, for the most part, the average story just isn't interesting. Here they are:
Never talk about how you slept. Nobody cares.
Never talk about your period. Nobody cares.
Don't talk about your health, either. Nobody cares. Nobody ever cares about other people's health. I mean, if it's something serious and it's a friend, obviously you want to hear about it. It's the common colds, the-- aches and pains, it's really tiresome.
Your dreams. Nobody cares about your dreams.
And never talk about money.
Diet is a very big thing not to talk about. It's really boring.
Route talk. Route talk is when people tell you how they arrived, or how they came, how they got on the road, which road, how long it took.
Each topic is broken down and producers share a story they found, from each category, that might change Mrs. Matthiessen's mind. Some of the stories are hilarious, some gross, some interesting, and some really sad. In the end, she stands by her list and proves she's, for the most part, right.
It made me think about personal rules I have:
I never, ever talk about my relationship. Fights. etc. It's tacky, uncomfortable, and disrespectful to your partner.
I never speak negatively of Maja. - I hear parents do it all the time and often in front of their kids - I hate it.
A book I'm really into - I sometimes break this, but books are often really hard to explain, especially when you're really invested in them. I try to remind myself how awful it can be when someone's giving you all the details of a book they're reading. Simply saying how great it is, is usually enough.
DO YOU HAVE ANY CONVERSATION RULES?
You can listen to the show here.
I say this nearly every month but, 2 years and 7 months is by far my favorite age. She amazes me every single day. Her hourly hugs and, "I love you SO much!" declarations take my breath away. It really does keep getting better.
A sweet reader named Sarah B. emailed me a questionnaire and I thought it'd be fun to play along. So, here it goes.
When were you happiest?
When I'm with my family.
What is your earliest memory?
I vividly remember the chaos surrounding me when my brother Corey was born. I remember who was watching me, visiting him in the hospital - the whole thing. I even remember what I was wearing; a pink and white striped shirt and Mrs. Potato Head earrings (the gold ones) on my ears.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Probably when I was serving at a restaurant and was pretending to ice skate on the freshly mopped floor. A white mini skirt and an attempt at a twirl on slippery floors is an absolute recipe for disaster. I ended up on my hands and knees with my skirt up over my back side. So humiliating.
Where would you like to live?
Somewhere that's quiet with some open land.
What is your most unappealing habit?
There are so many. Biting the skin around my nails is pretty disgusting. And, eating peanut butter straight from the jar can be pretty unappealing.
What is your favorite smell?
What is your favorite word?
What is the worst thing anyone's said to you?
"You're a waste of space" I know that doesn't sound that awful and, I'm sure that people have said much worse of me. I think it was said to me about 15 years ago and has always stuck with me.
Cat or dog?
What makes you unhappy?
Illness; for me or any of my loved ones.
What do you owe your parents?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Basically any curse word. It's such an awful habit; I just can't help myself.
What is the worst job you've done?
A wedding 5 days postpartum, while M was in the NICU. The bride was HORRIBLE to me. It was the absolute worst day and job ever.
When did you last cry, and why?
I honestly can't remember. I want to say it was after reading a book but, I really can't be certain. I think I'm in need of a good cry!
What is the closest you've come to death?
I bailed on going out, in high school, and less than a minute after not getting into someone's car, they got in a horrible accident. I can't say that I was close to death, but that's the closest thing I've come to a what-if situation.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
An assistant or helper. (for work stuff)
What song would you like played at your funeral?
I'll be seeing you by Billie Holiday
How would you like to be remembered?
As a kind person. Though, once I'm gone, it doesn't really matter.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That everything changes. "This too shall pass" Keep on moving forward.
Where would you most like to be right now?
Right now, I'm happy where I am.
Please share yours and link to your post here!
Halloween was so much fun this year! Maja fully embraced and understood the day and had so much fun trick-or-treating. She gleefully cheered "Trick-or-treat!" and followed it with "oh my goodness, thank you!" So much fun! We started the evening at our friends' house, which we do every year, then headed out with a group of kids.
I made these mini caramel apples, which were delicious.
And check out the adorable Halloween tote, my Mom had made for Maja, from Lands' End.
It was a perfect day, which has made us so excited for the rest of the holidays this year!
We just returned from central coastal California and had the best time. I'm ashamed to say, it's the first time I've ever been north of Santa Barbara. It was such a treat. I had a wedding to shoot on Saturday, so we turned the work trip into a family trip. I'm absolutely smitten with the area.
Ivo and I have had an off day today. We were snippy towards each other for no apparent reason and have been going through our day without saying much to one another. He was getting ready to leave for an appointment when he came in and gave M a kiss goodbye. I got a nod - that was it. He started walking out of the house when M asked me, "why didn't daddy give you a kiss goodbye?" I told her he probably forgot and that he was in a hurry. She took off running through the house and, when she got to him, told him he had forgotten to give me a kiss. She grabbed his hand and pulled him through the house while singing Barney's "I love you" song. "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family..." He came and kissed me goodbye and, just like that, all was right in the world. And in our family. Because, she's right, we are a happy family.
Kids are so amazing with their pure hearts and pure intentions. My sweet, sweet girl.
Yesterday we took our little animal enthusiast to the Los Angeles Zoo for the first time. She was in awe of everything. She said her favorite were the giraffes; especially the baby giraffe named Sophie. It's so neat to see so many different animals from parts of the world we'll likely never visit.
I will admit as amazing as it is, it's also incredibly sad. As we were watching the beautiful elephants eat it was hard not to be distracted by the constant cracking sound of the electrical fence. Or the giraffes in their incredibly small space. Ivo was most upset by the apes; they're so close to humans and all looked so sad and bored. At one point we were watching the Orangutans and one was reaching through the fence, while holding a stick, trying to reach something. It was so crazy because his hand and movements and even thought process were so human-like.
Gah, this ended up being such a down post, but it's just how we felt. I am glad we got to show Maja the animals she reads about, but it did feel exploitive.
Here are a few pictures from our day. Her expression in the pictures makes it all worth while. I can't say we'll be returning anytime soon. But, so glad she had the experience.
I saw this quote on Tumblr and loved it so much, I wanted to share.
“We need to move away from this constant need of coming across as calm, cool and collected. We weren’t built to be calm, cool, and collected. If we were, it wouldn’t feel so fucking exhausting all the time. It would, you know, come naturally to us. You know what comes naturally to human beings though? Being open, being messy, being raw, being unfiltered, having lots of feelings. Why should we have to stifle our true nature? Let’s go after the things we want, let’s love each other brutally and honestly, and not worry about the consequences. Let’s release the feelings inside of us and let them land somewhere special. Otherwise, we might have a lifetime of longing in front of us.”
— Ryan O’Connell, You Need To Go After The Things You Want
Lately I've noticed a change in Maja's behavior. Whining, acting out, and her overall mood has changed. I've found myself with less patience with her. Getting snappy and annoyed easily. Then, it hit me. It isn't her at all, it's me. Yes, she's acting differently, but she's doing so because of me. The last couple of weeks I've felt unsettled. I've been focusing on the negatives in my life and have been easily distracted. It's awful. A phrase M has been using a lot lately is, "look at me, mama" or "listen to me, mama". How sad is that? How unfair for her that she needs to ask me for attention at times.
As luck would have it, three extremely helpful articles practically fell into my lap, all on the same day, and were exactly what I needed.
Six words to say to your child - "I love to watch you play" how encouraging - but how often do I just sit there and watch her? Certainly not often enough. Sure, there are moments - but, I usually get distracted with work or chores and don't actually watch. This is such a great reminder to encourage her and actually do it.
The day I stopped saying "hurry up" - This article made me cry. I am guilty of this. What's the rush? M loves to do things herself; like get out of the car. Sometimes my hands are full with groceries, and it can take her a good 5 minutes to slowly and cautiously get out of the car. And the entire time I'm impatient. Why? I don't know. But, I certainly am stopping.
in breath, out breath - Again, Elizabeth posts something that slaps me in the face with the reality of my situation. And I'm so thankful for it. Kids need rhythm and they need our undivided attention. They need eye contact. They need us to truly listen to what they're saying. Ah, all of it is so true.
I reread The Happiness Project and it got me thinking about moments in my life of pure happiness. And you know what? They were moments when I was fully present. When I think of my happiest moments, they aren't in any spectacular situations or surroundings, they were moments when I was with people I cared about and I was fully there. When nothing else mattered. A recent was when Ivo, Maja, and I were playing on our bed; tickling and laughing hysterically. It was so pure and perfect. I want more of those times, more often.
My biggest distraction and downfall is, without a doubt, my phone. It sucks the life out of me. Do I really need to check instagram every hour? Are seeing pictures of others' lives more important than being present in my own? Is my twitter feed more important than the dialogue I can have with my family? Do my clients really need to be in contact with my at all hours of the day? NO. No to all of it. It's time to shut down. It's not fair to my family or even to myself. While I enjoy the relationships I've made with people on these sites, I can't put them before the people who are truly more important. I've made the decision that my phone can be used for mindless things only when Maja is sleeping. I think that's a fair compromise.
Ah, it feels so good to get all of this out. While I feel like a terrible mother, and the thought of M not getting the me she fully deserves makes me want to cry - I know that I can change. And I know that I will change. Because, she is the most important thing in my life.
It's Friday! Which means absolutely nothing for me, as my weekend will consist of working and chores. Ha! Anyway, happy weekend and here are some links from around the internet.
I am in love with Joanna's Motherhood Around the World series! Fascinating.
Every Kid Needs A Champion - A great TED talk!
Any links to share?
Watching: Sons of Anarchy premiered last night and it did not disappoint! I love watching it, even though I often find myself hating every single character. So good. And, Charlie Hunnam as Christian Grey sounds pretty perfect to me!
Thinking about: 9/11. I remember waking up before school and turning on my tv to see the devastation. It's heartbreaking. My heart aches for all the families who had to go through such an atrocity.Anticipating: Maja's 2.5 year checkup in a few hours. Mostly, I'm excited to see her doctor. Love her!
Listening to: All of Me by John Legend. I bought his new CD and it's really great. Playing #6 on repeat.
Eating: Healthy! We kinda went crazy on our vacations and it feels so good to be home and back to eating clean and healthy. I also started drinking Your Tea and am loving it!
Working on: Weddings! My busy season is winding down and I'm trying to play catch up.Wishing:
Ivo and I could figure out what we want to do with our lives. We're at a standstill with his job and are trying to figure out what our best move is. Ah. Being an adult is so hard sometimes!
This is an incredibly boring post. Ha! I'll add this. My favorite video of M...
Our summer is officially over. Boo hoo. We've been in AZ for nearly 3 weeks and have had so much fun. But, I'm definitely ready to be home. We only slept in our bed for 4 nights the entire month of August. I see lots of couch time and movies in our immediate future. I'm sad that summer is gone. But, oh what fun it's been.
We snuck off, just the three of us, for a couple nights in Laughlin. It was just what we needed. We're having so much fun in Havasu with family, but we realized all of our vacations have been with groups of people. Just the three of us was such a nice treat.
The night before last, as I was singing and rocking Maja to sleep, (something I've done since the day she was born) she gently reached up and touched the side of my face and said, "Please be quiet, Mom." - sob - And it seems, just like that, the remaining bit of her baby-ness has slipped away.
I miss the clicking noise she used to make with her tongue, alerting me she wanted/needed to nurse. Instead, now, she declares loudly that she'd like to nurse.
Gone are her pleas, "Help me, mama" which have been replaced with, "I do myself."
She no longer believes a kiss from mom or dad can cure a boo-boo. Bandaids are the cure as of late.
While I deeply miss all these things, it is really fun to see her mature and become more independent. Two and a half is so much fun.
We're in Arizona, visiting family, and are doing all we can to make the 115 to 120 degree weather seem somewhat cooler without being stuck indoors. Which means doing our favorite activity, playing in water! Lots of pooling, boating, and rock jumping!