Wednesday, May 21, 2014

838 Photos

I finally managed to plug my iPhone into my computer and download all the photos I've taken since I bought it. 838 of them, and only about 400 are blurry. So I figured there must be SOMETHING worth posting, for posterity and all. Because I find that if I haven't put it here, a few months later it feels like it never happened. But be aware that these go WAY back. And of course, I picked the best ones. So we look happy and instaperfect and enviable. But there were plenty of cranky, shouty, rusty, sticky moments mixed in. Full disclosure.

Big Man, Bigger Chair

Snuck lipstick out of my purse

Bike, sunlight

Crazy pretty sky, the kind of which my great grandfather used to call a sheep sky (looks like a flock of sheep as seen from heaven)

We are dedicated zoo-goers

B&W selfie

My daughter the newscaster

And ballerina

Christmas happened

It was pretty
It snowed. A LOT.

But we kept having fun with it. Mostly.

And mixing drinks when times got rough

We ate a lot of cookies, too. That always helps.

Lucy continued to push style boundaries.

We enjoyed Christmas with my sister and her family.

There was a lot of plaid.

We began our year of doing something new every week with ice skating. If I ever get off this non-blogging rut, I'll go into some more details about our adventures.

Lucy celebrated 100 days of school by dressing up as an old lady. If they ever reboot the Golden Girls, I'm having her audition.

Finn discovered a love of basketball
M. turned 38, and was presented with the now-traditional Wisconsin birthday cake.

Finn passed his first belt test in Tae Kwon Do

We celebrated Ground Hog's Day, Pinterest style

I made miso soup. And I'm only showing this photo because I'm realizing that I should make this again. Yum.

Lucy wore leg warmers.

Finn lost one of the big front teeth.

We got more snow. By now it was mid-February, and we were less cheerful. Also it was a ridiculous amount.

The kids goofed around.

We thought it was spring. We went to Rehoboth for a weekend.

Then we got more snow.
And even more. This was practically April. I was pissed.

But the skies cleared, the brown started fading to green, and we dined outside. Spring was here.

M. and I went on a date to celebrate my 27th birthday. Ahem.

We went to Texas to visit this lady.

And Texas bluebonnets (better pics are on the big-girl camera)

And somehow, impossibly, Lucy turned 5. And got registered for Kindergarten. I don't even know.

We've had some more fun family outings, like this one to the National Building Museum.

Spring days in DC are awesome. Why don't we go more often?

Lucy discovered a love of pretend tea with real china.

And I breathed a sigh of relief that spring was here to stay when our dogwood tree bloomed.

We are now enjoying most evenings on the deck, with cool beverages, until the heat of summer drives us inside.

While the kids spend lots of time staring at the Kindles. Party poopers, but at least it gives us some grown-up time.

And we are having fun.


Thursday, January 2, 2014


Last year I sat out on making any New Year's resolutions. I'm not entirely sure why - perhaps because I've had pretty limited success meeting the goals of my previous resolution posts (note that while I am linking to them here, I am not doing a report out of how well I did. However, astute readers will notice that some of what I will write below will look familiar, so surmise what you will). But, I don't know - there's something about new starts and writing down goals and the positive outlook that just SHOWS UP on January 1st, and I think I should take advantage of that. Even if I'm doomed to failure or ennui or self-sabotage in a month or a week or tonight. So here we go:

1. Do something new every week with the kids. This one is actually M.'s idea, stolen from someone he works with. This person is, for the second time in her life, taking up the challenging of having one new experience a week for the whole year. Her list includes things like staying in a hotel made out of ice. I don't think we will be going quite that drastic, but we are aiming above things like "going to the latest Disney movie we haven't ever seen." Adventures like visiting a cave, going camping, hiking (a small) part of the Appalachian trail. And smaller scale stuff, too, of course - maybe having a movie night of Kung Fu movies or a documentary instead of Despicable Me, or making our own sushi (and getting the kids to eat it). I'm excited, M.'s excited, the kids are excited. We've started a family list using the Wunderlist app, and there's only a dozen or so ideas on it so far, so please comment and give us more!

2. Do something active every day. This is a bit different than a "lose weight/hit a goal weight" resolution - partly because the scale is stressing me out lately, but mostly because my body feels weak and aging and full of betrayal. When I stand up and start walking, I limp. When I crouch down, my knees hurt. When I sit on my legs next to the tub in order to bathe the kids, my ankles ache. When I walk up the stairs to our bedroom, my heart races and my lungs protest. This needs to change, I need to be able to be more active. I WANT to be more active. So I will do something active every day. Maybe some days it will be 45 minutes on the treadmill, and other days it will just be 10 minutes of stomach crunches or a quick walk around the block at work. Whatever I can fit in, I just need to DO IT already. I'm already a bit down for the count on this one since, as you may have noticed, it is January 2nd, and not January 1st. And I did absolutely NOTHING active yesterday, the actual first day of the year. I could blame it on allowing the kids to stay up until midnight (which they did, with flying colors and more energy than I had, though Finn did end the evening in a sobbing fit because ABC didn't actually show the ball dropping and apparently he has "always wanted to see the ball drop," despite not knowing that such a ball existed until 11:45 that evening), but instead I will blame no one and just move on. Today is a fresh start. In an effort to encourage myself, I'll try to blog here once a week or so to update how I'm doing and set some (reasonable, small) goals to further the cause. Because that's what Academomia is doing, and she has lots of good ideas. She's calling her effort "Project MAN, I'd Like to be Fit" aka Project MILF. See how clever that is? I told you, lots of good ideas :-).

3. Broaden my career horizons. My job options are pretty limited. I work for a federal agency, and what I do doesn't translate well to other organizations. I'm pretty tied to the metro DC area, for better or worse. I don't necessarily want to leave my job right now, but I want to be better positioned for the possibility of a new job or even a new career. I don't know what this will mean, really - how this goal should look. I think first I need to figure out what I WANT, and then I need to figure out how to get there (and I imagine the getting there will take more than a year). If I really want to stay in "program management," maybe I need to get a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. That would mean more opportunities in industry/business. Or maybe I want to move into science communication - if that's the case, there are some long distance science writing/communication courses I might consider taking. Maybe it's science policy, and I need to reopen the idea of a job inside the beltway. Maybe I want a job eventually that has nothing to do with science at all. I don't know, but I want to figure it out, this year.

4. Take at least one picture a day. I'm hoping I will do this mostly with my big camera, but the iPhone will do in a pinch. I'm not going to make a point of posting the pictures anywhere, as I think that adds an element of work and stress to this goal that I don't need. But I want to make sure I am capturing what life looks like more than I have been lately.

5. Make a photo book. And I'm not talking a little photo book of the past year that I put together to send to the grandparents for Christmas or Mother's Day. A big photo book that takes all my favorite pictures from the last few years and gets them into one PRINTED place that I can look at forever and ever.

6. Make a will, and meet with a financial planner. FTLOG.

7. Get passports for the kids. This year we already have too many family vacations planned out and too little vacation time in the bank to plan an out-of-country trip, but it's game on in 2015. M. and I want to take one adventurous/exotic/out of our comfort zone foreign trip with the kids every year, starting next year. This will probably be at the expense of seeing family (sorry, family). It may even be at the expense of going to Disney World (sorry, Mickey). But I want to see more of the world, and we want the kids to see more of the world. So step 1 is passports. Step 2 will be planning our first trip. Step 3 is ??? (and of course, step 4 is PROFIT).

There we go. New Year's Resolutions, 2014 style. How about you? Are you making any resolutions this year? Also, is it allowable to make resolutions for OTHER people? Because if so, I would resolve that M. will use more vacation time this year. He is rolling over 6 weeks of banked vacation and has even more days that are expiring because there are rules about having too much vacation time banked. RULES about NOT USING ENOUGH VACATION TIME. For someone who has exactly 10 vacation days to use each year, I am flabbergasted and jealous and a little angry at all this time off that he COULD USE but DOESN'T. So I resolve that he will resolve to take at least 5 different vacation days during the year to go play golf. Or do nothing. But probably to play golf.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snowflake Soiree

Lucy's dance school hosts an informal recital every December at the end of the Fall/Winter semester. It's held onstage at a local theater, but there's no fancy costumes or all-out stage make up. It was held yesterday afternoon and, like last year, Lucy's class gave a ridiculously cute performance. They may not have  known all (any) of the steps, but they looked so happy to be there, faces full of smiles. Even the girl who kept yawning.

Check it out:

Not to get all braggy or anything (said to denote that bragging will now follow), but I'm just blown away by what a performer Lucy is. She clearly had no idea what she was doing. She absolutely did not know the steps of the dance. Yet she stood there, smiling and serene and graceful, completely capturing the mood of the song and the ability to look good doing absolutely nothing. Between that and her flair for dramatics (every stubbed toe is a cause for transfemoral amputation), I think we may have a born actress on our hands.

Some stills from before and after her performance:

Backstage beforehand

The rest of our weekend was filled with tantrums (from both kids) and lots and lots of cookie baking. I think I went through 12 sticks of butter. I'm waiting for a few gifts to arrive at our house so I can package up a couple of boxes to mail out to family members, and I have a few more gifts to wrap and put under out tree. But I think I'm done actually BUYING gifts, as of today. That, my friends, is a nice feeling. Bring it, Christmas.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fall and Photos

Remember when I used to post here? That was nice. Gah, I hate that I haven't made time for this. I need to be posting here, need to be putting images and snapshots of our life here. It's so stupid - I don't even know why I feel like I'm too busy to do this lately. There's something about the kids being a little older, having a little more homework, going to bed a little later... I don't know, it all just seems insurmountable to add in extra stuff lately. Working out, blogging - they've both gone completely by the wayside, sacrificed to the comfort of the couch and the TV remote and a glass of wine. My Hulu account thanks me for being so up to date on my queue, but my waistline and digital memories do not.
Also, remember when it was fall? That was nice, too:
That's a Finn hidden under the leaves there.

He kills me with how cute he is.


Then it was Thanksgiving. I set a pretty table, and my mom and dad joined us:

This little one woke up at five am Thanksgiving morning, throwing up. She rallied by late afternoon, and joined us at the dinner table (where she ate nothing, with style, and in pajamas)

I even made fresh rosemary napkin rings. I channeled my inner Pinterest goddess.

He drank soda out of a grown up glass and thought he was in heaven.

The next day we busted out our Christmas decorations to get a move on a holiday that was less than 4 weeks away:

And I tried my hand at some shaped Bokeh  photography this week (see how the lights in the background are star shaped?):

Even attempted some Christmas card photos (out-takes below):

I'm still working on this whole bokeh technique (you should have seen me trying to fashion a makeshift lens cover out of black construction paper that was 3 years old and seriously faded - it took a really, really long time), but I've at least had some beginner success (here is one of the many tutorials you can find online). Then I broke my 50 mm/1.8f lens in a tripod accident (OK, I was a numbskull and let go of the camera when only 2 of the 3 tripod legs were at the same length) and was really upset with myself. Such a good lens! And a gift from my dad (it was an old Nikon lens of his that fit my camera). The glass/lens is completely cracked.  A bit too late to remedy this for Christmas, but rhis is definitely going on my next birthday/mother's day wish list.

That was Tuesday of this week, day 2 of our two days of snow days. Now it's Thursday evening.  M. is away on a quick work trip, and I am doing what I normally do when he's gone - staying up too late and gorging on TV shows he never wants to watch (3 more episodes of Scandal Season 1 are now in the bag). And while I'm not working out, at least I'm blogging. So that's something :-). And now, since it's practically midnight, and the small creatures of the family will be up in under 7 hours (not to mention the full work day I need to put in tomorrow), I'm going to bed. Goodnight!