Thursday, February 26, 2015


Feb 26

For screen time today Sophie and Michael chose Wii Sports.  We gave this game a shot about a year ago, but the kids' coordination wasn't quite up to "Press A, hold B, swing back then forth, and release." Since then the memory of ever playing the Wii has escaped them.  Today their coordination was up to the bowling challenge.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Open Mic

Feb 24

I came home from work to a bit of an open mic event in my living room.  Michael and Sophie convinced their grandma (probably without much arm twisting) to bring up their box of instruments, and they put on a show. Sophie wowed us with a song that somehow got left off of the Frozen soundtrack called "Go Away."  I may be a tad biased, but I was genuinely impressed with her original melody and reinterpretation of the emotional pull between Elsa and Anna.  Look out, Taylor Swift.

Michael also took the stage with a punk tune, complete with rhythmic hops and fist pumping.  His was about Lightning McQueen and Buzz Lightyear.  Disney has had an effect on their art.

Monday, February 23, 2015

"He's the Cheeky One"

Feb 23
And we had another cold day.  Eventually those teenagers will need some learnin' again, but for the last few school days and a weekend within them I've been at home.  With the kids.  Inside.  Mostly in the living room.  Playing on the floor (as you may have seen in the last few photos).

As long as these days can be, photographing this kind of play is sort of magical.  Looking through the lens, focusing on the toys rather than the kids, I find myself in their imagined world.  Little voices narrate about needing more coal and bridges needing repair, and I watch the events transpire with these child-god hands maneuvering the vulnerable characters through their troubles.  It's no Downton Abbey, but it's entertaining enough.  For a while.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Feb 22

There are a few things I love about this photo.  

The first is the fact that Michael and Sophie have been playing with their trains again.  Thomas and his buddies are a staple in the playroom, but the kids have shown less interest in them for the last year or so than they did when they were two and three years old.  Trains are such a wholesome toy--imaginative, industrious, classic.  I'm glad they're getting attention again.

The second thing that appeals to me is Sophie's gaze out the window.  I believe she was just pushing her overgrown bangs from her eyes, but it looks like she's getting bored with all of this indoor play and longing for spring.  Perhaps I'm projecting a bit?

Finally, I'm pleased with how much better I'm getting at achieving the shot I want in camera.  As I tend to do, I took a few pictures before even thinking of settings.  For yesterday's photo, I had the ISO higher and the shutter speed slower than necessary for this one.  Since there was better light here, I turned down the ISO to reduce the noise and turned up the shutter speed to get sharper focus.   I still have a long way to go until I feel like I'm getting it right more often than not (and I'm certainly not calling this one perfect), but already this project has me adjusting my camera settings consciously and with more confidence than I did in the past.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Floor Puzzles

Feb 21

I don't think Michael and Sophie were even two years old when I bought their first floor puzzle at a mom to mom sale.  It became a favorite activity that came to include a ceremonial puzzle completion dance that must be performed on top of each finished puzzle.  We have since acquired enough floor puzzles to fill a large bin plus half of a shelf in the playroom.  A couple of days ago I challenged the kids to put together all of the puzzles all by themselves and pretended to think there was no way they could do it.

That's the same way I get them to clean up sometimes.  I pretend that there's no way they'll be able to clean up the playroom all by themselves and am going to be super mad when they bring me back to see.  Michael and Sophie give me smirk that shows they're into the game, and once they've finished cleaning, they find me in another room, tell me to close my eyes, lead me by my hand, and I pretend to be amazed by their achievement.  I only use the trick occasionally as it works pretty well, and I don't want the effectiveness to wear off!

Sophie and Michael still haven't put together all of the puzzles at once, but they have assembled and disassembled them all over the last few days of deep freeze hibernation, leading me by the hand to see them one by one.  I have helped a bit here and there, of course.  None of us can resist a good puzzle.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Michael, Sophie, let me introduce you to Mario.

Feb 20
On days when I pick Sophie and Michael up from child care a little later than normal (which, sadly, is more and more these days--ahh, teaching), they often tell me about watching big kids play "Mario Wii."  When numbers go down at the center, classes get combined, and sometimes Pre-K kids spend some time with the school age kids who come in for after school care.  

The kids know we have a Wii.  It's how we watch shows on Netflix.  However, they were pretty excited to learn our Wii is the same as the "Mario Wii" at school.  On this second of two cold days off from work in a row, I broke out the steering wheel and we played some Mario Kart this morning.  At one point I found myself on the couch, a kid on either side cheering me on, and realized I was not showing them how to play, I was just playing.  Sitting on my couch in my pajamas playing Mario.  Eventually I had to share again, but it was a joy to be sucked away into that fun myself for a while.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Disney World 2015

Due to planning, packing for, and going on a family trip to Disney World, my Project 365 went off the rails for a bit there.

To attempt to get back on track, here is one photo from each day of our trip and two videos (just for fun).

2/11/15 - Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Downtown Disney
Disney (141)

2/12/15 - Hollywood and Vine, Hollywood Studios
Disney (153)

2/13/15 - Magic Kingdom Day 1
Disney (170)

2/14/15 - Breakfast at Boma in Animal Kingdom

2/15/15 - Magic Kingdom, Day 2
Disney (218)

2/16/15 - Dinner at Akershus, Epcot
Disney (254)

2/17/15 - Flying Home
Disney (262)

And if you wish to see more...
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Feb 4

A couple of nights ago Mike was out of town. The kids and I were snuggling in my bed reading stories, and as I was reading the last page of the last one, I thought of the photo album on the bottom shelf of my nightstand.  I had been wanting to speak to the kids about my open adoption experience, about the twenty-year-old they don't really know but who is their birth sister, about the baby in that album.  It's not that I wanted Mike to be gone for that initial conversation, but on that snowy night, just the three of us, the time softly presented itself.

My intention over the years was to let the the truth unfold naturally.  I envisioned having conversations after meeting my birth daughter and her adoptive family for breakfast as we did for years, reminding Sophie and Michael who she is, the way we explain uncles and great-grandparents.  

But those breakfast meetings haven't happened in a long time now.  I don't fully understand why, but I have been assured that everyone is okay, that our relationship is sound, that it's just a crazy time.  Sadly this crazy time has coincided with Sophie and Michael reaching an age when their understanding of extended family is blossoming.  I've had to let go of wanting them to know their birth sister, at least for now.  Knowing of her can be enough if it has to be.

So I closed The Snowy Day and brought up the album of baby pictures, of me as a puffy post-partum teenager, of their grandma and grandpa with darker hair and younger faces.  I still said what I always had in tummy...not ready...and pointed out the parents I picked for that little baby.  We talked about how she's a grown-up now, about how I get to be a mommy now and am so super happy about that.  Michael and Sophie reacted in a way that showed me the window of a healthy openness had not closed, that this timing may have been just right.  They asked enthusiastic questions, pointed to funny baby pictures, and let the topic come and go like any other.

They looked at the album again tonight briefly.  Then they played.  Then we got ready for bed, told stories, and on we go.

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