Saturday, January 31, 2015

Submarine Repairs

Jan 31

The first month of this Project 365 is complete!  The slideshow below includes all of the daily photos from January 2015.

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Ballet Brothers

When Sophie is in her dance class, Michael plays with a group of boys we moms have declared the Ballet Brothers.  It started with Michael bringing his Detroit Tiger's backpack full of Matchbox cars to the first class and has developed into a group of buddies sprawled around with dinosaurs and diggers.   Michael and one little boy trade cars every week and usually remember to bring them back.  It's been a cool little way for Michael to exercise responsibility and patience.  He hasn't forgotten a car yet but has been very understanding when his pal misses a week or two.  Tonight I let them take some pictures with my phone, and they let me take this one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Auto Show

We went to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit for the first time as a family.  Mike goes every year for work, but we thought this would be the year our car loving little boy would really get a kick out of going.  He was definitely into it, as was Sophie.  They raced remote control cars, sat in a few new models, and enjoyed their daddy's explanations of various displays that relate to his work.  Sophie really wanted to see an auto show, as in a performance of some kind, so we sat at a few demonstration areas along the way.

Twelve years to prepare for this as a reality does not seem like quite enough.

"If I had a million dollars..." I'd buy you a purple Bentley to match your coat.

As an extension to the Auto Show adventure, we took the People Mover to Greek Town for some saganaki.  We've been getting "Opa cheese" often at a restaurant near home, so it seemed like a good time to introduce Michael and Sophie to that area and grab some lunch.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Most Friday nights we go out to dinner after Sophie's ballet lesson.  Games of eye spy and tic-tac-toe are our go-to saviors when patience gets low in restaurants.  Michael and Sophie are starting to think ahead a bit with their X's and O's and occasionally win legitimately--another sign that we probably eat out too much.

UPDATE:  Notice the little dinosaur in the foreground.  He was forgotten when we left the restaurant.  I calmed my heartbroken Michael with the story of leaving my Cabbage Patch doll in a McDonald's bathroom on a drive from Michigan to Pennsylvania when I was a kid.

"I set Quincy Thelma on the toilet paper holder in the bathroom stall.  Then as we were driving again on our vacation, I remembered I left her--"

"On the toilet paper!"  Michael and Sophie now love to add after requesting this story repeatedly over the last two days.

"On the toilet paper.  When we finally made it back to that restaurant many days later on our way back home, I asked the lady at the counter if she had seen my doll, and she said, 'This one?' holding up Quincy Thelma.  The only thing different about her was--"

"She smelled like french fries!"

"She smelled like french fries."

When Mike presented Michael with his little dinosaur again today, he immediately held him up to his nose and said, "He smells like french fries!"  He smelled more like tortilla chips to me, but I was touched that my story resonated with him.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Jan 22-2
Michael requested my mom bring up the big Lego blocks from the basement the other day.  He and Sophie spent much of that day building with the blocks, mostly aircraft.  A plane is pictured on the box, so we've been making those for years.  That's what they were doing when I got home from work, and they continued airplane construction and flight right up until dinner. With their own first flight coming up, it's no wonder that these planes seemed to be on an endless loop to Disney World and back.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hide and Seek


Counting is fun.

Hiding is fun.

Being found for the fifteenth time under the blanket or behind the couch is a dang riot!


Monday, January 19, 2015


Jan 19
I attempted to get some photos of the kids wrestling around with Mike this evening.  Then I spotted a much steadier target lounging on a shoebox.  Kitty tolerated me and even came to snuggle on my lap during story time.  I think he enjoyed the rare attention in a house where larger, louder beings tend to steal the bulk of it.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Winter's Nap

Jan 18-2

At just a few months shy of turning five, Michael and Sophie are still afternoon nappers.  Since we are all up by 6 AM all week long, it's really no wonder.  

Their napping has always given me a little relief in the mommy guilt department, knowing that for two to three of the hours that I am away at work, they are away in dreamland.  Then on the weekends and vacation days, I also get a little relief in the mommy sanity department.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Watching Swimmers

Jan 16

We seem to always be either 15 minutes early or 5 minutes late to ballet.  Today was an early one, so we killed a little time watching swimmers nearby.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015


At bedtime the kids informed me that they were going to do some yoga, and they surprised me by actually doing some.  They learned it in Pre-K today.

PicMonkey Collage

Monday, January 12, 2015


I stayed at work to get caught up on some grading and to make some phone calls home.  I left an hour later than normal.

The roads on the way to pick up the kids were pleasantly not as congested as they often are when I leave late.  I made good time getting to them.

However, there was an accident on the highway on the last stretch of our drive, so the kids and I spent some quality time in the ol' minivan.  I didn't mind it.  We have good talks there.


I assure you that this picture was taken when we were at a complete stop.  Although I don't feel anyone's life was in danger, I did sense that I was crossing a line by taking this from the driver's seat. I took this super fast, put my phone away, and hoped to get something more than this snapshot at home.  I didn't.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Snow Time

Jan 11-4
The kids went outside with Mike today to help him shovel the driveway.  I stayed inside to work.  As you can see, we were all very committed to our tasks.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cleaning Day

Mike and I spent this Saturday morning, like so many Saturday mornings, cleaning our house.  The sheets were off the beds, and when the kids got a little too quiet for our comfort, I checked in on them in Sophie's room.  I found them sitting in a nest of blankets and sheets, Michael "reading" the book "Chrysanthemum" to Sophie.

When I told Mike about it, he said, "Well, that doesn't sound cute at all."

"Not at all," I said, getting my camera.

Perhaps for our next bunch of family portraits, instead of getting everyone in coordinating outfits and setting up the tripod in the backyard, we'll pile into an unmade bed in our pajamas.

PicMonkey Collage

Friday, January 9, 2015

Ballet Night


Sophie wore the purple leotard and tutu she got for Christmas from her lavender loving Grammie to ballet this week.  On the way out the door with her leggings, boots, and coat on and her tutu popping out, she said, "I look like Lulu!"  She meant Lulu from the Ladybug Girl books who wears a red tutu everywhere (along with ladybug wings, antennae, and polka-dot boots, of course).  Sophie was right, she did look like her, like my own little purple Lulu.

The room where Sophie's lessons take place doesn't have a window for parents to watch through, and we can only catch glimpses occasionally when the door is open.  Sophie was one of the first girls in the studio, and when she sat on the floor to do her stretches with no other ballerinas in view, I seized the rare opportunity for a photo.  While I would like to take most of the photos for this Project 365 with my DSLR, I'm cool with relying on my iPhone now and then.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hungry Dragon

For most of the morning the kids and I put together a Crazy Forts castle and played "Hungry Dragon,"  meaning I pretended to be a hungry dragon who stomps around looking for lizards with poisonous spikes and venomous teeth to eat for dinner.  The castle changed back and forth from a safe place where the lizards could hide to a cage that those sneaky lizards easily escaped from, making the hungry dragon stop growling, "I'm going to eat some lizards for dinner," and start squeaking, "Hey, what the heck?"  Lizards love that.

The dragon also snapped pictures for the first half of the game.

Jan 8-7

PicMonkey Collage

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cold Day

We have had four winters now during which I have crossed my fingers for as many snow days as possible so I can hang with my love bugs at home.  I haven't really shared the details of this phenomenon with Michael and Sophie before now as I don't want to suggest a negative view of child care, school, or work.  They just know that sometimes they get a surprise mama day, a whole day with me at home, when it's super cold or snowy

Over the last year or so, though, these two (Michael especially) have made it very clear that getting up and dressed in the morning stinks.  Thankfully they only have to do so three days a week, are happy campers by the time they are eating breakfast, and agree that school and friends and having lots of different kinds of days is fun once they get through that early hard part.

As Michael was grumping about putting on clothes on Wednesday morning, I told him the good news, that the weather report said it was supposed to be super duper cold on Thursday, so cold that my school might close.  He and Sophie were pretty excited about a possible surprise mama day, and it felt like a good time to share that some people think that if you wear your pajamas inside out and backwards and put ice cubes in the toilet at night that schools like mine will close.  

As we were leaving their Pre-K classroom, Michael excitedly recalled the plan.  After bath time, I just barely finished helping the kids into their jammies when I heard my phone buzz with the call.  We still did the ice cubes.  Couldn't skip the ice cubes.

Monday, January 5, 2015

No Excuses

Winter weeknights are certainly going to present limitations for this project 365, but I already value the discipline of breaking out the camera and working with what I have (lighting, equipment, skills), no excuses.  Because regardless of what I don't have (sunlight, Speedlight, training)...

Jan 5

...I do have plenty.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dinner or Bath Time or Dinner

In my first 365 post I mentioned my concern that this project would end up a series of photos of making dinner and giving baths.  Time is pretty limited on "school nights," and mundane, repetitive activities like those take priority over most others.  For the sake of family life, we can make that time the quality kind as time together is time together.  For a 365, it could get pretty dull.

Jan 4-3
And here you have...dinner.  Sophie asked to help me make chicken and dumplings tonight, and I put her to work pulling parsley leaves off the stems, cutting potatoes from the sticks I prepared for her into cubes for the meal, and stirring the dumpling ingredients into a dough. When it came to eating the dinner we prepared, Sophie was pretty pleased with herself and requested seconds of her dumplings.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Don't say peanut butter!

Today was a pretty typical Saturday filled with cleaning, weekly menu planning, and playing with the kids, all while trying to maintain our denial that this break is nearing its end.

At one point the four of us found ourselves on the family room floor playing dinosaurs.  The kind Sophie is holding in the picture below was a source of humor during that play.  The head flips around to another one fiercely baring teeth.  It was the first one I picked up, and with the dopey grin face exposed, he (I) said, "Gee, I sure hope nobody says peanut butter because that word makes me so mad."  Of course two other dinosaurs (Michael and Sophie) simultaneously said, "Peanut butter!" and my dinosaur roared and flipped to his angry face.  Once her giggles subsided, Sophie picked up another dinosaur of that kind who expressed dislike for the word jelly.  Michael's was not a fan of pizza.  You can imagine the chaos when the fourth dinosaur (Mike) said he could really go for a peanut butter and jelly pizza.

Jan 3

Friday, January 2, 2015

Taking Down Christmas

This afternoon the kids and I took down the Christmas tree, and once again Michael and Sophie impressed me with their stick-to-it-ive-ness.  They took ornaments off carefully and placed them in designated containers, passed the lights and garland from one side of the tree to the other, insisted on sweeping up the many, many needles, and did so quite well with no help from me.  Aside from getting caught up in changing the songs on my phone from time to time, they stayed focused and committed to the job until it was done.  Actual chores may be in the near future if they're not careful.

Jan 2-6

Jan 2-5

Jan 2-3

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Project 365

Okay, I'm doing it.  Today I begin a project 365.  Like many folks who embark upon 365's, I hope to improve my photography skills while documenting my life and family with at least one photo a day for a year.

I didn't make this decision until about an hour ago while reading about the link-up at Click it Up a Notch.  In the past I have succumbed to discouraging thoughts about taking on a 365, like how little time and even less daylight I have to work with on most weekdays, that a 365 will end up a series of photos of making dinner or bath time or making dinner or bath time, all with poor lighting.  While these and other negative thoughts shook their heads at me this morning, I looked from the couch, through the kitchen, and out into our entryway and saw this:

Jan 1

This is the vision that inspired me to finally take this on, the first photo I took in 2015.  It's an instance of my life, a moment of my family, framed by my view at the time.  That's the point, I thought.  I went on to take more photographs this morning, most of them technically better than this one in several ways.  But this is the one that started this new journey and is most appropriate to document today.  So here we go!

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