Sunday, June 9, 2013

on being irrational.

Top o' the morning to all (twenty) of my blog readers.  I'm sitting here, sipping a cup of (decaf) coffee before the rest of the house is awake, trying hard not to let an out-of-control to-do list overwhelm me.  You might be thinking, why in the F is she drinking decaf coffee, and I'm with you... it sort of seems pointless, right?!  Lately, though, I'm wondering if the act of drinking coffee, taking a moment to cup the steamy mug between two hands and take little sips as you ponder what the day might hold, is just as important for a re-charge as any amount of caffeine might be.  

Anyway, the Blackhawks are going to the Stanley Cup.  Maybe this means nothing to any of you, but for me it means that some members of my household might be slightly hungover this morning, there are a lot of dishes in my kitchen from late-night celebrations and also the facial hair of other household members will remain unshaven for the next couple weeks.  Go 'Hawks!  

In addition to celebrating the 'Hawks victory last night, I also got extremely obsessed with what was supposed to be a simple Father's Day project for John.  Famous last words: simple project.  A dear friend of mine did this project with her son and as soon as I saw it, I texted her and was like, I AM STEALING THIS PROJECT.  And of course, she was like, DO IT!  AND SEND ME PICS!  AND I LOVE YOU!  AND I MISS YOU!  because she's awesome like that.  So, for a few days, I plotted about the project, deciding how I would set it up, brainstorming ways to get John out of the house for a little while so I could complete it, mentally analyzing the candy reserves I had on hand to coerce Jack's cooperation in said endeavor.  After we cleaned up from breakfast yesterday and John was occupied with lawn care maintenance, I loaded up the boys and headed to Hobby Lobby for supplies.  On the way back, Jack was carefully explaining to me how he was going to "tell Daddy all about the surprise!"  I tried to explain the meaning of SURPRISE to a two year-old, which, as you might imagine, was not the easiest task.  By the time we returned home, however, he was distracted by a bribe involving fruit snacks and the secret remained safe... for the time being.

As soon as John was out of the house running an errand, I sprang into action, dressing the boys in cute outfits, dragging a quilt out to the backyard, gathering candy and a pacifier (to appease my subjects) and doing last minute diaper changes and face wipes.  PEOPLE - we had about a 30 minute window (of course, just before nap time for both kids - which was a FABULOUS time to undertake this project - where's the sarcasm font?!).

This is the final project.  

To get to this point, though, required arranging, hemming, hawing, threatening, begging, pleading, wiping, swiping, grabbing and grumbling.  And some other things.  Seriously.  I don't know why I so often make the mistake of thinking things are going to be SIMPLE with CHILDREN.  As soon as Jack would do something adorable, Owen invariably spit up all over himself.  If Owen was smiling and cooperating, then Jack needed to go pee. right. that. very. second.  I think there's a good reason professional photographers charge you so much for shoots - because they.are.worth.every.penny.  Seriously.  At various points yesterday, I would have paid you any sum of money to complete this project for me.  When I finally adjusted and cropped and spliced the pictures in the way I wanted, I printed them at Walgreens only to discover that Walgreens had cut the top off when I went to pick them up.  I was not pleased and returned home to start from scratch.  (Deep breaths, small sips of coffee)

Here are some of the outtake shots:

  a wave of spit-up followed the taking of this photo...

we moved inside to help boost spirits...

 In the picture below, Jack is hiding under the chair, begging me to read him "Dig, Dinosaurs, Dig" for the 800th time.  I was very, very afraid he'd sit up and knock Owen over, so the entire time I'm pleading with him to keep laying down.

Jack was very concerned that Owen was going to choke on the letter in this picture.  He kept frantically running into the shot, yelling, "Save Owen, Mom!  He is eating the letter!"

Andddd... that was a wrap.  When we got to this final shot, Jack proclaimed, very loudly, "THIS IS NOT FUN.  I want a cereal bar.  I AM DONE."  

Other options that didn't make the cut, but are shown here so you can fully grasp how obsessed I became with getting this right:

In the light of morning, things seem clearer.  I KNOW that John would love any of these pictures, regardless of whether Owen is spitting up or Jack is scowling, or the letter is slightly cut off.... but it's so easy FOR ME to lose sight of the forest for the trees in the midst of an "easy" project.  This project, however, demonstrates EXACTLY why I am grateful for my husband and how I need to remember that not just on Father's Day, but every day: because he helps me (sometimes FORCES me) to let go of the things that don't matter and focus on all the good things all around us.  He lives in the moment, doesn't worry about to-do lists, makes an effort to enjoy himself wherever he is (regardless of projects or jobs that need to be completed or other complications), laughs at himself and the circumstances he encounters, lets go of mistakes and loves his family unconditionally.  He is my perfect match - and always challenges me to live a little more spontaneously.  When I stop focusing on all the details and just think generally about my life, I am always reminded how lucky I am to have him.

So - cheers to my husband!  He doesn't read this blog (or any other blog, for that matter), but he deserves a toast, and I'm raising my morning coffee to him.  Whichever version of this photo he opens next Sunday, I'm sure he's going to love it!

P.S. As I was finishing this up, Jack woke up, looked at the pictures of this project on the screen and said, "And Jack and Owen said CHEEEEEESE! and now we made a surprise for Daddy and he will love it!"  Which is a better and less time consuming summary of this whole affair.


  1. These are so adorable! And I laughed reading this entire post because it's so something I would do. The weekly photos of Henry just about did me in. And by the end it was a two person (or sometimes three person) job. And my husband and son hated it. But, dang if I don't love those photos!

  2. That's totally what I tell my husband every time he grumbles about photo shoots - NO ONE ever says "geez, I wish I had taken fewer pictures of this time." :) Love all Henry's weekly photos, and you will treasure them forever, I am sure!

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