The new studio space in our basement is starting to take shape. With the floor installed and paint on the walls, creativity is returning to our home. I intend to conduct a full photo tour in time, but for now I thought I'd snap a picture of "photo day."
Reopening my Etsy shop to sell of a bit of "old stock" and get my rear in gear to accomplish my own projects, you can see here the gloriously clean white walls, new studio lighting I invested in over Christmas, and of course...the corner of my toddler's head. I'm done editing boys out. This is the truth of my artistic life – there's a little bit of kid in everything I do. Take it or leave it.
To be continued...
I didn't grow up with animals in the house. Aside from the ducks who nested in our front bushes and the brief period of time where we had an algae-free fish tank – the mess of animals wouldn't have fit into our feces/fur-free home. We weren't "animal people."
Although I begged my parents repeatedly for a cat (ewwww – and I would have been terribly allergic – there go all my cat-lady readers) I didn't have my first pet until I surprised Jahred with a Beagle over nine years ago. Oscar – as we call him – was diagnosed with Stage Four Grouchiness almost immediately.
When we brought Axel home from the hospital the grouch was two. His interaction with our tiny human was purely olfactory. As Axel became a toddler Oscar developed fast-twitch muscles and spent most of his day escaping the grips of an unpredictable monster.
Although Axel immediately took interest in the animal kingdom (and at times we feared we had a Dr. Doolittle on our hands), Oscar skeptically watched from the sidelines, keeping his distance as this child grew, matured and calmed (he may have calmed too much according to his teachers).
Oscar was nearly seven when monster #2 arrived – a beast who like his grandparents showed little tolerance for the 4-legged. At his advanced age, the escapes were slower and the growling increased. Although we love our dog, and he has never (actually) bitten anyone...he is the kind of dog that kids want to pet because he is adorable...and we firmly tell them, "This dog bites." Oscar has little patience for the energy of youth.
Last night I was charging away on the treadmill, the kids plugged were plugged into a movie (volume up to overpower my labored breathing) and Oscar sidled into the room. As Ollie quickly hid his brimming cup of stolen marshmallows (the kid can climb) and started screaming, "No Oscie," Oscar curled onto the ottoman taking refuge from a pair of trusted legs. Axel bent down and stroked his fur slowly – attention never removed from the screen – and I could see as Oscar closed his eyes that his relationship with my near-sever-year-old was one of respect and trust.
I am always looking for signs of aging/maturing in my kids. Milestones never go unmarked or unnoticed. This one for whatever reason struck me as profound. My dog, who has trust issues among other psychological hiccups, now acknowledges Axel as an adult and a shelter from the storm that is childhood. He has graduated from a chaotic hunk of water and carbon to a human who is capable of being a protector to the vulnerability that is a domestic pet. It's important.
Not having grown up with animals I see my first pet in a unique light. I see his purpose as a teacher, a listener and as a friend. While I'm not ready to hand Axel the keys to my car or let him use the stove, I am happy for this recent "graduation" of sorts and that he is the kind of person trusted by an old grouch like Oscar.
Because I never posted a birthday portrait in 2014, here he was on December 12th – the day he turned 9 (in people years).
There's nothing more irritating than copying an idea from your favorite blogger or Pinterest idol only to find out it costs about 7x's more than they reported. OK PEOPLE, you still need to report costs of materials you have laying around in your garage...at some point they did cost money.
Now I realize the following may be terrible for my photography business – there's no way I can survive on taking family photos for $0.25 – but my competition has been doing so for years. In the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you that these pictures cost $0.25 EACH. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Don't struggle to get the "perfect family picture" for your next Christmas card. Head to Chuck E. Cheese and get it taken care of for less than $1.
I thought I'd take advantage of my 1-kid-drop-off status this morning to play with a new app. Watching Axel get completely soaked making snow angels before school seemed like the perfect chance to create a happy little video using Instagram Hyperlapse.
As Axel laid on the hillside completely oblivious to the world, 8 busses full of his peers pulled up to the school. He kept right on "angeling."
Please stop me if you've heard this one already – Jojo Moyes is an author you should commit to in 2015.
Me Before You – A love story for people who gag at love stories. Quadriplegic rich dude meets broke sassy gal. One end of life decision haunts you through every page and keeps you turning until the final chapter.
BUY it...then you can borrow it to friends.
In an Unspoken Voice – For the reader who hasn't seen the inside of a Psychology text book since college. This isn't one you'll read in one sitting, it's something to bite off in small pieces as you start to notice the uncontrollable nervous center within your own body. Don't be scared by the word "trauma" on the cover. You need not suffer from PTSD to be effected by trauma...this is a lesson for everyday awareness at any level.
BUY it...especially if you're in the healthcare field or are a parent.
Inferno – If you are in love with Robert Langdon, take this next thrilling adventure with Dan Brown. What I love about the DaVinci Code series is that it's intellectual enough (meaning I want to Google things as I'm reading) but it holds your hand through the entire story – taking the mental anguish and effort out of reading.
BORROW it...everyone already has it :).
For our neighborhood book club we will be reading another Moyes for February. Keep me posted on your 2015 top reads I'd love to share them with my faithful followers!
I think you all know me well enough to assume that when the blog is quiet, my wheels are turning. Always thinking is my little mind and the conclusion I've come to is that I'm tired of being ordinary. It has suited me well for 31.5 years, but the era has passed and I'm going to be extraordinary from here on out.
This year is going to be big. I promise nothing but am committing to the following: publishing SOMETHING. After several attempts at releasing a manuscript it's time to put something together that's timely and that makes me happy. I might try a magazine to start out with. If you haven't seen – Blurb (my fav publisher) has a new magazine format which would be an incredibly fun way to advertise or inform. That's on my radar.
I am also committed to spending less time on the house and spending more time outside of it.
I have big plans for Axel. If there's anything more difficult about being extraordinary in the Minnesota-suburbia-middle-class, it's raising kids who are passionate and unique. I will find a niche for this kid that encompasses the amazing human that he is.
Oliver needs to exercise those rapidly expanding brain cells. He's in for some exciting new adventures as we look forward to preschool (with or without pull-ups).
The other night I told Jahred that I wish I had enough balls to buy an RV and travel the country for the next year. He said, "why not?"
It could happen.
In the mean time I thought I'd share our DIY Valentines for the upcoming February 14th. Start snatching your paint samples – Axel had a blast making these bookmarks for his classmates.
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