Category Archives: Daily Grind

Oh, I forgot

Dear Life,

I was awakened from a deep slumber at 1 AM by my daughter’s cry and mumbling of something troubling her.  I walked into her room, rubbed her back as I stated soothingly “Shh, it’s okay Mae.  Mommy’s here, it was just a dream.” In true EllaMae fashion still in a confused slumbering state, she wittingly replied “oh, I forgot” and peacefully fell back to sleep.

As I returned to my bed chuckling I thought about how often I have forgotten what life is really like.  This blog is one stunning example of that.  The vision of this blog and several other of my endeavors has been with the best intentions to document life…notice a few gaps.  My son is 5 and my daughter is 3, and baby 3 is on the way.  You know what I forgot about? When I was up every 2-3 hours a night to feed the kids.  How my son would beg for me to sleep with him throughout the night or lay with him until he fell asleep (he still appreciates it when I do). How my daughter would sing herself silly trying to avoid sleeping (still does) and we would come down into the living room and dance to Christina Perri playlist on pandora with all the lights off in the house. How I would often crawl into bed with my kids so they could calm me and help me relax on a night when sleep wasn’t on my side.  Or, how before I had children I was up often at 2 AM with trouble sleeping and I would then get creative and do a project only to be interrupted at 7 AM with the need to go to work…you know my real job.  I forgot how after the kids went to bed I would take to the computer in obligation to create my next post, plan my next social media strategy or edit a batch of clients proofs.  These all seem like fleeting memories now.  

Perhaps it’s me avoiding the guilt, or perhaps it’s simply a feeling of content.  I fall asleep each night with relatively low level of anxiety, I often have the luxury to put both of my children to bed, then come back hours later kiss their cheeks, watch them sleep, and encourage them to “dream big.” While I may stink at documenting and sharing our life stories of the past few years, it’s moments like tonight when I remember how much I really do enjoy life.

When I rolled over at 2:30 AM, still unable to fall back to sleep, I decided to crawl into my daughters single bed attempting to snuggle her along with her 3 pillows, 4 cozy blankets (these are all separate blankets she requires, not the actual bedding) Willy the orca, Diego the seal, and my daughter flailed out across the bed.  As I crawled under the covers the baseball from spring break vacation found it’s way into my thigh and I pressed my 25 week pregnant body into a sliver of available space.  (Are you getting this visual- sounds relaxing doesn’t it?) I rubbed her head streaking the hair away from her face and watched in admiration of this beautiful girl sleeping peacefully.  I placed my arm around her chest snuggling her in close.  I could feel her heart beating in her chest and the rhythm of her breathing slowly calm me.  She rolled from her side to her back and placed both hands behind her head.  I remembered both of my littles as babies would sleep with their hands behind their head.  I always appreciated that and recalled someone saying “that’s a sign they are content.” I always followed it up by saying “this is the life?!”

Thank you EllaMae, for reminding me at 1 AM that we have a pretty sweet life.  I sometimes forget those little things.

Love,
Mom 🙂

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Musings with Mae, Proud Parents

Curveball: Inspirational Story of the Greater Good

Let me start by saying my 3-year-old son LOVES baseball.  He’s been swinging a bat and hitting pitches since he was 2 years old.  It’s ordinary for us to be outside playing “Baseball” by 7 AM no matter the temperature, season, or other planned activities for that day.  We DVR any baseball game just so he can watch baseball on rainy days.  Truth of the matter is he doesn’t care if he’s watching a t-ball game at the park down the street, or sitting front row at a Major League game…. he simply loves the game.  Earlier this year we had planned a family vacation to St. Louis and the thought occurred to us, maybe we should take the Major League Baseball Stadium tour….and a plan was born.  Our family goal is to hit all 30 stadiums before he graduates from high school.

Early Last week, the family situation was different.  We were called up to Northern Wisconsin by my in-laws after my father-in-law was nearing the end of his 10 month battle with cancer.  As fate would have it the kids and I would arrive just moments before his final breath.  The daily routine of our family life took hiatus to reconciling memories and planning the celebration of my father-in-law’s life.  My 3-year-old son and 17-month-old daughter took things in stride.  Somewhat isolated from other kids their age, we tried to find recreational activities to get them out so they weren’t stir crazy.  The temps were nearing high 90’s with high humidity, but my children were still anxious to play outside. Luckily I packed the wiffle bat, 2 baseball gloves, a few balls and my son’s baseball helmet.  Regardless of the forecast he pleaded to play baseball regularly.  As my week with the extended family was drawing to an end, it seemed fitting to find a way to squeeze in the nearest Major League Baseball Stadium to check one more off the tour.  So Wednesday, August 28th we decided to brave the heat and head to Minneapolis to catch the Twins vs. Royals game at Target Field.

In true Little Man fashion he dwelled in the experience of being at a baseball game.  He wore his Brewers outfit, cheered for the Cubs, and watched intently as the Twins played the Royals.  He observed others trying to get on the big screen by holding posters and dancing, so he grabbed his “First Game Certificate” and held it up with pride.  Of course there was a fair amount of the required baseball snacks.  A typical baseball game experience…until the 7th inning.  As the heat waned on us we decided we needed to get up and walk around.  Opting for the cheap seats in the 300 level, we were excluded from the occasional breeze I noticed on the lower levels.  We made our way down to the lower level, managed to get a picture with TC Twin Bear and were drawn to some open seats along the first base line near the right field.

First Game Cert TC Twin Bear

After the Royals put up 5 runs in the 7th many fans cleared out, leaving clusters of empty seats throughout the stadium. We lingered along the 1st base line, and eventually took a seat a few rows back from the field to take in the final 1.5 innings. I felt slightly guilty sitting down so close to the field, although I knew we weren’t stealing anyone else seats.  The fans around us welcomed us and easily chatted with my husband, son and I.  I noticed a family to our right, just across the aisle. A young teenage boy was decked in Twins attire, sported a handmade sign, and pleaded every opportunity for the right fielder (Wilkens Ramirez that game) to throw a ball, sign his glove, whatever he could get. He seemed to be a true diehard baseball/Twins fan.  I smiled and thought to myself, “that will probably be my little man some day.”  As the Twins took the field in the bottom of the eighth after warming up, Wilkens threw the ball in our direction. My husband fumbled it and the young boy I explained above got the ball…rightfully so. We sat down, my son was disappointed.  As we explained to our 3-year-old that you can’t expect to get everything you want, and that the other boy was waiting the entire game … he showed up next to us and offered the ball to my son. I assured the young boy it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted.

Twins-high five

We were so moved by the gesture we encouraged our son to give him a high-five and say thank you. Which he did, and the crowd cheered. The mom snuck over to share the picture she had captured of my son giving  the high-five.  Together we dwelled on the moment and shared in the joy of the proud mom moment.  Generosity and sportsmanship at it’s finest.

The boys with THE BALL that changed our week

The boys with THE BALL that changed our summer

I learned that the 13-year-old boy had a similar love for the game and like my little man has played the game since he could walk.  Several other fans shared positive comments,  the usher even stated he wished he had a ball to honor the young man’s generosity. Without knowing our story, our struggles or the week had just endured, he found it in his heart to give the ball to my son and make this night the highlight of our summer. My son has been sleeping with the ball ever since. I shared the picture below with the family when we arrived home later that evening.  The crossing of our family’s path with the young boy’s family has been an enriching and fulfilling experience in and of itself.  I feel like I have been given a gift and I need to share this story.

Twin- Sleep with Ball

Now I’d like to ask your help.  Help me  honor this young boy for his generosity and selflessness.  Share this story!  I would like to highlight how little acts of kindness can really make a difference, to provide inspiration, to show how everyday people contribute to the greater good!

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Proud Parents, The Caleb Times, Uncategorized

3 years of Motherhood

I’m grateful for chaos, chubby cheeks, curiosity and independence.  Cleanliness and messes, infants and toddlers.  May I not lose sight of the amazingness taking shape before my eyes and enjoy the beauty that I have created despite it’s perceived imperfections. May I learn to recognize and appreciate the moments of silence when they do exist so I am prepared to embrace the chaos later! I am grateful for the opportunity to notice and capture the little details that will add to the chapters of our life story.  Motherhood has taught me how to be a better person, my husband and children inspire me everyday, and I am eager to continue to learn and grow together.

March 1st was little man’s 3rd birthday.  I am so proud of the respectful boy that he is becoming and yet so amazed that this time has warped before my eyes (as everyone told me it would).  I have been stretched (literally, my body has done some strange things in the name of motherhood) in ways that I never imagined. While your never quite prepared for their curious thoughts and inquisitive nature, or ready for the roller coaster of the emotions, or expressions they can make their faces convey, I’m also pleasantly surprised how mature and respectful a 2-year-old can be.

Over the past 3 years I have tried to capture the little details of Caleb; His personality, interests, expressions and even his sorrow.  The transition from “only child” to “big brother” has shown me how caring, compassionate, fun and adventurous he can really be (in some ways more than I prefer). I am truly blessed to be a mom and learn life lessons from my children everyday.

To reflect on the past year, here are a series of photo collages to see how he has grown!

Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; "Two"Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; Napping with "Jack" (his rabbit)Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_1527Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_1813Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_2199Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_2718Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_3196Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_3574Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_3839Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_3446Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_3776Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_3949Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_4016Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_4018Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_4192Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_4445Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_4476Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_4623Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_5075Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; taking his job seriouslyLittle-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_5175Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_4807Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; Is that CAKE?! Actually it's dunking cookies (oreos dunked in milk).  Not sure where he gets his big mouth from!?!Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; they seriously love eachother!Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_5683Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_5748Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_5757Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_5861Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_6051Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_5855Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_6125Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_7719Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_8023Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_8094Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_8592Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_8628Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; SPorting the Herb coat!Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_9441Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_9483Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; Sleeping in at Papa O'sLittle-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_8992Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; He's hunting bucksLittle-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; reacquainting with Cousin MichaelLittle-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_9188Little-d-Tales: Enjoying Life &emdash; IMG_9417

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Filed under Daily Grind, Proud Parents, The Caleb Times

Grateful

On this thanksgiving day I have much to be grateful for.

I’m grateful for my husband who is always willing to help out with mundane (or special requests) to make life easier around the house.  Like helping making a salad,  an appetizer, vegetable and dessert for Thanksgiving meal last night before going to bed.

I’m grateful for my little man who “helps” me fold laundary by decorating the house and himself with his mom’s socks and underwear.  Maybe next time I’ll wait to introduce him to Christams decorating after all the laundry has been folded!

I’m grateful for our dog-child who will cuddle up to you and do everything possible to make your day a little brighter.

And last but certainly not least, I’m grateful for the opportunity to be an incubator to our future daughter.  I am blessed each day with her squiggles and the relentless heartburn.

 

Hope you and yours have a happy and safe thanksgiving Holiday 🙂

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Let's talk about me!, Proud Parents, The Caleb Times

Our rendition of “National Lampoon’s vacation”

Do you ever have that strange sensation that you might be headed in the wrong direction, that something “not so good” is just lurking around the corner.  Remember National Lampoon’s Vacation? here’s a trailer to help jog your memory and set the stage for the rest of this post.

That was the feeling I had the entire week of our 4th of July vacation.  It has nothing to do with the company or the plans, it was just one of THOSE weeks.

To begin we got a phone call late Friday night  (July 1) that my in-laws were hit with a really bad storm.  There were trees and power lines down all over.  Ok, we’ve been there before- our house was hit last summer with straight line winds over 80 mph.  Over a 1,000 trees were uprooted and down all over town.  Our plan would remain the same.  After my photography shoot, we’d pack up and head out.  Our plan was to trailer the motorcyle up with family in-tow in the truck.  We’d arrive at his parent, settle in for a couple days.  On Tuesday, the husband and I would take the motorcyle Up to the shore of Lake Superior, ferry over to Madeline Island- do some exploring and just relax and enjoy life.  We get 10 miles from home and the first of many phone calls takes place.

Let me give you a little background.  My in-laws are retired and now live in a trailer in a campground year-round in Northwest sticks of Wisconsin.  Over 70% of the population are vacationers who camp or have cabins along the many lakes in the area.  Most of the housing is RV’s. At 11 AM (Little man just fell asleep and the dog settles in ready for the 5-hour trip) we learn that the entire area has no power, the one grocery store has been raided of ice and bottled water from frantic people trying to figure out how to make it through the weekend.  Rembmer it’s 4th of July weekend- the population quadrouples due to the number who come up to camp for the weekend.  By the sounds of it, the power company has it’s work cut out for them and are giving estimates of 3-7 days before the power returns.  So we make a few modifications to the plan- we make some phone calls to my family members and borrow a generator for the week.  We get it loaded and are back on our way (12:45 PM).

About 20 minutes later, Brent pulls over on the highway.  “I think I just blew a tire on the trailer.”  It’s confirmed.  Proceeds to change the tire- and I must say he was pretty speedy- everything said and done in 20 minutes.  He returns to the truck.  “We have a problem, the tire pressure on the trailer tires is REALLY low.  We need to find a place to fill them ASAP.  I don’t have another spare and we might blow the other tire any minute.”  {Great} We are 10 miles out of the nearest city.  The next exit is 2 miles up ahead, but from my knowledge they don’t have a gas station.  Regardless we pull off and we pull into a boat repair shop- we get lucky.  They are open and they have an air compressor.  Back on the road at 1:30 PM.

We drive about 40 miles and little man wakes up and is ready to get out.  He’s not happy!  We decide to pull off and quick do a bathroom break and grab a snack at the McDonald’s (I know it’s not healthy but I can always count on having a changing area in the bathroom and sometimes even a play area to burn some energy).  As we are unloading, Brent checks the trailer.  The other trailer tire (the one that wasn’t replaced) has no berrings (I’m not very automotive-parts-savvy), basically the wheel is about to fall off.  It’s now almost 2:30 PM on Saturday of a Holiday weekend.  Any automotive parts store that might have been open, is now closed or close to it.  We spend over an hour at McDonald’s while Brent tries to get the parts to fix it himself.  Thankfully this is one of the McDonald’s with a playground.  Little Man is content.  On a normal day we are a little over an hour from home.  The trailer will not make it very far, nor are we having any luck trying to fix it yet today.  We order some food, ponder life, I walk the dog, little man continues to play.  We decide to ditch the trailer.  Brent will ride the motorcycle the rest of the way and we’ll hope that the trailer will be in teh parking lot when we return.  This means I will have Little Man and Diesel in the truck by myself for the remainder of the trip (almost 4 hours).  Caleb already took a 2 hour nap, and usually that’s all he’s good for.  I also had surgery on my right shoulder almost 2 months ago and far from mobile when it comes to reaching out to the side or front.  So we turn the passenger airbag off, move little mans car seat to the front and we hit the road AGAIN (Time is now 3:45 PM).

The drive goes on with little excitement.  Little man seems pretty content looking out the windows, eating puff corn.  Sometimes as parents we make poor decisions with our children in order for our sanity to take priority.  I would let little man have anything he wanted on that ride, as long as I could reach it.  At one point I literally prayed that we wouldn’t run out of puff corn.  Not one of my proudest mommy moments, but I was desperate at this point just to get there.  I already worry about my husband on the motorcyle as it is, with the batting record we were pulling, nervous would have been an under-statement.  Within 45 minute of driving, Little Man falls asleep and life almost seems peaceful.  I guess I spoke too soon.  As he we hit the split to head north (opposed to the westward direction we had been traveling) I notice a state trooper flying up behind me weaving in an out of the lanes.  I slightly panic.  Occupying a dog, & Child while driving alone is task by itself.  Add the driving with one arm dimension and I fear that I may not have had the best driving skills.  I begin to slow down, figuring out how to keep the 100-lb dog in the backseat calm as a stranger approaches the car, which would then wake little man up in a screaming terror.  As I slow he goes around me and pulls directly in front of me- pulling my husband over.  I slow and pull over in front of them- thankfully I reminded my husband to grab the cell phone before ditching us in the truck so I could at least talk to him quick since the officer returned to his vehicle.  I should mention that anytime we slow or come to a stop, Diesel thinks it’s time to get out.  He’s beginning to pace and whine.  I decide to go up ahead to our typical Wal-mart stop as we need to start hoarding “no-power supplies” such as ice, gallons of water, matches, candles, I even pick up some solar lights for outside.  We are all awake and eager to get out.  I put Diesel on a leash and we walk over to the grassy walkway area at the back of the parking lot.  Brent meets up with us a few minutes later.  We head in to get all the goods.  One problem- no ice.  We are almost 100 miles away from out final destination, and with all the chaos up north they ran out of ice at 3 PM, it’s 6:30 PM. They provide a couple recommendations and we start this fabulous little scavenger hunt.  Luckily we were successful nearby and buy 40 lbs of ice.

The last leg of the trip is never my favorite- especially this time of night.  It’s north woods at dusk, which meant the wildlife head to the streets.  Amazingly little man falls asleep one more time and I feel pretty darn lucky.  We arrive at our destination at 8:45 PM (almost 10 hours later, what’s typically 5 hours) unscathed, just added a generator and lost a trailer.  Within minute we hook up the generator to the water pump and freezer, and his in-laws are pleased to flush the toilet for the first time in 24 hours.  Several had already attempted bathing in the river or reverted to baby wipes- so the thought of a shower seemed like a delicacy.

While our vacation was far from our expectations, my in-laws were grateful for the help as we cut up the 10 down trees- one that damaged the roof,  hauled and burned tons of brush, and baked in the 90 temps while working.  I will say the 1 1/2-day getaway was blissful.  My husband surprised me and rented a cottage on the lake with whirlpool tub. Kind of high class for my tent camping standards.  It was so delightful- Bayfield, Wisconsin is an absolutely gorgeous area.  Kind of Door County without the fluff is how I’d describe it if you are familiar.  I have a few posts coming to acquaint you 🙂

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Filed under Daily Grind, Exploring, Random thoughts

Seriously….

I’m alive.  Well kind of.  Between a vacation that should have been filmed with Chevy Chase, the ongoing therapy appointments to rehab my shoulder, a broken nose incident, and possibly the busiest summer at my “real job” added to the summer surge of photography shoots, I’m still breathing.

I opened my Google reader tonight and noticed the 1000+ unread posts. Whew.

With all that said there are big things in the making over here.
Starting Sunday, July 18th you can expect a whirlwind of activity.  Seriously, you are going to want to come back!

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These are the hands….

One of my most favorite parts of our wedding ceremony was “The Blessing of the Hands.” Everyday I am reminded of how true this saying really is to me.  Having surgery last week, everyday tasks like getting dressed, or changing my little mans diaper are difficult.  I snapped this picture a few days ago as a reminder of the all the strength, love and nurturing works that my husband (as his hands) provide our family.

The words in the Blessing are as follows… (Btw- the author is unknown, I did not write this, but modified it slightly for our reading. I’m sharing with you how it was read at our wedding.)

These Hands that are holding you on your Wedding Day, are the hands that will passionately love and cherish you throughout the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will comfort you when fear or grief wrecks havoc on your mind, or the hands that will wipe a tear from your cheek.
These are the hands that will hold your children in tender love, soothing them through illness and hurt, supporting & encouraging them along the way, and knowing when it’s time to let go.
These are the hands that will hold your family as one, and give you strength when you need it.
These are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will continue to reach for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

I’m grateful for theses hands everyday!

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Filed under Daily Grind, Deep thoughts, Quotes, wedding, wedding jazz