Day in the Life Fall 2017

It's that time of the year again...where I spend an entire day documenting our life. Thanks to Ellie and Addie for hosting this Day in the Life round up. 

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

Riley is 7 and a half years old

Jesse is 42 and I am 45

Lucy the cat is 13

The night before I head up to bed and check in on Riley. She's fallen asleep sideways and with the light on. I decide to take a picture of her with my phone and use the Lightroom app, but the shutter sound is soooo loud. I get into my bed and proceed to try to figure out how to make the shutter noise quieter. After multiple searches online it appears it isn't possible. I open the phone's camera and am able to have a quiet shutter so I decide to use that for any middle of the night pictures. I turn off the light shortly after 10 and go to sleep.

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1:02 - As usual, I wake multiple times during the night. I go to take a picture of my clock to keep track of these wake ups (with my quieter phone camera shutter, of course) and my clock is flickering with a radio station instead of the time. Eventually it shows the time, but it does this pretty much every time I look at the clock during this day. I've noticed it doing this in the past, but not to this degree. I hope this doesn't mean that my alarm clock is about to give out.

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2:30 - Up again. Get up and go to the bathroom as I always do, and go back to bed. Fall right back to sleep.

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I hear Jesse get up and then Riley. She slept in most of the summer, but seems to be back to getting up at 6:00... or at least that's the earliest she's allowed to come out of her room. Who knows how long she may have been up before that. I finally look at the clock around 6:11 and decide I'm going to try to fall back to sleep.

6:52 - Success! I haven't been feeling my best this week and I know sleep will help. I sort of want to stay in bed even longer, but I'm hungry so I work on getting myself out of bed. I finally head downstairs a little after 7:00.

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Riley is eating at the table and Jesse is in the office. I do my usual morning routine, like drink a glass of Citrocel, refill the cat's water, and debate about breakfast.

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I was pitifully inactive the day before and know that behavior contributes to me not feeling well. However, Friday night, I just didn't have it in me... lots of fatigue, headache and other body pain so I just wasn't up to any activity. The Citrocel seems to have taken care of my hunger for now so I decide to jump on the treadmill before I really have time to think about it. I decide to commit to at least 10 minutes based on how crappy I feel this morning. I watch Narcos while walking and am so engrossed in it that 25 minutes go by pretty fast. 

7:55 - My wrist has been bothering me this week, but it's in a lot of pain today. I have no idea why and don't realize how bad it is until I try to take a sock off my foot. Holy crap that hurts. I head upstairs to eat some food and find Riley and Jesse working on sketch books. Riley put one together for each of us and Jesse is cutting the letters for 'dad' out of construction paper to put on the cover of his. Riley transitions into playing on her tablet.

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8:05 - I eat gluten free waffles and a banana while reading The Sisters of Hardscrabble Bay by Beverly Jensen. It was a random library book I picked up and it's been well worth the read. The author wrote a series of short stories over almost 20 years that were inspired by her mom and aunt. When she died, her husband and friends compiled the stories into a book that chronicles the sister's lives over 70 years. 

8:27 - I take a well needed shower, check the weather and then get ready for the day. While in the shower, Jesse and Riley get dressed. I head upstairs and hang out with the cat for a moment and then strip the sheets off the bed.

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9:28 - We leave the house and head to REI. Jesse is going on a big road/camping trip to Moab, UT for 12 days with his Toyota Tacoma friends and Riley and I are going to fly out there for a few days to join him. I decide this is a good excuse to buy new pants and feel the need to splurge at REI.

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I figure Jesse will want to pick up some last minute supplies, but once there he shares that he needs to assess what he has and will be back in the next few days to get that stuff (side note, we went back the next day because we both realized we need new light coats. Jesse still did not assess his trip needs, but we picked up some camp food anyway and a couple of coats). I spend way too much money on two pair of pants and a pair of socks, but somehow feel justified since I get to apply my 8 dollars and some change in dividends on my purchase. It didn't make much of a dent, but I'm sure I earned more dividends for next year. 

Riley is in a bit of a sour mood while at the store. Not sure what's going on, but I'm sure it's not very exciting for her there. I let her play in the play area even though she's older than the 'age 6 and under' that they have posted. She perks up a little, but she is a little off the entire day - nothing too bad, but she's generally such a happy kid that it's noticeable to me.

10:53 - We leave the store and Jesse turns away from the parking lot exit. I'm quite confused until he stops in front a Tacoma truck that's all pimped out. Jesse takes a picture of it to show to the guys. He mentions that he likes this person's storage system so I figure that may be the next thing Jesse purchases for our truck. It's really gotten a little out of hand, but there could be worse hobbies to have.

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After admiring a stranger's truck, we decide to pick up lunch on the way home. It's a little after 11:00 and I remark that I'm really hungry since I didn't have my mid-morning snack. Jesse is doing this intermittent fasting thing where he doesn't eat from 5 pm at night until 11 am the next day so we have a little laugh about me complaining about not eating in the last hour while he hasn't eaten in 18 hours. I might have laughed more than he did.

We stop at Honey and Rye on the way home. I'd been mentioning this place to Jesse for years, but would never actually think to stop there until the evening and they close at 3:30 or something like that. The week before we finally went there for lunch and loooooved their sandwiches so Jesse suggested we go back. Riley doesn't really like anything there (except the sweets) so we just picked up our food and then made her lunch at home. 

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11:20- We're home and I see some packages have come. A couple books for Riley that Jesse ordered and the 2015 day in the life book that I finally got around to printing (the 2016 book came a few days later). I open it and realize that the font I used was too big. Oh well, now I know for the 2017 book. Jesse makes Riley a plate of food and we all eat our lunches. We let Riley go on her tablet again and I watch a little more of Florence Foster Jenkins that I started the day before. It's based on a true story of a socialite who thought she was a good singer, but wasn't. You won't want to watch this movie if you have a headache - her singing is horrendous, but the acting is great.

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11:49 - I clean up the kitchen, change out the laundry and decide to finish my book as I'm on the last chapter. My wrist continues to hurt and I generally feel like crap all over... most of it is low level pain, but now my teeth and face hurt. I can tell it's getting worse so at some point I take a pain pill and then head to the couch with my book.

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1:07 - I'm finished with my book and Riley is playing on the floor next to me. Jesse says his goodbyes as he's headed over to his friend's house to work on the trailer they just built. It needs some finishing touches (fenders) before it's ready to go to Utah. Jesse is hauling a friend's dirt bike along on their trip.

Riley seems content and I need to attend to how I'm feeling so I decide to meditate while putting a warm compress on my dry eyes. I do a 10 minute body scan, but only remember getting from my head to my back... and then I wake to silence. I'm not sure how long I was out, but obviously it was needed. I turn on the Calm app's music and suggest to Riley that she read to me. She hasn't had any homework yet this year until this past week. She now has to read to us for 20 minutes at least 5 days a week. I'm not too worried about Riley getting this practice since she is a skilled reader, but I like to follow directions. Riley reads me The Journey to Atlantis. She recently discovered the timer on my phone so we decide to set that for good measure. After she's done I read a little of The Secret Garden to her. We started this book long ago and then set it aside for the summer. The movie is now on Netflix so I want to finish the book and watch the movie together.

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2:40 - Good lord, I've been on the couch for a couple hours and am feeling incredibly lazy. I know it's probably good for my body to just chill today, but I feel like we have to do something. I tell Riley that we are going to walk to the library to return my book and then walk to the frozen yogurt place. I'm not totally convinced that I have it in me, but after a gloomy, rainy morning the sun is now shining and it's inspired me to get up and go. First, I change out the laundry again and put the clean sheets on our bed. The mail has come so I grab that and see that my company has sent me a gift card for Starbucks. Due to one of the recent hurricane's it impacted our phone volume at work so it was their way of saying thank you. I do so appreciate that they do this, but I don't drink coffee so I have a number of unused gift cards.

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2:54 - Finally out the door. We go to the library and see that they've installed a bench that blocks off our shortcut. It seems an odd placement since they have pavers that lead you to the shortcut. It's like they can't make up their mind as to if they want you to take that path or not. For some reason Riley's brought her book which she carries the entire way, but never reads. We head towards the frozen yogurt place and Riley goes into pretend mode. I'm queen Elizabeth and she's princess Riley. I'm not a fan of pretend, but this day she tells me exactly what I need to say... "Mom, I'm going upstairs for awhile. Now you say 'okay', okay?" And then she'd talk to herself or sing. It was a fairly easy walk and she seemed pretty content. We walk past a couple cars that clearly were in accidents so I mention that I've been in a few. She wants to hear all about them so I tell her about being rear ended a couple times and the big one where my cousin crossed a highway and got slammed into by a car. She's relived that I wasn't hurt in any of them. 

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On the way home I have to momentarily change roles to Prince Loken. Riley stages a scene where we walk across the parking lot towards each other, and bump into each other. I, the prince, walk with her for awhile before departing ways. I go off script during our encounter and Riley approves (I often do not say what she'd like me to say which is probably one of the reasons I don't care for pretend play). I can tell she's starting to peter out so I just let her do her thing. She sits on some rocks for a bit and I don't rush her. We don't have anyplace to be and it's turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.

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4:04 - we get home and I suggest we go to Goodwill to look for books. I sort of want to keep moving while I'm at it and this seems like an easy task to include in our day. When we get to Goodwill we are sorely disappointed by the kid's book options. I've never seen it so picked over. There are a bunch of new prints of Little Women so I grab one of those and a book for me. Riley finds a brand new create your own recipe book and a brand new scrapbook you make about you and your dad. She wants to go, but I make her follow me around the entire store. 

5:12 - We get home and she wants to start filling her recipe book right away. She decides she wants to start with breakfast so I tell her to search for kid friendly breakfasts on the computer. She finds one and asks me to write it in her book and then is disappointed that we can't make it immediately, but I promise to put the items on the grocery list. I notice that we have two more packages that have been delivered. Amazon can thank my husband for keeping their business going. Somewhere along the line I pop a frozen pizza into the oven as I've lost all energy to cook a meal.

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5:57 - I sit down at my computer and read up on how to sync Lightroom with Lightroom mobile. Riley watches TV because I don't really care at this point. I fold laundry and clean up a bit, but I don't take as many pictures for the rest of the day. Riley is usually game for having her picture taken, but I can tell she's over it. We are a sorry set today - getting through the day, but just not feeling our best. 

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7:07 - I tell Riley to head upstairs to get her pajamas on, but then see Jesse has arrived home and is in the driveway. Riley and I go outside and Riley excitedly tells her dad about the dad scrapbook she got. We go inside and get ready for bed. Jesse comes upstairs to say goodnight and Riley is bummed that it's already time for bed. I leave her room around 7:40 and she reads for awhile before going to sleep.

I decide to make a salad since I didn't have any veggies with my pizza. I start to edit pictures and decide to watch a movie. I pull up New in Town and figure it has to be ok since it has Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr. I watch about 20 minutes of it and it's 20 minutes too much. Gah, it's an awful movie. It portrays my fellow Minnesotans as total bumpkins who say "you betcha" all the time. I go to turn on something else, but then decide I'm not in the mood. I listen to some more music from my Calm app, take some different pain meds for sleeping and then head up to bed a little after 9 pm.

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I check my fitbit and for feeling rather lazy for a good chunk of the day, I still managed to get in 13,114 steps. While in bed, I check Instagram and finally go to bed around 9:46

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11:44 - I wake up and go to the bathroom. When I get back in bed I realize that Jesse isn't there. He comes up a few minutes later and adds a blanket to his side of the bed and ends up hitting me in the face with it. I sleep pretty well, although get up multiple times as usual. I still feel cruddy the next day, but my wrist is way, way better. My cruddy feeling continued to carry over to Monday when I ended up taking the day off because of a horrible migraine. I just hope it all goes away for our Utah trip.

And that is our fall day in the life.

My Minnesota - August - Duluth

I'm joining up again with my fellow Minnesotans to highlight places we've explored in our state this past month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around. 

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This month I met up with fellow photographer, Carrie Bayless, for an entire weekend in Duluth. I'd only known Carrie online so it was great to meet her face to face and hang out with her and her kids. My husband and daughter tagged along and we agreed that we had a fantastic time. We've been to Duluth many times, but never shy away from a chance to visit Duluth and the North Shore. While a number of the spots we've visited on this weekend we'd been to previously, but we were able to explore new places as well. We packed in a lot this weekend - more than I have in previous visits and was so grateful to have other people who were willing to do so with us. 

Our first stop found us meeting at Spirit Mountain. I'm not big on alpine slides and the such, but I know my family loves this stuff. While there, they enjoyed the alpine slide, the zip line, and the scenic chair lift (which I joined them on). We thought about sticking around for more, but to be honest it was a bit hotter than expected so we went on to our next spot, Enger Tower. 

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Enger Tower provides panoramic views over Lake Superior and is a must see at least one time you visit Duluth (I've been twice). After climbing to the top of the tower, we explored the Japanese Peace Garden and the walking paths before heading out to dinner.

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After checking into the hotel we decided to head down to Canal Park to eat dinner and explore. We've been there plenty of times, but this was the first time we walked over the bridge and adventured on the other side as well.

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To wrap up our day we found a little beach and the kids splashed around in the cold Lake Superior water. My daughter ended up soaking wet and wishing she had her bathing suit, but she was one happy kid and didn't seem to mind the cold.

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That night we also drove over to Brighten Beach to get pictures of the stars, but mine didn't turn out. I had big plans of getting up early on this trip for a sunrise shot, but my sleep was too precious to me to get up that early. I guess I'll leave the sunrises to someone else.

Instead, after sleeping in ever so slightly, we took a drive an hour north to Gooseberry Falls. It was no surprise that there were a ton of people visiting this popular destination as it was a beautiful weekend, but it was surprising that I was able to capture some pictures with only Riley in them. 

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After eating a quick lunch we headed north again to Split Rock Lighthouse. 

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One of my favorite things to do at Split Rock is walk down to the beach and hang out on the rocks where I can watch my daughter throw pebbles into the water.

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And then we headed further north up to Palisade Head for another spectacular view before heading back to Duluth for dinner and an early bed time after a very active day.

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On the last morning we decided that we wanted to beat the traffic home so we took off on our own and stopped at Jay Cooke State Park for one last adventure. I'd been impressed with my 7 year old's ability to pack in so much activity this weekend, but this is about the time it all broke down. This was a fun visit, but it was peppered with moments of complete breakdown followed by energetic highs by my kid. Still, Riley deserves a big kudos for her over all adventurous spirit this weekend... and while were at it, kudos to my fellow introverted husband for agreeing to a weekend with strangers.

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And that was our big adventure for the month of August. I've never Duluth'd so hard before, but boy did we have a good time. 

 

Make sure to check out the talented Carrie Bayless to see her take on our trip to Duluth.

September 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

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This month my husband surprised me with a new lens. I'd been talking about getting a wider lens (I have a 35mm), but wasn't sure if I wanted something like the 20mm or the 15mm fisheye. It would be fun to have a lens to play with, but I'm fairly practical so I thought having the 20mm or even 24mm might get more use. In the end, my husband made the decision for me by getting me the fisheye... and I'm so glad he did. 

I got it at the end of August so I haven't been able to play with it too much, but so far I'm loving it.

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 Next up make sure to check out the wonderful Chrissy Mazer and continue the circle around.

My Minnesota - July

I'm joining up again with my fellow Minnesotans to highlight places we've explored in our state this past month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around. Also, be prepared for a lot of photos - I went a little nuts with this post.

~~~

June found us exploring pretty hard... and that intensity lead into July, but then we petered out a little as the month went on. We spent the 4th of July on the boat with family, went to the Hamel Rodeo and parade, hung out at a number of local parks, and then finished the month purchasing new plants to replace the ones that the wild bunnies like to eat.

It's been 30 years since I've been to the Hamel Rodeo. I've been talking about it for years, but finally went with Riley and my mother in law. It was a fun girl's night out, and when we shared the experience with my husband, he was bummed he didn't go. I'm hoping this means we go back next year. 

Mid month I realized that we hadn't hit up any of the parks on our list in awhile. We've been trying to mark all 35 playgrounds off our list that are in our city. I thought it would be easy to finish them this year (we started last year), but we still have a lot yet to explore. This last one had a pond and a baseball field next to the playground so we had to check those out as well.

One July morning, we went on a very long walk to a park that we visit quite often. Riley wanted to explore all three playgrounds along the path, plus we were met with 50 or more ducks feeding outside the pond. 

This month I was able to check another item off my bucket list... ride the Como-Harriet Streetcar/Trolley. This was one that we'd been talking about for years - like before Riley was born. I was determined to make this happen and am glad I did as we ran into friends by Lake Harriet who rode the trolley with us. 

And finally, we explored the local lawn and garden center. This may not feel like a very momentous way to explore Minnesota, but we'd finally taken some time to work on the yard and it felt like an important part of July... even if we have a lot of yard work yet to do. We dug up some plants, thinned out others, and bought new plants with the hope that the bunnies that have overtaken the neighborhood wouldn't eat them. Spoiler alert: the bunnies were pleased that we brought them a new food source. The rabbits did not eat the lavender so I'm tempted to line our yard with that and other fragrant plants. 

Riley made glasses like Geronimo Stilton and wore them much of the day - which is what you see on her head here. Jesse and I were also given costumes for character's from the book series, but were not required to wear them in public.

Riley made glasses like Geronimo Stilton and wore them much of the day - which is what you see on her head here. Jesse and I were also given costumes for character's from the book series, but were not required to wear them in public.

And that wraps up our July. It was a hot one, but we tried to embrace it to the fullest. Next make sure to check out the wonderful Carrie Bayless

My nephew wrote a book... The Long Road North

When I was 18, I moved out of my parents house and found a freedom I wasn't sure what to do with. It was exhilarating - I could make whatever choices I wanted to. I could skip my college classes, stay up way too late, eat crappy food, drink too much, and no one was there to hold me accountable, except myself... and I didn't always do a great job at that. Obviously, there were repercussions to my lifestyle choices... my grades, body, and mind all gave me the feedback I didn't really want when I made poor decisions, but it didn't seem to stop me.

The further I deviated from the structure and values I grew up with, the more I struggled to find out who I really was and where I belonged. Eventually, I found my way, trying to take the best from my youth and from what I learned in those young adult years. I look back and cringe at some of my behavior, but also know that I am who I am partly because of those days.

I think we all go through this time of self discovery... for some the road is relatively smooth, but for others we might find that we've gone completely off road. Whatever the path we take, we hope to find a good fit in the end.

My nephew, Quentin Super, recently wrote a book, The Long Road North, to share his story of growth during his college years. He documented how he found himself behaving in ways that didn't feel genuine to him and what it took for him to introspectively review his actions so he could start living the life he craved.

His journey included an actual journey or, I should say, a series of journeys on his bicycle. He and his friend, Rhino, started riding their bikes around town, and then adventured further until they found themselves riding from St Cloud, MN to Winnepeg one chilly spring break in March of 2015.

Their trip was filled with challenges, whether it was the wind, tests of endurance, or even tests of friendship, but they made the grueling journey there and back. It gave my nephew time to think and realize what he was capable of. It may not have resulted in a revolutionary shift in his behavior or who he was, but it did contribute to the man he's growing into.

I read Quentin's book within 2 days, and while I didn't identify with his experiences (let's just say, it's a little weird to read intimate stuff about your nephew), I did recognize the struggles and growth that you go through at that age. I'm not sure his book even captures the growth I've seen in him personally. I'm immensely proud of him as I know he made a physical journey that I don't think I would have had the physical or emotional strength to pull off myself at that age (or any age). 

You should totally order his book... and I'm not just saying that because I am his aunt. You can find it at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Also, being the good nephew he is, he asked me to take his picture for the book and for an article written about him in Immersion magazine (a magazine in which he writes for as well). Let's just say that I was honored to do so... here are a few pictures from our last photo shoot.

August 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

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Oh July, where have you gone? It seems impossible that you are over and that school starts back in a month. So much summerin' left to do, and yet we had a pretty full month. Riley finally mastered bike riding (and I found an excuse to try panning), we walked to the local frozen yogurt shop plenty of times, we played in the sprinkler and went to the splash pad, and spent lots of time with friends.

Summer has been good.

I just wish it could be summer every day...

 Next up make sure to check out the wonderful Chrissy Mazer and continue the circle around.

Day in the Life - Summer 2017

Each season I spend an entire day documenting our life. This day was a little different in that our nephews were with us for the weekend, but they were featured a few years ago in a day in the life when they were in town so it seems appropriate that they made an appearance again. Thanks to Ellie and Addie for hosting this Day in the Life round up. 

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Riley is 7 years old

Jesse is 42 and I am 45

Lucy the cat is 13

Mason is 18

Cade is 15

Frank, my dad, is 89

The night before I head up to bed just after 11 pm after a late night watching an outdoor movie at the local rec center (Sing) with Riley. They were supposed to start the movie at 8, but waited until 9 when it was dark enough and then ran into a technical issue so we left by 10:20, before the movie was over, as it was way too late to keep my 7 year old up. And let's honest, it was past my bedtime too. At any rate, once home I went to bed and made the mistake of bringing my iPad and therefore, did not turn out the lights until 11:30 which is way past my regular bedtime... and then my mind raced for a bit before I actually fell asleep.

 3:48  - I wake for the first time, go to the bathroom and go back to bed. I'm annoyed that it's too cold with just the sheet on, but too hot with the comforter. Try to find a middle ground so I can fall back to sleep.

5:25 - I wake from a dream where I am with my friend, Josie. In the dream I'm trying to fall asleep and finally look at the clock and it says 5:35. I'm annoyed that I am still awake, but when I wake from the dream, I am relieved that I was actually asleep.  Kind of amazed how close in time the dream time is to the real time. Out of habit, I get up and go to the bathroom, but don't really need to.

6:48 - I usually sleep on my side, but at some point I roll over on to my back. It feels good to change positions, but it usually results in a cat jumping onto my chest and then nudging her face and wet nose against mine. The thought of that this morning makes me turn over to avoid the cat attack, but she never comes up to bed anyway. I toss and turn and realize I might as well get up.

7:28 - Out of bed and head downstairs. Everyone is still sleeping which is super late in our house, but we've all had some late nights recently. We also had our 15 and 18 year old nephews staying at our house this weekend and they were up late with Jesse and one of Jesse's friends. I assess our messy house, check Instagram and TimeHop, make breakfast, and sit down to eat. Riley comes downstairs at about this time. She grabs her Nintendo and plops herself down on the couch. 

8:07 - My husband comes down stairs and notes that he didn't go to bed until 2 am. Our schedules are waaaay off. He makes his breakfast and then I announce that I'm doing a day in the life today. He grumbles for a moment, but then gets over it.

8:27 - I decide to go on a walk before it gets too hot or rains. It's supposed to be 86 today, but it's only about 67 right now. It was supposed to rain, but now the weather forecast has changed. I'll risk it and hope for the best. I ask Jesse if he wants to come (and bring Riley, of course), but he declines. 

I decide to walk around a local park that has a pond. It's often my go to walk, but I change it up a little and wander through a wooded area first. The path leads back down to the pond and I have a choice to take the short way home or go around the entire pond. I have to pee and the clouds are looking somewhat ominous, but I've got a spurt of energy I didn't have before so I take the long route around.

I get to the far end of the pond and decide to take pictures of some flowers when it starts to sprinkle very lightly. I make no rush to move forward and hope that it doesn't start pouring. Eventually, I start moving again and notice that the park is starting to get busier. It was peacefully quiet, but it looks like some soccer games will be happening today. Luckily, the sprinkles stop and it doesn't end up raining at all this day.

9:19 - I arrive home from my walk and find Riley and Jesse playing our new game, Pokemon Monopoly. We have a kid's Monopoly game that I like because it doesn't take hours to play, but Riley played this one with her cousins the day before and it seemed to take forever.  I grab some granola and eat it in front of the computer while I cool down, and then jump in the shower.

10:00 - Monopoly game is still going. The boys are still sleeping. Oh, to be a teenager. I discover later that one of them staying up until about 3:30 am. I go upstairs to get dressed after my shower and end up changing Riley's sheets and making our bed. I found some cat hero sheets on clearance at Target and had to get them for our cat obsessed kid... even though she has more sheets than she really needs. Seriously, I have one set of sheets that I use over and over for our bed, but she has a rotation of about 6 different sheets.

10:25 - I bring clothes down for Riley and after she gets dressed I remember that I was going to give her a bath. We've had multiple late nights in a row and she needs one badly. So, she gets undressed and jumps in the shower and then brushes her teeth afterwards. Meanwhile, Jesse puts away the game that they were still playing (why so long, Monopoly). This really is a late start of the day for us, but we don't have anything else to do this morning. We normally would go to the gym on a weekend morning, but we gave up our gym membership about a month ago. Instead, I go on walks, use the treadmill at home, or try to motivate myself to workout in the living room while Jesse has access to a small gym at his work. Paying for a huge gym just didn't make sense for us anymore. Plus, the upside is that Riley sometimes works out along with me so I feel like she's getting a more direct message about how we care for our bodies than when she went to child care at the gym. 

10:44 - Riley grabs Lucy, the cat, and takes her outside. She is not an outside cat, but we'll sometimes sit on the step with her. She seems to like it, but can also be a bit overwhelmed by the outdoors so we are mindful of that. At some point, Riley grabs the chalk and Lucy and I chill on the sidewalk before I do a little weeding and then put the cat indoors. Jesse leaves for a walk while we are outside and returns before we go inside. 

11:18 - Mason is finally awake and I think Cade wakes shortly after. Riley goes inside and plays 'student resources' on my computer. It's a bunch of educational games that her school provides so I don't mind when she requests to play them. Around 11:30 I announce to everyone that we need to get ready to go to my dad's. We need to get there before they close down the roads for the parade near his house at 2:00 pm. Jesse, Cade, and Mason take turns showering. Jesse, Riley and I grab some food, and we pack up the car. 

12:11 - We head to pick up sandwiches for the boys and then go to my dad's house. While at my dad's, we hang out outside and then Riley plays his out of tune piano with her new piano book. She had a piano lesson for the first time last week and loved it. My dad offers us the piano, but we have no place to put it. While inside with Riley, I look outside and see the guys checking out one of my dad's trees. Riley and I head outside to see what they are staring at and I notice my dad created some type of contraption to help take down a branch on one of his trees (basically, a rope tied to the hanging branch, with concrete blocks and a heavy chain tied to the end to weigh it down). This is sooooo my dad. I mean, it screams 'Frank'.

Apparently, my brother hooked the rope up to his truck, but it wouldn't come down so my dad and Jesse brain storm about how to hitch it to our truck and try it out in the future. Riley isn't as interested in this thing as I am so she goes back inside to play the piano. Eventually, we end up back in the driveway while waiting for the parade to start. 

1:52 - We grab our chairs and walk through my dad's back yard and sit in his neighbor's front yard to watch the parade. This spot puts us near the start of the parade as most people sit in town (a whole couple blocks away). We don't have a ton of people near us and there isn't any shade, but it's the shortest walk from my dad's house. The Hamel Rodeo was this same weekend (we went on Friday night) and the parade is sort of part of the Rodeo celebration so there are a lot of horses, along with businesses, firetrucks... and new this year was a couple bands (like country/rock bands - not marching bands) which was a nice improvement. 

We got lots and lots of candy, but also some reusable water bottles, a size XL shirt, water, coupons, and freezer pops, which are seriously the best parade idea ever. It was pretty hot and besides some passing clouds, we were in the direct sun. I tucked one of those freezer pops in my shirt and it helped me cool down.

2:50 - The parade is over so we head back to my dad's and fix a leaning and crumbling concrete deer, and marvel at the gnarly old willow tree in my dad's front yard. We find both toads and frogs hopping around the yard and I'm surprised when Riley goes right in and tries to pick one up. I totally thought she would be freaked out, but was genuinely interested in trying to at least touch one. She wasn't successful, but she was able to touch the one Cade picked up and she proclaimed it "slimey".

I pull out the stereoscope that I brought over and show it to my nephews. The stereoscope used to be my grandparents and some years ago, my uncle passed it down to me. I'm not sure how old it is, but it was patented in 1901, and my dad remembers playing with it as a kid (he was born in 1928). I have close to 100 cards (some have dates from 1899 on them). My dad's neighbor made a box to store the stereoscope and the cards in and it turns out that it's ever so slightly too narrow. Riley and the boys enjoy looking at the pictures.

3:49 - My dad suggests we go out to eat and takes us to Applebees for an early dinner. I'm starving so I'm all about eating this early and everyone else seems game. We chat about a variety of things including life in Luxembourg vs America. The boys have been living in Luxembourg for about the last 5 years and Mason just moved here as he graduated high school. Cade is visiting for the summer, but will be returning to Luxembourg in about a month.

We also talk about dreams and I share my morning dream. My dad shares that he has a lot of dreams that he hates. He shares that he gets lost in his dreams and can't find his way home. Yeah, I would find those dreams disturbing too.

4:49 - Dinner is over and we all head home. Once home, Riley plays on her Nintendo again, and the boys head out to Microcenter (computer store) to pick something up or return a part. I'm not quite sure. While out, Mason practices driving as he's working on getting his driver's license. I finally post some 4th of July pictures to Facebook, decide to unnecessarily sort the candy, and then grab a book and head to the couch. I'm reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. I'm kind of a Philippa Gregory junkie as I love a good historical fiction. 

5:58 - The boys are back. Mason and Cade head to the basement, which they've mostly taken over, and Jesse joins me on the couch for a little bit. He used to let the cat cuddle on him, but he doesn't have much patience for her anymore (especially since she started randomly pooping around the house), so naturally, Lucy crawls right on to his belly. Even after he removes her once, she comes right back. Jesse is not so enthused about this.

6:22 - I start to write this post before I forget too much. Riley takes another shower and I help her with that a bit. I go back to writing this post, Riley grabs a Captain Underpants book she read in 2 hours yesterday and decides she's going to re-read it. The boys are scattered across the house. 

7:44 - I find Jesse asleep on the couch and Riley is downstairs with her cousins. Earlier there were a few squirrels wrestling with each other in the front yard and now bunnies are frolicking in front of our house so I take pictures of them. The bunnies seem cute, and this may appear dramatic, but there is a bit of a bunny epidemic in my neighborhood. They are EVERYWHERE and they like to eat a lot of the plants in my yard. Bad, bad bunnies.

7:56 - Riley has been up until at least 10:30 the last couple nights so I want to get her in bed by 8:00 tonight. She'll likely stay up and read for awhile, but it's quiet time and I wouldn't be surprised if she crashes right away.

8:08 - After putting Riley to bed, I come back downstairs and realize I didn't document any of it. I don't care at this point. I'm tired, and want to eat a snack (because I ate dinner so early) and maybe watch TV. I look to see if I can find Sing anywhere, but no. The ending will just have to hang in the air for awhile. Jesse has the same idea about food and is making a bowl of oatmeal and blueberries. I decide I will eat another bowl of granola, but realize we are almost out of milk so I grab some Wheat Thins instead. I work on this post for a bit and then turn on Master of None while editing pictures from yesterday. The second season has a lot of laugh out loud moments.

9:38 - I upload today's pictures, then walk around the house and close up windows. Decide on a picture to post to Instagram and then start bedtime prep, such as brushing my teeth.

10:10 - I head up to bed and check in on Riley before I go to sleep. I have no idea when the boys went to sleep, but I think Mason went to bed early, Cade was in the basement for the evening so who knows, and Jesse came up after I was asleep.

And that wraps up a somewhat normal summer weekend day for us. Also, I realized, I didn't get a single picture of me in it and I take a ton of pictures of my daughter and my dad. Note to self: get in the picture more.

My Minnesota - Rochester

I'm joining up again with my fellow Minnesotans to highlight places we've explored in our state this past month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

As suspected, the warmer weather had us exploring all sorts of things in June. We went to multiple local city festivals, and a new (to us) library, but our big adventure was going to Rochester, MN for a day. We went to visit my brother who just had surgery so I suggested to my husband that we find a place to hike while we were there.... move our legs a bit after a long drive. "What's in Rochester", my husband asked with a tone of disbelief that we could find anything remotely interesting there. He loves the North Shore so it's a little hard to convince him that there are other awesome places within Minnesota, especially south of us. I took his comment as a bit of a challenge and found Quarry Hill Nature Center to explore.

Besides having a nature center where you can see various animals (fish, turtles. birds, bees, etc), they have quite a number of trails. They have them nicely broken up into various types of trails so you can determine which is best for you. We were mostly on the family trails, but also found ourselves wandering through other trails such as the stream trail, and the savanna trail. If we lived closer, we'd totally take advantage of the programs they have such as the cave tour and the kid's classes. While we were there, we saw kid's from one of their programs feed minnows to the big fish.

As the name suggests, the Quarry Hill Nature Center used to be a quarry, but it also belonged to the state hospital. They had a farm there, and used local caves to store the vegetables they grew. Apparently, one of the patients, who was a poet, led one of the cave crews and his poems can be found carved into the cave walls.

In the end, my husband totally owned up to how much he loved Rochester and this park. He even joked that he could be convinced to move there. I'm not quite ready to move, but I do look forward to the next time we can visit this place. 

And that is how we explored Minnesota during the month of June. Make sure to check out where Erin from Hello Photo explored this month and follow the circle around.

July 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

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Riley loves the library, but one day this month she begged me to take her to the library to specifically pick up some science books. Who am I to deny her this request? We live within walking distance of a library, but I took this as an opportunity to visit one of the somewhat newer libraries in our state, the Brooklyn Park Library. I might have to make it a habit to visit libraries in nearby communities because it was fun to explore a new space. 

This library has fun things to climb on inside and out. The play area inside is amazing and was being utilized by many little ones. There is a huge globe, and an even larger wall map where we spent time finding our loved ones homes. There were just so many places to be inquisitive and explore. 

And of course, there are a lot of books.

Task accomplished. We got books about dinosaurs, Alexander Graham Bell, and an interesting book about intangible items.

Next up make sure to check out Chrissy Mazer and continue the circle around.

San Diego

Once upon a time, I almost moved to San Diego.

I'd just finished grad school and was looking for a change... a fresh start. I was drawn to the year round perfect weather in San Diego and had a friend and an aunt that lived there. But, in the end, I chickened out. I can't imagine living far from my dad, plus there are some awesome things about Minnesota that I worry I won't find elsewhere. The weather isn't one of them, but trust me... lots of great things about Minnesota.

I've come to accept that I will be in Minnesota for the foreseeable future. And, I'm glad I didn't move since it was in Minnesota that I met my husband... and then had my daughter. I can't imagine an alternative life without them. So you could say that it all worked out in the end. 

Jesse and I talk about moving to Oregon, and I hope one day we have the guts to do so, but San Diego still speaks to me sometimes. I once had a massage therapist that didn't really know me, and yet seemed to know me so well (if that makes sense). She told me that she sensed that I need to be by the water. She was right - I've always felt that pull. Perhaps that is why both Oregon, and California appeal to me. I find so much peace and comfort in the warmth of the sun, the sand under my feet, and the sound of the waves washing upon the shore.

In the meantime, since I won't be moving anytime soon, I visit these places and take a gazillion pictures as if they could help bring me back there, reliving a brief moment in time.

I'd been trying to plan a family vacation with my husband and daughter to San Diego, but it didn't work for this past year. Instead, an opportunity arose recently to go with my dad to see my aunt and cousins. My 89 year old dad wanted to see his little sister and isn't one to travel such distances on his own. As soon as he mentioned it, I offered up my traveling companion services and off we went. 

We stayed near my aunt's nursing home which meant we were a good 20 minutes from the beach, but we drove to the coast (or nearby) each morning to get in a walk and take in the scenery. I couldn't go to San Diego and not see the ocean. My dad loved it. I loved it. After four days of this schedule, I have to admit that I miss my morning walk with my dad, ocean or not.

After our daily walk, we'd visit with my aunt all day, head back to our hotel and walk to a local restaurant for dinner. The evenings were often capped off by sitting on the balcony, or in my dad's case, walking it from one end of the hotel to the other. We went out to eat with my cousins and I got to connect with a friend I hadn't seen in 15 years... since my last visit to California. I thought five days for this trip might feel too long, but I was wrong - I could have stayed much longer.

We came home refreshed and comforted. We got to see our family and experience what a nice place my aunt is living in. The weather was perfect (while it was 90 and stormy back in Minnesota). The people of San Diego were so friendly everywhere we went. Seriously, everyone was so nice. And I got to spend quality time with my dad. I feel so grateful that we can take trips like this together still - I hope we have more adventures in our future.

Before I left on this trip, my husband reminded me that our plan is to move to Oregon one day and that I am not to fall in love with San Diego again. He knows I have a fondness for this place. If I can just get him to visit with me next time...

My Minnesota - May

I'm joining up again with my fellow Minnesotans to highlight places we've explored in our state this past month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

May found us exploring all sorts of places that really aren't far from home. It seems a shame that we hadn't explore some of these places before since they are so close to us, but better late than never. 

First up is Centennial Lakes In Edina. Last year we went paddle boating here, but I'd never walked around it before (they also have lawn games and a putting course). I dropped Riley off at a Birthday Party near this lake and decided to stick around. I took a leisurely walk, picked up lunch at a nearby grocery store and sat in peace, by myself, eating my salad. It's tucked between retail shops, corporate buildings and apartments... and you'd never know it was there if you didn't hear about it from someone or happen upon it when you were dropping your kid off at Chuck E Cheese. 

After the party, I wasn't ready to leave so Riley agreed to explore one end of the lake with me. I'm sure it won't be the last time we check out this area this summer as I've promised my daughter that we would go paddle boating again soon. 

Next up was an area we've visiting before and has informally become our mother's day weekend spot: Bass Lake park and Wolfe Park in St Louis Park. We started with a walk at Bass Lake and then headed over to the playgrounds at Wolfe Park. I'd just set Riley up with my old Nikon D80 and she proceeded to take about 250 pictures on this outing. Always interesting to see her perspective, but I have to admit I'm deleting most of the pictures so far. Shhh, don't tell her.

At any rate, it was just the Mother's Day morning I wanted... time with my family while enjoying the beautiful weather. Later, when we went across the street to Wolfe Park, I noticed notes hanging off flowering trees. They said things like "I am grateful for my brother who taught me to stand up for myself", " I'm grateful for my friend Veronica because she made me more aware of Human Rights" and "I am grateful to have dreams again". I have no idea how they got there, but wish I had a pen and paper to add my own.

Lest you think that May was all gorgeous weather and beautiful flowing trees, mid-month we dealt with rain and chilly weather. It happened to align with Art-A whirl and St. Louis Park's Ice Cream Social which was unfortunate, but we weren't going to let some slightly miserable weather keep us from having fun. The Ice Cream Social was paired with the grand opening of the Recreation Outdoor Center so there was a lot of activities to watch and partake in. We ran into several friends (Riley's friends, that is) and even though it was chilly, we made sure to get some ice cream. 

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband went on a camping trip with friends in South Dakota while Riley and I had a fun filled girls weekend. I decided to rent a 24 - 70 mm lens over the long weekend to see if it's a lens I want to purchase (the jury is still out on this one)  and figured this was the perfect opportunity to explore places we've never been before.

Riley and I started our weekend off on Friday night by checking out a local park. There are 35 playgrounds in our city and, starting last year, we've been checking them one by one off the list. This one had a bonus pond nearby that we slowly strolled around. Oh, and the pond provided another bonus as it had a Little Library along the path. My kid loves books so this was an exciting find even if it didn't result in her taking a book home.

The next morning, I pulled up Google Maps and scrolled around to find someplace nearby to explore. Cedar Lake is fairly close to our house and yet I've never been there. So many gems so close to home! I found an area with a path and beach access that seemed perfect for this morning. We recently had some Robins nesting in a tree right outside our kitchen window so Riley brought along a notebook that she'd already researched and written down the Robin's life cycle in. As we walked, we stopped and looked at Robin's and she tried to draw one based on our unknowing bird models that skittered about us.

The beach wasn't anything fancy... in fact there were a lot of tree roots and such, but that didn't matter to Riley. I didn't think it was quite warm enough for beach weather, but that didn't matter to my kid. She played for quite a long time while we watched a group of people training for a triathlon. Apparently, the thing to do on this lake is canoe and kayak as there were a steady stream of people paddling about the lake.  

Later that weekend, I walked around Purgatory Creek in Eden Prairie after dropping Riley off at another birthday party (she seriously has a more active social life than I do). I decided to leave my camera at home because it's heavy and I was tired of lugging it around (sort of wondering if I should have gotten a lighter mirror-less camera instead), but I had many moments that I wished I brought the camera along. It was a longer walk that I thought it would be (made it back to the party with 5 minutes to spare!), but it was a beautiful area and if I wasn't absolutely exhausted, I would have gone back with Riley in tow to have her check it out as well. 

So that wraps up our May. Looking forward to all the adventures this summer will bring us. Make sure to check out Carrie Bayless next!

June 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

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I can't believe May is already over! It went so fast that I had to really think about what we did. Where did we go? Did we do anything interesting? I certainly took enough pictures this month - it was a bit hard to narrow down which four to share!

A few things about May:

  • We had pretty typical Minnesota May weather... t-shirts one day, coats the next, sunny days and rainy days.
  • My kid almost always had a book with her.
  • My kid loves taking pictures too. I set her up with my old Nikon D80, and she ended up taking a gazillion pictures with it. 
  • We went on lots of walks, and started exploring alleyways near our house. I didn't think we'd find anything interesting, but did. 
  • The warmer weather also allowed us to resume walking to school once a week and it reminded me how much I love that one on one time with my daughter.

We're looking forward to many summer adventures now that school is over. I can't wait to see what June has in store for us!

 Next up make sure to check out Lisa R. Howeler and continue the circle around.

Clickin Walk 2017

Three years ago I worked up the nerve to sign up for my first photography walk through Clickin Moms. I didn't know anyone, and had no idea what to expect.  I almost chickened out, but made my introverted self go, and it turns out it wasn't scary at all. 

The next year was easier and I was able to get to know people a little better. I made connections, became friends with them on various social media platforms, and I even went on an informal photo walk with a couple of them.

Since then, I'm met more local photographers, and while we mostly connect online, we sometimes we go out and take pictures of our kids together.

I feel like I've met my people. 

It's no longer nerve wracking to go to these things. Instead, I'm excited... Who am I going to meet this year? What will I find to photograph? What new things will I learn?

This year we headed into Downtown Minneapolis on a beautiful, spring Saturday. We talked to people along our path, took pictures of architecture, strangers, each other... and just had fun. If you're into photography, I would recommend finding a group like this. I've heard that photography can be a competitive market, but I've found nothing, but inclusion in the group I've connected with. 

We met a number of interesting people and all were open to having their pictures taken... some even asking us to take their picture. The guy below dubbed himself the 'water hustler'.

As we came around the back side of First Avenue, we discovered the garage door open. An employee allowed us to pop in and take some pictures of the star most people don't see on their building.... one for P.Nut, another employee's dog. Oh, the useless, but interesting information you learn on these walks. :)

It's been a long time since I've hung out at First Ave or the 7th street entry, but many memories flooded back of dancing and watching bands there. 

These folks below were on a walking tour of Minneapolis. It was fun to overhear what the tour guide had to say about First Ave... and discover that it wasn't anything I didn't know.

I met Elena at my 1st and 2nd photo walk, so it was great to see her lead this one with Chrissy (who I met at last years).

We even found another photographer wandering on his own so it seemed appropriate to talk shop. He was shooting film, which I'd love to try again for fun.

After the walk, a handful of us stopped to eat and then headed out to take more pictures. Chrissy is the portrait photographer of this smaller group and proceed to take our pictures. I never had professional senior photos done so now I can check that off the list. I can't wait to see the finished photos.

As the day ended, I found myself in the ramp next to my car and I still couldn't quite put my camera away. I'm a sucker for murals and am now wishing there was a way I could get on this roof with my kid. No one would notice, right?

I was a really fun day and I already have tentative plans with a couple of the women from this day to take our kids out for our own mural photo walk. I know I will have lots of connections and informal walks in the near future, but I can't wait to go on the Clickin Walk again next year.

May 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

This past month I participated in the O'Clock Project hosted by FiddleLeaf Photography. Every day in April I took a picture within the same challenging hour. I chose the 7 - 8 am hour as we are usually scrambling to get through our morning ritual and off to school and work. Honestly, I was afraid that all my pictures would be of my daughter eating breakfast in front of her tablet, but turns out they were much more varied than that...

Next up make sure to check out Lisa R. Howeler and continue the circle around.

My Minnesota - Spring Break

I'm joining up again with my fellow Minnesotans to highlight places we've explored in our state this past month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

We were supposed to go to San Diego for spring break. I really, really wanted to get away someplace warm and sunny, but unfortunately that plan fell apart for a variety of reasons. I had taken the week off of work and thought about working anyway, but this seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore some local places that I hadn't had a chance to check out yet. 

First, we met up with friends to check out Can Can Wonderland where we played mini golf and pinball. This place was so visually interesting and the kids had a blast.

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Riley and I spent a lot of time at my rental property in Nordest Minneapolis (part of the reason San Diego was put on the back burner), so we checked out a 'new to us' playground nearby. It was a little fun to imagine that if we still lived there, Riley would have a school right across the street along with this playground... and then I came back to reality when I realized how annoying it would be to live in that small space with a kid. 

We checked out locals murals like the ones on the sides of the Key North Boutique and the I Like you store. The Twin Cities has a ton of interesting murals and it's my goal to check more of them out over the summer.

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We've had a number of friends visit InnerActive and relay that it was a lot of fun so I knew it would be on our list as well. While there were a lot of different play areas to explore, the air pillow seemed to be the biggest hit with my daughter. I on the other hand felt like I was going to ralph with all the kid's bouncing around me. I was happy to sit on the sidelines while Riley jumped to her heart's content. 

Riley spent at a day at Aprils Fools Camp at the Westwood Hills Nature Center. When Jesse and I went to pick her up we decided to explore the place ourselves. We've been there many times, but decided to walk some trails we've never taken before and realized we were totally missing out.

And finally, we went to Sea Life Aquarium. This was technically April 1st, but our first attempt was earlier in the week. We got all the way to the Mall of America only to have Riley get sick once we were in the door. It was a bummer to turn around and go home, but all was back to normal soon after and we were able to squeeze this visit in before our vacation time was over.

And that is how we explore Minnesota during our Spring break. Make sure to check out where Carrie Bayless explored this month and follow the circle around.

Day in the Life - Spring 2017

Each season I spend an entire day documenting our life. I've been doing this since 2012 and at the end of each year I make it into a book. My daughter loves to read these 'stories' and we both get a kick out of the details of our lives from years past. Thanks to My Life in Transition for hosting the day in the life round up. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Riley is 7 years old

Jesse is 42 and I am 45

Lucy the cat is 12

I get to bed late the night before. I think it's about 10:37 or so. Jesse is out of town and I always find myself staying up later than usual when he's gone. My new neighbors, who I have yet to meet, have guests over and are sort of loud out in their back yard. Riley's room is on that side of the house so I worry that she'd be bothered by it, but when I check on her before I go to bed, I see that she's fallen asleep with the light on. She spent the previous night at her grandparents so I think she was quite tuckered out.

I usually wake a couple times a night, go to the bathroom and go right back to sleep. This night was no different. I wake at 12:42, 3:20, and 4:36. I notice the neighbor's outside light is still on at that last waking and it's lighting up both our back yards.

Riley eventually wakes up, and instead of heading downstairs on her own (as she has been doing since she turned 7), she comes into my room. She did this the last time Jesse was out of town so I was expecting it to happen again. She wants help bringing down all the new goodies she got with grandma the day before. I tell her she can make two trips and then ask her what time it is as I have my sleep mask on. She tells me it's 6:57. Huh. She slept in later than usual and I got over 8 hours of sleep. Yay! She proceeds to makes her two trips downstairs while I lounge in bed for a few minutes.

7:08 - I get out of bed and head downstairs. I debate about us going to the zoo to see the baby farm animals, but it's supposed to rain this day and I'm not sure I want to deal with the crowds there. Plus, I have so many to do items that I want to accomplish today. I had to work the day before so my weekend has been compressed into one day. While I decide, I start taking pictures. I am completing a 365 photography project this year, but during the month of April I am also shooting specifically during a challenging hour (hosted by Fiddle leaf Photography - the O'Clock Project). I've settled on the 7 - 8 am hour so I make sure to grab a few (or a lot) of pictures during this time.

7:28 - I make Riley breakfast (cereal and apples) and I eat yogurt and granola. Riley runs out to grab the newspaper and watches some Netflix. Once I'm done eating I decide that we will skip the zoo since there are too many other things to do. I start laundry and while in the basement, I put a coat of stain on one last slat of wood I have planned for a feature wall in my basement bathroom. This is the slowest bathroom remodel ever. It feels like we are getting close to the end, but it wouldn't surprise me if I mention work we're doing on it in my summer day in the life. I come back upstairs and assess the house. So much stuff everywhere.

8:32 - I go get dressed and decide that I need to go to the gym. I've been bad about getting there, but have been on the treadmill at home a lot more so it's not like I've been slacking. We've been going to this gym since Riley was little and we recently decided that after May we are giving up the gym membership. They raised their prices a lot so that's part of it, but we also find ourselves staying active outside of the gym. I hope it's not a mistake. Riley comes upstairs and gets dressed as well. She brings her new stuffed animal up - Kiki the cat. Kiki ends up accompanying us the entire day. 

9:00 - Finally out of the house. I like to get to the gym around 8:30 on Sunday before it gets busy, but such is life. We arrive there around 9:08 and I see that Jesse has texted me a picture of Gooseberry Falls where he and his buddies camped the night before. I drop Riley off in child care and I head upstairs to focus on legs. This is my hardest, but favorite workout. 

10:17 - As we leave the gym, I call Kid's Hair to see if they have any openings this morning. They do - at 11:00. I decide to go home and see if I can squeeze in a shower before going there. I get home, set Riley up with a snack and take one of the fastest showers ever. I end up using too much shampoo which causes me to stress out about the valuable seconds I am wasting washing the extra shampoo out of my hair. I follow it up with a partial hair dry on the "fry my hair, but get it dry now" setting.

10:45 - We get out the door with the few extra minutes buffer I require to avoid the extra stress I put on myself about being potentially late. We show up and Riley is slightly disappointed that we didn't go to the other Kid's Hair near Toys R Us. Riley occasionally asks to grow her hair out, but then will change her mind and ask to get it cut short. I pushed this visit off for a couple weeks to make sure that she wanted it cut and she confirmed that she did.

11:15 - Haircut complete. Jesse texts to say that he's in Duluth and headed home. Riley and I are right near a park so I suggest we go play there for a bit before lunch. Of course, Riley agrees. It's a beautiful morning - you'd never know that there was rain in the forecast. This park has a couple playgrounds and ponds. We play at both, and check for ducks and turtles. We stop and eat a snack and around lunch time the park starts to clear out a bit.

Riley is in a good mood and then she'd not. I'm not sure what happened, but she's super fussy. I play hard mom at first and realize that's not going to work so I softened it up a bit. She then tells me that she's in the red zone. At school, they recently learned about the red, yellow, blue, and green zones. She now knows how they relate to feelings and what to do when you are in each zone. We talk more about what she can do to get to the green zone, but she's still being a fussy pants. I give her the option to leave and get lunch (because I think hunger may also be contributing to her mood) or go check out another area near the pond. She decides to check out the pond and her mood seems to soften a bit so she isn't so cranky.

We decide to leave and I suggest we pick up Jimmy Johns which she loves. She agrees and tells me on the way back to the car that she's now in the blue zone since she's tired. This doesn't surprise me since she often is the day after her grandparents. She says that she's going to go home and color and take a rest (this doesn't really happen, by the way - no surprise). 

12:44 - Finally home after stopping to pick up our sandwiches. Riley looks sad as we walk to the door and then makes sad noises. I ask if she wants a hug and she says she wants one on the couch. We go snuggle for a bit and I notice that our new couch gives us a little more room to do this. I get her set up at the table with her food and agree that she can watch some TV. I've been working on a never ending puzzle for weeks so that's taking up much of the rest of the table so I head to my desk with my food and surf the internet. 

1:45 - Riley has now rebounded which confirms that she needed food. While it did seem like the clouds were coming in earlier, it's now gorgeous out again. I recently picked up some tennis rackets at Good Will and suggest we go down to the park where there are some tennis courts. We walk down the block and decide to use the area where you can hit the ball against a wall since neither of us can actually play tennis.

We stay there for quite a while and I hit the ball over the fence no less than 7 times. What can I say. I played softball as a kid - I'm used to hitting things in a different way. We both agree that it was a fun activity, but decide we should go home since Jesse might be home by now.

2:36 - On the way home Riley tells me that she hopes her dad is home and then says that she hopes he's not home... and then says she doesn't know. She's worried that he will find her new toys she acquired with grandma the day before. She has a couple more stuffed animals and some things from a garage sale that Jesse's aunt had. I assure her that her dad probably hasn't gone through her stuff and she says something like "he better not have". We arrive home and Jesse is already there... and he did not go through Riley's stuff to her relief. She's highly energized by him being home and excitedly runs through all her new things. She talks nonstop and when I start to talk, she interrupts repeatedly. I call her out on it and she lets me talk for a little bit. She's super excited to have her dad home (me too). I take a bunch of pictures and then realize that I should tell him I'm doing a day in the life. He shares that his camping trip was fun, but the slight sore throat he had has turned into something bigger. He doesn't feel well and is super huggy. 

3:03 - I'm super beat. I think I have 13,000 steps on my Fitbit by this time, but there are still things to do around the house. I start the dishwasher, and do more laundry. I bring a load upstairs and put it away. I open up the door to the deck that's off our bedroom and the cat and Riley follow. Our deck chairs had been stacked in the corner under a tarp so I pull that out and set them up thinking it should be safe to do so now that winter is over. Riley grabs The Secret Garden and I read it to her, but she's distracted by the cat, and the bugs that may attack her so we finally give up. She goes inside and I sit in peace and quiet for a few minutes outside. When I go inside, I find her cuddled on my bed under a blanket watching more TV (sigh). I go get the second load of laundry, fold and put that away...and then cuddle with my girl for a few.

3:55 - I head downstairs and outside to fold the tarp from the garage and bring in a recently washed screen for our bathroom upstairs. It starts to sprinkle, but the sun is still shining. Jesse arrives back home after washing his truck and sits with Riley to write a book based on the A to Z Mysteries series she's been reading lately.  I work on the grocery list and it starts to get pretty dark outside. I have no desire to go grocery shopping, but we are desperately in need of food. I decide I need to go alone so I can get Easter basket items as well.

4:46 - At Target. I get groceries, and then Easter basket items - although I'm sure I should get more. I realize before I go to check out that I have some prescription stuff I need to deal with too. My insurance changed this past year and it doesn't cover most of my prescriptions which has caused me to have to stop taking some meds. The guy I work with this day is super helpful and finds me a discount on one of my prescriptions.

5:57 - Finally home. Riley is excited to tell me about her story and I proceed to bring in the groceries and put them away. I hide the Easter stuff in the closet while she asks to do something with me. I'm starving so I make dinner and agree to have her help me make granola which I set out earlier in the day. She loves to help me cook and this is a dish that is easy for her to contribute to since it doesn't involve knives or her needing to get near anything hot. Jesse is in our office working on putting together a video of his camping trip with his buddies. They all have Toyota Tacoma's and do a little off-roading. Jesse has told me that he's not really into the driving over big things, but does warn me that I might not want to watch the video this time (he's correct - the video stresses me out, especially since our truck is not a beater truck).

While I sit down to eat my pasta, Riley and her dad are on the couch reading. After I'm done eating, I see that Jesse is sleeping, or trying to, and Riley is reading to him. Poor guy, he really doesn't feel well.

7:01 - Time to get ready for bed. I urge Riley to go brush her teeth and she pushes back - not something she typically does. She tells me that the dentist said that she should get help brushing her teeth until she's 10. I make her do part of it and then I help at the end. She changes into her pajamas and we head upstairs. It's late so we skip reading a chapter of The Secret Garden and instead read a couple stories in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. Love this book and so does she. While Riley had Kiki the stuffed cat with us all day, she decides she should give Pumpkin (one of many other stuffed cats) some attention since she hasn't done so in awhile. She also brought up her book that she was writing so I anticipate she'll work on that after I'm gone. 

7:36 - Give Riley some love and head downstairs. Jesse is still sleeping on the couch so I go into our office, turn on Pandora and start writing this post.

8:00 - Riley calls for me. I walk upstairs and she notes that she cannot find her pencil to write her story. Of course, she finds it on her own anyway. She's allowed to read, write, or color after I go downstairs as long as her light is off by 9:00. We find that she usually falls asleep around 8:00 or 8:30.

8:57 - Jesse wakes up, takes some meds, hangs out at his computer a little, but heads up to bed around 9:18. I decide to add a picture from Friday to Instagram and then continue with this post. Realize that I should upload my pictures I so do that before heading to bed. 

10:19 - I finally go to bed with over 15,500 steps for the day. I sleep like crap. Jesse is making sick noises and something is up with Lucy. She's all over me and wakes me multiple times. Twice, I get up because I wake to her puking and have to clean it up. It was a pretty miserable night and I worried that it made for a hard night for Jesse too since I had to turn on the hallway light was making noise, but turns out he took enough cold medicine that he didn't remember a thing. He had no clue. Not sure what was up with the cat, but she has been fine since then and I got a wonderful night sleep the following night so all is good.

And that, is another day in our life.

April 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month (or in the case of this month, my 7 favorite - I just couldn't narrow them down any more than I did). Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

In March, I had an opportunity to rent a friend's studio to take pictures of my nephew. Quentin is about to publish a book about his experience riding his bicycle from Minnesota to Canada, and a local magazine, Immersion, wants to do a cover story on him. He was allowed to choose his photographer so he called me. Such a good nephew. :) I'll share those picture later, but I wanted to share some other pictures from that day. 

I brought my daughter along to the studio and she agreed... as long as she could bring her cat costume. Deal. I also brought the tripod so I could get some pictures of us together. I've been trying to get in the picture more. I want to document that I'm here, but I also want to capture moments between Riley and I. Luckily, she loves to get silly in front of the camera with me.

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Make sure to check out the wonderful, Chrissy Mazer, and follow the circle around. We're looking forward to what April brings us!

My Minnesota

Another month has gone by where I stayed close to home. On the other hand, my husband has been camping in Minnesota a couple times this winter... yes, camping in the winter... in Minnesota. He's nuts, but I'm a little jealous that I didn't get to go with him. That is, if we stayed in a hotel room at night. He neglected to bring the camera along, but I can imagine the hikes through the woods and how peaceful it must have been.

Instead, my big Minnesota moment this month was spending a day at the Animal Humane Society with 12 riled up 1st graders for my daughter's 7th birthday. It was nuts, but wonderful at the same time. The Animal Humane Society is great for many reasons, but they did a fantastic job hosting this party. I would highly recommend them.

Make sure to check out the awesome Erin at Erin Blair Photography to follow the circle around.

 

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March 4 on 4

Each month I join a group of talented women from Clickin Moms to create a 4 on 4 blog circle showcasing 4 of our favorite images from the last month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

In February, I continued taking a picture every single day. It's not so hard to do, but the challenge is to find interesting moments and challenge myself. Most pictures are of my daughter with a scattering of my dad... and a random capture of the cat or a plant. One of my goal's within this 365 project is to take more pictures of my dad, collect his stories, and turn it into a book for the family at the end of the year.

This past month, we celebrated my daughter's 7th birthday, my dad's 89th, and had some surprisingly warm days for February. This winter has gone remarkably fast and it really seems that spring is within reach.

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And that's a wrap for February. I'm looking forward to what March has to bring. Make sure to follow the blog circle around starting with the wonderful Alexis Fischer Photography.

Hello!

I finally did it, you guys! I created a new website. Yes, this one! I've been meaning to make the move for some time and we're finally here. It's been months in the making and I keep changing my new site around... and likely will until I get it just so... and then I might change it again after that. That doesn't really matter, because in the end I want a site where I can feature my photography. Plus, I still want to blog, but maybe not as much. Who knows? I can be indecisive about these things.

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The important thing is that you're here. Welcome!

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I used to blog over at Life As I Know It about my family which eventually turned into a mish mash of a photography and a family blog. While, I'm no pro, photography is my passion and something I've loved since I was young. It's come and gone out of my life in the past, but a few years back I dedicated myself to learning as much as I can about it. I've connected with a great community of photographers and I'll be linking to them from time to time in my posts. Make sure to go check them out as they are all worth the peek.

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Again, welcome... and thank you for stopping by!