Thursday, April 30, 2015

Project 52 - ClickinWalk 2015 - Week 17


This past weekend I did something completely out of my comfort zone. I met up with a bunch of strangers for a walk. Introverted me plus strangers usually equals a big 'no' especially, if I don't have at least one person I know. Of course, it wasn't just any walk - it was the 2015 Clickinwalk put on by Clickin Moms. I told myself I was going to challenge myself this year with my photography so this seemed like a good way to do so while possibly making connections with local photographers. I knew there would be a combination of professional and hobbyists, but I still found it a bit intimidating. I was a little nervous leading up to the day, but when Saturday came around I didn't think about it too much. I just went.

And guess what? I was ok. I didn't acquire a new photography BFF, but I did just fine connecting with people and even went for drinks and appetizers afterward with some of the group. This has also motivated me to check out Clickin Mom's forums more often too (which I have been terrible at doing) because now I recognize the names of people I met.

We met at the Walker Sculpture Gardens in Minneapolis (along with hundreds of prom goers we weren't expecting) and walked around for about an hour and a half. It was nice to be out for the sole purpose of taking pictures, but I have to admit I can't wait to bring Riley and Jesse to see this park (they've never been).

Honestly? I can't wait to do this again next year and perhaps see faces I already know, but also meet some more strangers. I took a lot of pictures so for more of my walk click here.

There is also a contest associated with this walk that I may or may not enter (not sure what pictures to submit), but it's been fun to see other people post their pictures in the forum and see how different or similar they are to mine. I've learned so much just by viewing those other pictures. It's good to find my (photography loving) people.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Frozen Weekend

This weekend felt very busy, although part of it was really recovering from the other part.

Saturday involved a heavy work out at the gym, cleaning up around the house, walking to a nearby kite festival, two epic breakdowns by my normally well behaved child, and a photo walk with a bunch of strangers at the Sculpture Garden followed by apps and drinks at Stella's (more info about the photo walk in another post. Phew, I'm exhausted just writing that out. It didn't help that earlier in the week I woke up and couldn't bend my neck to the right... and was still dealing with the pain of that. Ouch.

I took some picture at the 26th annual Kiwanis Kite Festival so I might as well share a couple of them. Riley didn't want to bring her kite so we went with plans to simply watch, but she changed her mind. Luckily, they were handing out free kites. Riley grabbed a Frozen themed one and let Jesse fly it. It was the perfect day for kite flying and minimal work was needed to keep the kite in the air. However, it did come down a few times and after the third time Riley freaked out when we let it go up again. Just totally lost it because apparently she was done and wanted no more of the kite flying. Seeing it was the second breakdown of the day (first one involved the pants she was wearing) we decided to go home for a "rest".

There were more kites behind us - fun, free activity for kids (and adults).

Sunday started slow, but before I knew it Riley and I were off to a Frozen themed birthday party for my friend's 3 year old daughter.

Happy Birthday, Ellie!

It wouldn't be a Josie party if it didn't have a theme, a 'special guest', a pinata, and Filipino food.

My favorite

Elsa showed up mid party and, of course, Riley wanted nothing to do with her. She asked multiple times if there was an Elsa in the real world. That night I finally gave her a real answer and let her know that she was not real... that it was someone dressed up as her. She knew. She wasn't buying that this woman was really Elsa and I couldn't lie to her. I'm surprised that I haven't already dispelled her of the fantasy of Santa Claus.

Riley standing far away from Elsa eating the frosting off a cupcake

Later on she got closer to Elsa, but was  still very skeptical.

The treats were impressive and Pinterest worthy.

 Riley was going to wear her Anna dress, but opted on an all black ensemble at the last minute.

Pale skin, black clothing, and cool glare...goth in the making.

 And then we went home and both crashed for a well deserved nap. Love these weekends, but also grateful for weekends with absolutely no plans.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Project 52 - quiet moments - Week 16


This past weekend I came home to find Riley taking a nap on the couch in our basement. There is something so sweet about seeing a child sleep. She just seemed so peaceful and innocent... I knew I had to grab my camera to capture this moment.

Luckily, I didn't wake her with my camera clicks and I was happy that there was just enough light to get a halfway decent picture.

She was wrapped up in my work blanket (yes, I have a work blanket - it sometimes gets chilly in my office). She gets so delighted when she gets to use it. I think it's because she knows it's my special blanket - something of her mommy's.

I know these moments are fleeting - peaceful afternoon naps, that is. I thought these were long gone a couple years ago, but since Riley stays up late reading to herself each night naps have made a comeback. And mommy and daddy get an afternoon break. I can't imagine how this will change when she starts Kindergarten in the fall.

I wanted to smother that sweet, little, sleepy face of hers with kisses, but I held back and let little sleeping beauty get her rest. There's always time for kisses later.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Project 52 - Spring - Week 15


I signed up for a CSA this year and was supposed to get my first spring shipment this week, but not sure what happened as it hasn't been delivered yet. I did get my two dozen eggs, which I photographed, but then Riley and I went outside to play and those pictures just seem to speak more to this week. It really does feel like spring now - warmer weather, buds forming on trees, kids running around the neighborhood, and lots of time outside after school and work.

This night Riley asked me for paint, but I suggested she get some water and a paintbrush and 'paint' on the sidewalk. I have to admit it was partly because I didn't want to deal with the mess of real paint, but this gave us an excuse to go outside. Luckily, Riley was all over this idea and this simple activity entertained her for quite some time.

While outside we connected with our neighbors across the street. The kids played and my neighbor, a middle school science teacher, told me one of her students wants to do a project with moss where you blend it up and then paint it on something. The moss then grows in the shape it was painted in. I totally want to try this somewhere and luckily have a bunch of moss on my side yard I can use.

Afterwards we went inside and proceeded to our bedtime routine. Riley zonked out early and slept in late which is one of the best gifts spring outdoor play can bring this momma.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Day in the Life - Spring 2015

Julia at My Life in Transition has taken over hosting the quarterly Day in the Life series. I know I could put these together on my own, but it's nice when there is another blogger prompting me to do so. Also, I feel like I just did one of these - time is moving way too fast. And also? My computer is full - I barely was able to get these pictures loaded and saved. Time to do some clean up.

It's also time to document one of my work days again. This is a fairly typical Friday for me...

Friday, 4/10/15
Riley is 5
Jesse is 40 and I'm 43

Thursday night I had good intentions to get to bed by 10:00 pm. I headed upstairs at about a quarter to 10:00, checked in on my kid who was talking in her sleep, and then jumped in bed to read. Silly me to think I would only read for 13 minutes (The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory - it's good), but I did force myself to put down my book at 10:20 and call it a night. When Jesse came up to bed I relayed that Riley was talking in her sleep and he proudly declared "just like her daddy".

I'm still on some medication that I take right before bed and they really knock me out. I still get up a couple times a night, but sleep is heavier than without the pills. The hard part is coming out of my sleep stupor in the morning. I did wake up around 11:30 to go to the bathroom, but I was also really hot so I removed a blanket layer and probably a cat layer. I woke again around 2:30 and stumbled to the bathroom and back to sleep. I was so out of it both times that I didn't take my standard clock picture. I do remember the second time I woke up from a dream where Jesse, Riley and I went to Cleveland. I have no desire to go there (no offense to anyone from there), but I did just watch an episode of Hot in Cleveland so that would explain it (are all the episodes about women who seem to have men issues? I found it a little depressing).

4:38 - I wake again and I'm pretty sure this one was cat provoked since the cat feeder goes off at 5:00 am. Usually, there is a wake up between 3:00 and 5:00 because the cat is hungry, but I go right back to sleep. I did have another dream that was quite horrible. Someone close to me was given a very short time to live. I've been having vivid dreams for weeks - actually it's been over a month - every single night. They eased a little around my uncle's funeral and the only night I don't remember a dream is the night before his funeral. Since a few days after the funeral my dreams have turned really dark. One even included me preparing for my own death. I was in a truck and knew I was about to be killed. I realized that I never told anyone what I wanted to happen after I die. So I picked up a used styrofoam coffee cup and wrote my name, underlined it, and then wrote 'cremate'. I then asked Jesse what he wanted, wrote his name, underlined it, and wrote 'buried whole'. It was at that point I realized that Jesse was driving me away from the killer, but when I woke up I had this feeling that I still wasn't totally safe. So yeah, lots of those type of dreams lately. Fun stuff.

5:51 - Well gosh, not sure why I am up now. Sort of think I hear Riley calling out, but as I come to I realize she's not saying anything (or maybe she was mumbling in her sleep). Oh, I have to pee again, but it's too close to Riley's normal wake up time and I don't want to make any noise to make that earlier than it has to be. Will myself back to sleep.

6:29 - Wake in confusion to the kid yelling "It's siiiii-ix! Gah! At least she let us sleep in a little today. She knows that she can't get up until her clock says 6:00 or later. Usually, she yells out at 6:12. You may think she's sleeping in a little, but we set her clock behind to give us the ability to sleep in a little. I imagine she might actually be up most mornings just waiting for that clock to change.

So hard to wake up today and Jesse and I both struggle to get out of bed. I finally walk across the hall and open her door, but then go back to my room. She comes out of her room and goes downstairs with Jesse. I gather her clothes for the day (we pick them out the night before) and grab my stuff and stumble down stairs.

Riley is playing with some dress up dolls and Jesse already has his oatmeal made. I drink my citrocel, and go to the bathroom. I remind myself that I don't have to make Riley's lunch today as she will be eating school lunch since it's one of the rare items she likes: cheese pizza.

6:50 - I jump in the shower, and after I get out I do step 1 and 2 of my new daily eye regimen.  First I use some eye lid cleanser to deal with my blepharitis. Then I put in drops of Restasis for my dry eyes. I go upstairs to get dressed and make the bed and then come back down to finish getting ready. By this time Jesse has given Riley food and she's getting herself dressed. I set out her toothbrush and once done with that I do her hair.

7:25 - I start my breakfast of a hard boiled egg (I am the only person in this house who will eat them so I refused to make more than 10 for Easter Egg coloring), some apple, and some rye toast with avocado, feta, and sunflower seeds (so nummy).

7:36 - Riley has picked out her cupcake game to bring for show and tell at school. I warn her that she might lose pieces, but she wants to take it (she ends up leaving the entire game at school, but swears all the pieces are there). She and Jesse are out the door earlier than usual and I finally sit down to eat my breakfast. I clean around the house a little and then I go to the bathroom again and have to kick Lucy the cat out. She's always been fond of hiding behind the shower curtain and then play batting at you when you're trying to do your business, but since our other cat Diablo died she's there all the time. I've probably encouraged it because she doesn't have another cat to play with anymore, but sometimes I just want to go to the bathroom. I finally am at a spot where Riley doesn't barge in on me all the time and now I have the cat...

I then head into part 3 of my eye regimen. I heat up my rice pack and put a warm compress on my eyes for about 10 minutes followed by a lid massage to help loosen up the oils that are needed to keep my eyes moist. I recently found out that my meiobian glands are clogged and not working the way they should. At my last eye appointment the doctor expressed the glands and said the oil that came out was the consistency of toothpaste. It's not supposed to do that. So anyway, this heat and massage should provide some relief. I listen to MPR while letting the warm compress do it's thing.

8:24 - I head downstairs to my office as I start work at 8:30. I quickly throw in some laundry and then log into work. I work at an online University and the quarter starts on Monday so I anticipate a busy day. The moment I am fully logged in my phone starts ringing.

I have a serious light bulb burn out issue going on. I have new bulbs, but can't seem to get the old ones out.

9:00 - Every Friday I send out a 'Grateful Friday' email to the team at work. It started a couple years ago when I was in total burnout and needed to be intentionally grateful. I needed to put it out there for others to hear with the hope that things would turn around, and eventually they did. The tradition has stuck and I think for many of my co-workers they like it as a way to get caught up on my life since I'm not sitting in the cubicle row with them. Anyway, even though it's busy I am able to whip something up, add some pictures and get it sent out. Throughout the day my colleagues respond with their own emails.

9:46 - I run upstairs as I need a water refill and see that it's snowing big, wet snowflakes and it's sticking to the ground. Whoa. I grab my good camera and take some pictures and then get back to work.

10:22 - I'm on my official break where I spend my time doing some laundry before heading upstairs to see that the sun is out and the snow is completely gone. Well, that flipped pretty fast. Back to work 15 minutes later.

My husband works from home on Fridays too, but has a ton of flexibility and it's about this time that he heads out to the gym. For me it's lots of calls and emails all morning. I have to check a team email box and distribute those and I have some time off the phone queue, but it's spent emailing and calling people so it's pretty much the same thing.

12:00 - Lunch time! I go upstairs and find some chicken quesadillas on the counter from the gym. I assume they are for me, but want to check just in case. I run upstairs and totally startle Jesse as he's in the shower. He confirms that he brought me lunch and he even made sure it had extra pico de gallo. Love him. I end up watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother while eating. I used to rarely watch TV during my lunch, but after Diablo died it seemed sooooo quiet in the house that I started watching TV. I don't do it as much, but I can commit 22 minutes to a sitcom. After eating I clean up some dishes in the kitchen, and bring clean clothes upstairs. While I've been upstairs Jesse uses the opportunity to play one of his video games in the basement. He does leave a couple times today for errands and I think he goes on a walk at some time.

1:00 - Back to work. The afternoon is quieter and I have to check a couple times that my phone is available for calls. I do speak with a couple students that I feel like I have been talking with a ton lately and am glad to check them off the list for now. I consult with a co-worker for a bit and am glad my co-workers still reach out to me when they could probably turn around and ask someone sitting near them. I also realize I haven't been doing my eye squeezes every 20 minutes so I start that. Apparently, it's also supposed to help get that oil onto my lids. I also think I use over the counter eye drops once or twice today.

Eye squeezing

3:00 - Afternoon break time! I love that my company now schedules these for me or I would never take them. I go upstairs and grab the mail which is all junk, check the internet on my personal computer, and head downstairs after 15 minutes.

4:30 - Yes, work is over for the week! Except, I need to address this one last email so I'm done at more like 4:36, but it's still close enough. I go upstairs where Jesse and Riley are (he picked her up from preschool at about 3:45). Riley shows me the prize she got for earning George bucks. When kids in her class are good they earn fake money which they can turn in for a prize. She is delighted with her trinket. Jesse is grilling up some meat and started our salads for movie night. I take Riley outside with her new bubble blowing gun she got for Easter and we play with that for awhile.

Buds! Spring! Lilacs!

5:15 - Back inside, I put the pizza in the oven and finish off my salad fixings. Riley and I put our pajamas on and we all head downstairs at about 5:30 to watch Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams. Cheesy, but entertaining. For the first time in forever, Riley eats her food super fast. She and I then cuddle with Lucy while Jesse falls asleep at the other end of the couch.

7:15 - Movie must have been longer than I realize, but then it hits me that we started later too. We are usually upstairs reading before bed at this time. Riley announces that she's still hungry, proceeds to go into the fridge and find herself a cut up apple and a cheese stick. I'm trying to figure out if I like this ability to fend for herself or not. While she eats she sits with me while I try to find an old picture. She sees my Christmas picture folder and we have to go through all of those. Finally, I announce it's time for bed.

7:40 - Upstairs and doing the bedtime stuff: bathroom, tooth brushing, book reading... Riley gets to read 4 books after I go downstairs so we pick those out and she does "eenie, meenie, miney, moe" to decide the order she will read them in. Riley asks for a monkey hug which are my absolute favorite. She wraps her entire body around me and squeezes tightly.

Lucy likes to join us during story time. Also, I think Lucy has lost some weight
now that we can fully control her food portions. She looks smaller to me here. 

Attempt at capturing the monkey hug

8:00 - Downstairs again, I start writing down my day so I don't forget any more than I already have. I type until about 9:10 and realize that I would like a glass of wine tonight and perhaps a little TV while I upload all my pictures.

10:12 - Huh, somehow I get sucked into several episodes of How I Met Your Mother and am still up while Jesse goes upstairs to read. I realize I never did round two of the warm eye compress and I am out of the eye antibiotic I am supposed to put in before bedtime, but I do another round of Restatis. So yeah, I head to the bathroom one more time. I close the door, sit down, and BAM, BAM, BAM... Lucy was waiting - for who knows how long - and now I am trapped. I try to ignore her, but she's determined and ends up partly on my lap (it's a small bathroom). I give in and play with her a little before going up to bed and crashing.

I sleep quite well that night, but I have a terrible dream about work where I send something to another team to look over. It's a draft, but they come back and tell me I've spelled there/their/they're wrong. I'm horrified and try to explain that I totally know when to use each one properly and that I just made a mistake, but they tell me this is a thing I do a lot. I'm so ashamed. Thankfully, it's only a dream. (Although I know that I've also made this mistake in real life too so I can't fully shake off the shame.)

And that was my day...