Thanksgiving Recap

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For all of my negativity a few days prior, I woke up Thursday morning feeling absolutely overjoyed with my life. When the first sight to greet your eyes is that of your two most favorite human beings, you can't help but be filled with gratitude.

Especially when following, my stomach was filled with cinnamon rolls. Yum!
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After a leisurely start to the day our family headed North a bit to my uncle Larry's, where there were plenty of boy cousins for Isaac to play with.
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Isaac was super excited to see his Grandma, although he would periodically refer to her as Julie, as he's picked up from the other daycare kids.
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We still don't have a word for Grandpa, but that's all right. He states his intentions pretty well when he takes off on a dead run towards him.
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Isaac just couldn't get enough of the boys playing all around him or the circle he was able to make going up and down two sets of steps.
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Unfortunately, those steps caused Isaac a couple of tumbles. Those, coupled with his absolute refusal to nap resulted in a super crabby boy.
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Thankfully uncle Levi was around to cheer the little man up.
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Although he still wasn't the happiest when we tried to take a family picture.
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Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

Our family was extremely emotional this year during Thanksgiving, as it was the first holiday without a Starzynski girl attending. While it's been well over a year since the loss of Abbi, just this spring at Easter, Sarah was with us and now she was painfully not. Kristi and Rob's pain was evident to everyone and no words felt appropriate to say. The fact that the children in the house were boys seemed relieving to most, but I still questioned how much comfort they could take in that. They can certainly still use the prayers!

Following my uncle's, we went to my Dad's and met up with my Stepmom and Aunt's family, including my sister in law and stepbrother from Indiana! We had a great time catching up with everyone as the cousin's played together. Since we'd just eaten at 1:30, I didn't think I could eat again and passed on my 2nd Thanksgiving dinner. I still regret this decision! We didn't go home with any leftovers and I just feel like I blew it. I want more Thanksgiving dinner! :)

As I mentioned before, Isaac didn't nap all day and had been coughing all day with a runny nose. I noticed he looked warm so I started stripping off his clothes until he was just running around in his diaper. Oh yes, how the mighty fell. One minute dude's wearing a tie and the next he's almost naked in front of everyone! Unfortunately he just grew more and more flushed until the point that we decided to quickly leave. He was clearly uncomfortable, sick and hadn't slept. Although I wanted to visit more and the game of CatchPhrase was just going to start, I had to make a decision as a mother to do the best for Isaac.

So home we went.

My heart completely full.

One for the Ages

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm going to try to summon my funny bone as much as humanely possible, because Saturday night Tony and I experienced one of the most hilarious moments of the year together. It quite possibly could be one of those times that you really only could have been there, but I will try my hardest.

It all began as we climbed into bed late Saturday night. Just as we were settled and comfy cozy, a noise disrupted our peace. You see Saturday, I put up our Christmas decorations, much like this:
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[vintage tree circa 2008, currently we do not have a topper, as it wouldn't work this year. :(]

And this culprit was having her way with the new toys.
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[vintage Callie circa 2008, when I actually took pictures of my pets]

It sounded like she was shredding right through the tree skirt and scratching down to the woodfloor, so I attempted to ambush her in the act. I tried to sneakily make my way down the stairs, but only succeeded in narrowing down that it was in fact her and not Lucy. She made her way under the table and flew up the stairs, I chased behind her yelling. Clearly I wasn't going to catch her, but I wanted her to be sure to know I wasn't pleased with her activities. She quickly scampered under the bed and I tried to flush her out using the shotgun to no avail. Satisfied that I scared her enough to keep her away, I hopped back in bed.

Not two minutes later, the scratching resumed.

This time Tony left the bed to attack the cat and I laughed to myself as he grabbed a hanger from the floor just before he crept down the stairs. This time instead of dashing throughout the living room like I did, Tony poured cat food and lured Callie into the kitchen. Then he grabbed her by her scruff and went to the living room, repeatedly telling her no-no in reference to the tree and tree skirt. Tony then picked up the tree skirt and put it on the back of the couch, thus ending the problem. Hissing as she went, the cat ran up the stairs and again hid under the bed, where Tony repeated the shotgun move. With the cat nearly hyperventilating under the bed, Tony crawled in.

Again, not two minutes later, the scratching resumed.

Tony now is slightly enraged that the cat, who can't understand English, is so blatantly ignoring our demands that she not mess with our Christmas decorations and seems intent on ruining our sleep. I'm not sure what he would have tried to discipline her with, as time outs don't work well for cats. After chasing her thoroughly, our final thought was that Callie was clawing at the Christmas totes and tree box, so Tony went to remove them and put them behind the closed door of Isaac's room.

That's when the laughing started.

It had sounded like the cat was clawing at hardwood, because she was.

Just, it wasn't Callie.

It was Lucy locked into Isaac's room.

As we replayed the commotion Tony and I had fits of laughter for well over five minutes.

I can just imagine how crazy Callie thought we were charging after her all over the house and who knows what she was doing just sitting on the main level every time we did!


Curtains?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Last weekend I was able to meet up with my college friends, for what was supposed to be a full girls' weekend, turned dinner.

We went to The Kitchen in Stillwater and had a great time. Hard to believe that it's been over four years since I spent the majority of my time with these girls either on road trips, soccer fields or weight rooms . . . and outside of school too.
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Since I had my little point and shoot, I told them about the pictures Isaac's been taking of himself. They wanted to see, so I handed the camera over. My friend Kat got an extremely quizzical look on her face and questioned if Isaac was taking pictures of curtains. Unsure of what she meant, I grabbed the camera back to see this picture.
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While yes, there are curtains pictured, the main subject would not be not curtains, that would be my pajama bottomed butt.

ps:: Two posts in a row ended with speak of my butt, what a trend! Thank you so much for your sweet comments. Julia was right, a little sleep did wonders!

Going to Level

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

These last few weeks, especially since I returned from Phoenix, have been rough.

My quest to be a supporting wife has been completely shot down and I certainly feel like I'm under attack.

Tony and I have found each other at odds more than not.

Our schedules with hockey ramping up and my continual need to edit have not been kind to either of us.

There are just so many things.

Last night was pretty brutal though. Isaac has a cold right now that kept all three of us up throughout the night, as he kept waking up to fuss and cry. Poor little guy can't breathe through his nose, so it's completely understandable. I developed a migraine at 3:00am though and it's still lingering with me now. All I want is to crawl into bed.

I know that just a few days before Thanksgiving, I should be writing posts about all of the gifts in my life that I am thankful for. Today though, that would be blowing smoke up your patoot and I just don't have it in me.

Photography Equipment

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's been mentioned before, so figured now was about high time I put together a photography equipment post. I decided to do this on a whim at work, so there aren't any pictures, but I'm sure I'll update later.

To start I have two bodies, both Canon. The original Canon 5d which is no longer manufactured and can only be purchased second hand, as I did from Gina. The 5d is a full frame, 12.8 megapixel camera and is truly my work horse.

Next up, my little bitty Canon Rebel XS. The most agonizing purchase that Tony and I have ever debated, well the washer and dryer are a close 2nd. The XS is a cropped frame, 10.1 megapixel camera that I bought with the kit lens, oh foolish girl I was.

Originally I bought the Canon 50mm 1.8 for $99, but stopped using it because I didn't understand my camera. The 50mm has a lot shallower depth of field than the kit lens I had been using before and I didn't understand why my pictures weren't in focus.

And then I understood and bought the Canon 50mm 1.4 from Gina. I shoot 99% of all of my images with the 50 1.4. Next, I allowed my Mom to gift me with the 16-35mm 2.8 because I was really struggling with shooting indoors during the winter with the 50mm. If I could do it all over again, I'd never have gotten the 16-35. Prime, non zoom, lenses are so much better quality and shoot in much lower light. I just had no idea to what extreme, plus they lock a lot sharper which results in a cleaner image. Instead I would have bought the 35mm 1.4 and the 85mm 1.2, or even the 135mm 2.0 based on my wedding needs.

For accessories I have the Crumpler 6 million dollar bag and love it, but I quickly outgrew it. I wish that I had the 7 million. Just this past summer I bought the Canon Speedlight 580 EX II and am feeling really comfortable shooting with it. Finally, one of my most beloved accessories is the Rapid strap that I bought from Gina with the 5d. It readjusts the weight of the camera from your neck to your shoulders, has a pocket to store a card and I love the ease of use. The camera is always right where I need to grab it. Check out the videos on the sight to truly understand how innovative they are.

As for software, thanks to my full time position I was able to purchase CS5 for an outrageous discount and just got Lightroom 3 for batch RAW file editing.

So this is my boring, ironically pictureless post regarding my photography equipment.

Candid Camera with Isaac

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our house is no longer baby proofed, I'm not kidding you. My son can get into anything at this point. Including sitting at the table, I mean standing on the chair while next to the table. Tony and I have resigned ourselves to trying to get him to listen, even while not listening.

The other night I realized that Isaac had gotten at the point and shoot, but figured since he was playing nice with it that I'd let him keep it. Looks like the photo bug has struck another member of our family!

Trying to show him how to do it.
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He wasn't very happy when I took the camera into my hand. This picture cracks me up!
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Off on his merry way.
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Apparently he has an abstract eye.
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His first self portrait circa 2010.
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Finally smiling when I asked for a cheese smile.
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I'm surprised the kid didn't blind himself!
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Priceless.
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Again not happy that I took the camera away!
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Finally happy again.
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Where did my baby go?

4th Season: Winter

Monday, November 15, 2010

I love Minnesota. I really do. I love to travel and get out of the state. I swear, for as little as it happens, I really do. What I love most about traveling though, is returning home. There's just no place like Minnesota.

I know at least half of the country thinks that we're crazy, which is true to a point. I wish I could say that most of the stereotypes are way off mark, but in general they're not. One thing that binds most Minnesotans, who are here by choice, is that we all enjoy the distinct 4 seasons that Minnesota offers.

Spring.

Summer.

Fall.

And now, Winter.

As I always hate to advertise, Tony was gone this weekend. Isaac and I held down the fort and slept decently Friday night and woke up knowing there was a Winter Storm Warning. I thought it was supposed to start snowing sometime during the day Saturday, so you can imagine my surprise waking up at 7:00am when I pulled back the shade to this!
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Both Isaac and I wow'd the next few hours at the snow outside. It was the cutest thing how he would say "wow" and I knew he meant that he wanted to look out the window.
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So we ventured out, into this! Mind you, this was at 10:00am and it continued to snow for another 24 hours!
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Isaac loved it!
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He was so intrigued by the snow, but refused to say cold. He's a true Minnesotan.
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I fail by not having a hat or gloves for him, but he had such a blast, even if he was practically stationary due to the size 11 boots. Oops, my Mom bought them last winter and they're just a touch too big.
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Love this boy. He makes me see the world differently.
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It was so cool to see the pattern of the snow fall depending on the direction of the wind.
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We lost a lot of branches due to the weight of the snow, but some of our neighbors had severe damage!
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Isaac's hands went into the snow a few times, but he still kept trucking.
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As AJ wrote on my facebook, "Oh no! Help! The tree is going to attack me!"
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I didn't take a lot like this . . .
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Because this cute face was competing!
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He ah, wasn't too thrilled to come inside, to say the very least. We've also began the treacherous journey through toddler tantrums. It's not pretty my friends, not pretty at all.

We thankfully stayed nice and roasty toasty for the majority of the day, as it snowed over 12" throughout the day. My Mom and a few friends were not as lucky though and lost power! This ended up a problem for me as well, as my Mom was going to watch Isaac while I went to wedding reception Saturday night and clearly this was not a good idea being that their house was lit by candles! I thought I was plowed in, but with Isaac strapped into the car, I shoveled out and made it. In a dress, no less.

I love Minnesota.

Turtle-y Christmas

Friday, November 12, 2010

You guys know I don't like to dress Isaac in overly cutesy clothing. Much to the chagrin of my Southern friends, there has been no smocking on my son and I jumped at the opportunity to dress him like a little man. He's been out of Carter's clothing with all of their cute animals for almost a year now, but all that aside . . . I can barely contain myself!

Guess what I found at the Gap?
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Can you believe your eyes? Those are turtle slippers! Isaac is going to flip out. To boot, I've also been stalking Etsy for toddler friendly turtle items and think we'll be purchasing at least the below middle as Isaac's ornament:
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via Etsy: Ferdinand, turtle ornament, turtle soap

He probably won't be getting all of these, but I'm excited for him! I can just imagine his face with the turtle slippers, he will be thrilled!

The Heart of the Matter: MTH2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friday night I spent the night alone with Isaac, as Tony had already left earlier in the day for hunting. Sleeping by myself can sometimes be nerve racking for me, but I knew it would pale in comparison to the events of the next few days.

Saturday, at around 12:30 I packed by myself, while wrangling Isaac, and managed to remember everything! This included pajamas, my cell phone charger and my hair brush. I seem to forget these items notoriously and was certain that without Tony’s reminders that I would forget. I could feel my momentum building as I left the house.

When I saw my Mom though, the momentum faded, speaking with an adult allowed all of my fears to begin creeping in, starting with apprehension that I somehow ordered my plane ticket for the incorrect date or wrong destination. This continued as we drove to the airport, but I took a few minutes to praise God in directing me to purchase a direct flight! I can't imagine my anxiety if I'd been trying to traverse unknown airports by myself on a tight schedule!

Saying goodbye to Isaac was brutal. He was tired though and the more I kissed him, the more he resisted. In order to not have a fully fledged temper tantrum throwing boy on my Mom's hands for the ride home, I pulled back, hugged my Mom, squared my shoulders and walked away.

My worst worries immediately dissolved once I found my gate and opened my camera bag to find Tony's final note.20101106_0016a

I was early, but wouldn't have it any other way. I used the time to be reflective. And camera happy.20101106_0009a

I mean who doesn't take a self portrait at the airport with their super heavy dslr + zoom lens?20101106_0010a

I was pretty much a nervous wreck during take off and landing, both times, without Tony's hand to hold. Being that this was only my forth trip involving an airplane, and first time ever flying alone, you could say that I'm still pretty inexperienced. I was convinced every twinge of the plane or shudder of the wing spelled doom. I kept envisioning this wing disintegrating before my eyes.

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Thankfully there was WiFi and wine. Before long, I was calm and introspective.20101106_0033a

The flight there was a breeze, and the flight attendant was hilarious! I flew Southwest for the first time and was literally laughing out loud during the announcements, here are some snippets of her ad lib directions:

"Please fasten your seat belt low and snug across your hips, just like our pilot likes his speedo."

"We do not anticipate a change in cabin pressure, otherwise we wouldn't have shown up for work today, but if we do . . . Please breathe the air through the mask normally. If you don't normally breathe normal, breathe as normal as you normally do."

"If you don't like our jokes, there are six exits here, here, and here . . . "

" . . . compliance with FAA regulations, you will be subject to a $2,000 fine. And we know you don't have $2,000 or you would have flown Delta."

Seriously, hilarious and perfectly timed! Loved it!

I took a quick 3 minute and $20 taxi ride to the Aloft Hotel in Phoenix, where I waited a few minutes for my roommate, the fabulous Melissa to arrive.20101106_0039

Melissa and I are both friends of Gina and have been electronic supporters via facebook and blog comments, but haven't had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. That completely changed this weekend. I'm very much the same in person, as I am in this blog. I have an open heart, am extremely trusting and have a habit of oversharing. Within 20 minutes Melissa and I were sharing like we were gradeschool girlfriends.

Sleep that night was evasive for both of us. I missed my family, as did Melissa. The room was too sterile for both of us, but the next morning, after some slight time change confusion on my part [AZ doesn't observe daylight saving time, but is still an hour behind Central and my blackberry doesn't automatically update like my previous phone did when I left MN] we were as prepared as we ever could be to walk into that room.

That room wasn't left for hours at a time. Cell phones and all outside contact were eliminated early when we were instructed to turn our phones off. There were a total of 13 women including myself, although most groups have a mix of men and women. One was my best friend, three were basically internet friends and 8 were complete strangers. It changed very quickly.

We began by sharing our stories. As simple or as complex as we wanted them to be. Those who went simple later shared to make up ground to complex. Within five minutes I think we all knew in our hearts that there was no turning back, nor would surface level contribution be accepted.

Break through. What an odd phrase. What a lacking phrase to describe realizations with life changing impacts. God moved through 13 women to project greatness onto the attendees. For 10 hours we laughed, cried and shared, of ourselves, about each other, offering encouragement.

Ten hours were spent in reflection, writing, meditation and encouragement. Ten hours. The only indication of time was the sun quickly moving through it's positions throughout the day lengthening the shadows until there were none, but darkness. Every single attendee was committed, whole heartedly, for themselves and for each other.

Going into the intensive, I thought I'd figured it out for myself and to some extent I had. I'm not one to spend massive amounts of time dwelling on myself; making selfish decisions as a human being, sure. That's human nature. But the only amount of self reflection I take is usually spent composing a blog post. Once written, it's as good as fact in my heart, and I'm already on the move to some other realization.

Through talking with Melissa the night before, I had a revelation I thought would hinder my involvement in the intensive: Photography is not my passion in life. It's . . . just not. My passion is cultivating family, from the natural birth movement, to birth photography, loosely attachment parenting, family hugs, children bowing their heads to say amen, family traditions, etc. I could just keep going. Photography is my joy. It is what I choose to do in my spare time, even when I have no spare time and yet it is not my passion in life.

MTH2010 did not allow me to sit on this. It challenged my assumptions, ordered that I dig deeper and then tilted yet even that new found world on it's head. I walked away with new fears acknowledged, new strengths identified, and an identified life purpose:

To be a godly, loving wife and mother, whose family glorifies God authentically, husband is supported to be the man he was created to be, and who provides photography to clients who need to meet with me, according to God's will.

Making Things Happen has never been intended as a strictly business workshop. As primarily sole proprietor's almost all attendees know that their personal life is projected onto their businesses, which is why the two can hardly be separated. We all had our junk to sort through and in the end the burdens were lifted. Through tears, sympathy and encouragement, they were lifted.

This was right before I opened my mouth and became a basketcase. I couldn't get the tears under control.73599_460366089343_236493009343_5298907_462740_n

Image by Gina Zeidler.

By the end of those 10 hours, I wanted to have a huge slumber party and run away screaming at the same time. We were so intense together for such a long period of time, on such a level that you felt such bonding that I couldn't help but want it to continue. To literally spend a day with each every one of my new friends, but on that same token all I wanted was to get away. To decompress and allow my thoughts some freedom.

Primarily I walked away with my purpose, at this time, a renewal of my commitment to be a work from home mom and that, while I feel stuck without any action, that I can grow my role in supporting Tony.

I am not a supportive wife. Somedays I am not a loving wife, this is why early in my blog writing I maintained that Tony seemed to love me more than I loved him. While I know that this is not true, I do know that Tony expresses his love more readily than I show to him. I want to change that. By eliminating my negativity, freely providing support and ultimately praying for him to be the head of the household, as I believe God intends for our family, we will change our family.

And that was my Making Things Happen experience.

And then I ate a Ruby Tuesday Turkey Burger.

ps:: You guys will see a lot more of this to come. At least you better.76068_460100999343_236493009343_5294713_979267_n

 

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