Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten

Oh my gracious, people. It was THAT day. The one where you wake up feeling like "today is the first day of the rest of your life," when you look at your 5 year old sleeping soundly in his little bed. Empty Nest, Phase 1. The first day of kindergarten.

Ethan's been in preschool since before he was 3 years old. So in some ways, this should have just been another in a series of his "first days of school" days. But it just felt different. Maybe its because I spent Sunday night getting myself all verklempt over folder after folder of baby pictures on my computer.

squishy toddler cheeeeeeeks!!! Going to kindergarten?!

cranky baby face!!!!! In kindergarten??!!!

little velour track suit baby!!!! In kindergarten???!!!

Yes, yes, & yes, my friends. And of course, no standard first-day-of-kindergarten photo shoot for Ethan; he went for a full-on dance-off and Vogue-ing spree on the front walk way...

Kindergarten Kool

"Who's got two thumbs and is going to kindergarten today?!"

Oh my. And then we drove to school. A 20 minute drive we only have to make a few more times because WE MOVE ON FRIDAY!! EEEEEP!!!

Last year's classes made these bird houses that live outside the schools' main doors. I've never actually seen birds in them, which I suppose makes sense given the hordes of screaming elementary students that run by them eleventy billion times a day. But still. Pretty birdy houses.

Yay!!! I'm embarrassing my kid with kisses!! And so it begins!

When we got into the class room, the teacher had set up a scavenger hunt for all the kids and parents to familiarize them with the different areas of the class room.

We stamped our names at the letter stamp station.

Then we had to go explore the community garden & make an observation about the sunflowers to share in the science nook of the class room.

Ethan's observation about the sunflowers: "They have blue in the middle of them!" which is true if you look really closely. My observations: "These sunflowers are crushed to the ground, dying a slow death. Excellent gardening. I could totally be the class mom gardener if this their benchmark of a successful garden."

Before I left for the next three hours, we also decorated a frame to hold his official "first day of school" picture; cut out, decorated & hung up his birthday cupcake for the calendar & read a story together (about Splat the Cat's first day of school) in the book nook. He whipped himself up into a teary frenzy when it was time for me to leave, complete with having to be gently, but forcibly pried from me while screaming, "Mommmmmmy!!!!" and crying. Fear not. I stood outside the class room for 30 seconds and surely enough the crying ceased the second I was out of sight and never started again. In face, at the end of one minute's time, Ethan and a new friend were running out to the play ground with the rest of the class mates, giggling and shooting at imaginary bad guys with their fingers. The Academy Award winning performances never stop, people.

After school there were cups of melting ice cream to be enjoyed. On the ride home, I asked Ethan what he did in school today & was given his typical cagey "lots of things," response, which is followed by refusal upon refusal to elaborate. Which makes the helicopterer in me twitchy, but the rational part of me thinks, "good for him! He owns it as his and he doens't have to tell me every last thing about his day." This year is going to be all about not neeeeeeeding to know what my special snowflake is doing every minute of every day. :: deep breaths ::

For dinner, Ethan said he wanted to go to "that sushi place we go to," for his special first-day-of-kindergarten dinner. I didn't even know what sushi was when I was 5. Way to be fancy, little man!!

Give the boy some miso soup w/ tofu & sticky rice, and an avocado roll and he's in heaven.

Happy first day of kindergarten, sweet little man. You're such a big boy, but you'll always be my baby. I love you so much more than you'll ever know, Mommy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Week...

Oh, glorious fun happy days. Positive attitude!!! Happy thoughts!!! What a wonderfully fun time we're having!!! Only a few more days until kindergarten starts and this presssshhhhhhus time together is over!!!!

Would you like that version? Or the version in which my child has alternated between reaching up to me for hugs and kisses, telling me "I love you so much, Mommy," to screeching, "It's not fair!!! You NEVER let me do anything fun!!!!!!" to giggling merrily with his friends one minute only to be whining and shoving them the next? (Note: this would be the version the one bearing an exact resemblance to the truth). While I'm obviously dealing with the random bouts of Crazychilditis he seems to be displaying (which I get is likely exacerbated bc of the move and the starting kindergarten & the sense that his entire world is changing in the course of two or three week's time), I'm trying really hard to focus on the Super! Happy! Fun! times.

And what can be more super and fun and happy than discovering that your child has inherited the genes that leap-frogged right over your generation, from your mother to your child, and lo & behold--he LOVES cleaning. Not cleaning up his toys, mind you, or any other mess that undeniably belongs to him. No, the mere suggestion that perhaps he might think about cleaning up a toy or two elicits all kinds of excuses and pathetic flailing, and ends in threats of toys being thrown away if they aren't picked up & wails of "that's so not faaaaaiiiiiirrr!!"

But this weekend, as I was washing the sliding glass doors on our back porch, Ethan was magically transformed into some sort of pint-sized Merry Maid and he simply HAD to help me. Help? Cleaning the house? And washing windows to boot? OKAY!

After we finished the sliding glass doors (I did the top part he couldn't reach & he did the bottom part), he asked if I had any more windows he could wash. Sweet fancy Moses, do I ever!!!

I know you can't really see his face, what with the solar glare coming off of that spanking clean window!!!! That I didn't have to wash!!! Score!!!

When he finished the windows (in my defense, I only let him do a few that were easily reached--its not like I sent him up on the ladder to get the tricky ones), he asked if there was anything else he could clean. Um. Why yes, yes there is, little man. I directed him to his bathroom and showed him how to spray the cleaner in the tub/shower(it's green--as in non-toxic, not the color) and wipe it all down with the sponge. I'd post pictures of that, too, but he decided to strip down to his underwear for that particular chore. And I'll definitely end up going over that tub again before we vacate the property, since he repeatedly cleaned the same 10 tiles of the tub over and over again. But still--those 10 tiles shine like the top of the Chrysler building!

Then on Monday, we went to the Oakland zoo with friends. We saw this guy there:

I have never watched a giraffe get down on all four knees before--holy cats, is that hilarious! They are the gangliest, most awkward creatures ever. It was like watching that clip of the super model walking down the catwalk in those ridiculous platforms and face planting right into the crowd. Made me almost happy to be short and stalky. They are so graceful as they glide around, reaching up to pull leaves off the trees. Then one tries to take a load off and suddenly they are the goofiest creatures on earth.

We also saw these guys...

I know it's hard to see, but that is two meerkats, sleeping and snuggling. Oh my word, how cute is that???!!! And I looked closely, I promise they are sleeping, not having crazy wild meerkat sex.

Speaking of sleeping, we came home to this...

Lazy, good for nothing cats didn't manage to clean OR pack a thing while we were gone. Echo was not at all pleased when I woke him up from his nap by snapping this picture. I'd feel badly, but A.) I'm assuming he slept the entire time we were gone and B.) how hilarious is that?! This is his regular "damn, it's hot!!!" sleeping pose. I take a picture of him every time I see him like this because it never fails to make me laugh. Yes, I realize I am one husband and child away from being a crazy cat hoarder lady. I know.

Speaking of the packing....

Crash is apparently supervising. I find him every day on some box or another, as close to the ceiling as he can get, testing out the sturdiness of each box's packing job. So far he's not fallen into any of them, so well done, tape!

This one might need a bit more padding on top...

Holy crap, that's a lot of boxes, Mom!!!! Please note the farmer's tan and the Build-a-Bear shirt that Ethan did not believe would be too small for him until he tried to put it on himself. Also note the boxes. They are in every room of the house, stacked high & deep. Ahhh, isn't moving grand?

In the evenings, to get away from the piles of packed boxes, and the stacks of empty boxes and the packing paper and the bubble wrap, we go to the park. Where we ride bikes, climb on giant pillars and insist on being pushed in the baby swings....

hey buddy, I know a giraffe you might be related to...

And the Strider bike that we got Ethan to prepare him for balancing on his big boy bike without training wheels. The drawback? He loves this thing so much, he refuses to try to ride his big boy bike at all. I fear he will completely lose the ability to pedal. Sigh.

Tomorrow, after we pick up more boxes from some friends, we are taking a day off of the packing and cleaning routine and heading to the beach. We've had a veritable heatwave here (it's been 90 degrees the past two days after almost an entire summer that hasn't gotten above 85), so we'll be driving towards a foggy marine layer of chilly goodness in the morning. Can't wait.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


So I just wrote a whole post about how Ethan's kindergarten doesn't start for a whole week after every other school in the area starts and what are we going to do for another whole week with each other while there's no one else to play with, I'm trying to pack a house and prepare for a move, and Husband's working late because its a crazy time at his work, and Ethan is so bored with me that all he does is whine and I'm running so low on patience that all I do is count to 10 and do the quiet, slow yell ("Ethan. Stop. Whining. Now. Now. Now!") and zOMG, next week is going to SUUUUUUUCK!!!!!

And then I read it back over and hated myself a little bit. I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little jealous of those moms who are going to get four hours to themselves tomorrow--even if all they're going to do with those four hours is watch or listen to something that isn't PBSkids (if I hear "Here we go! go! go! go! on an adventure! The Thingamajigger is up and away!!!" one. more. time.) while they clean the house and sort laundry, or if they are going to go to a business meeting without having to juggle childcare, or grocery shopping in peace. I'm a little jealous.

But still. These are the days, right? Some day when my surly teenager is rolling his eyes at me, I'm going to think back wistfully to the days that my little boy wanted nothing more than to spend his time with me (well, when he's not busy wanting playdates or snacks or toys). I will think fondly of the times we rubbed colored chalk on salt and made "sand art" and the times I wedged myself into the big green tubes on the play structure at the park so that we could pretend I was in the space ship, too, on my way to Mars with Ethan.

So next week is going to be a challenge. Boxes need to be packed, the house needs to be cleaned, and the child needs to be entertained, and those things don't always mix (although this weekend Ethan did a bang up job of washing windows and then insisted impatiently that he be able to scrub his own bathtub, getting testy when I asked him to please be patient and wait until I was done cleaning Mommy & Daddy's bathroom. Seriously.) In all honesty, it would be easier if I was dropping Ethan off at school for four hours so I could come home, listen to NPR and get into the packing zone, completely uninterrupted. But. I can't. And that's okay. I did buy a big bag of styrofoam packing popcorn last week (sorry ozone hole), so maybe tomorrow we'll find some way to make a craft out of them before I throw them into the boxes with the fragile stuff. Maybe I'll let him wash the kitchen floor (no, really, he wants to. He asks all the time) while I pack the china in the dining room.

Who knows? I'm all zen-ish about it right now, but I'm sure this week will have me pulling my hair out, and doing the slow quiet yell at Ethan after the 500th time he barges into the bathroom while I'm trying to pee. I'm sure I'll be looking at this school's paper work, quadruple checking that I have the dates right and he really isn't supposed to be there until next Monday.

But I'm also going to try to take a lot of deep breaths and think about 10 years from now when this bubbly, silly, giddy, attention-demanding boy could be a teenager who just wants to be alone in his room with his headphones or out with his friends, and count my blessings that for right now, at least for one more week before the barrage of new school, friends, and experiences sets in, he's all mine, and happy about it.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

When Yard Salers Attack...

So it's taken me a week to get to this post because OMG, people, yardsalers are batshit crazy!! From the trench coat clad guy who showed up to my yard an HOUR before my sale started, looking for "electronics and whatnot," to the couple who ripped me off in my own driveway, to the guy who came back throughout the day over & over again just to peruse my wares (as if I would be revolving merchandise, I guess? At a yard sale?), I am still recovering from the hours of dealing with weirdos, fearing for my own safety and mercilessly stomping all over my own dignity by selling my used things to strangers.

Let's start at the crack of dawn, shall we? I have my iPhone alarm set to chime happy church bells because the last time I changed the tone, I was setting my alarm to wake up for the spectacle of Will & Kate's Royal Wedding (not to mention the coke-head cousin's poorly reconstructed nose, and sister Pippa's backside in that dress. Damn!). It was a glorious occasion. This time? Slightly less auspicious. The bells started chiming at 5am, but the only thing "royal" about this day was going to be the degree to which it was a pain in the ass.

While the rest of the house slept, I headed to Starbucks; had to drive a full 2 miles from my front door to find one open at that ungodly hour (there are at least 4--FOUR--closer to me, but none open at 5am. Believe me, I realize how ridiculous that is). The problem with eating a muffin at 5am? You're hungry again by 7am. This is how "second breakfast" comes to be. Second breakfast is a very bad idea, because even though you barely remember it, you did just consume something like 400 calories while only partly-conscious a few hours earlier.

Two hours later, by 7:30 (I had advertised the sale as starting at 8am), I had a yard full of people while I was still pulling crap out of my garage. One of my first sales of the day?

::sob:: Ethan's little red wagon of hope. ::sob::

It pulls at my heart strings to have let it go, but truth be told, we haven't pulled Ethan anywhere in that thing in over 2 years. It was a pain in the ass to lug back and forth to the farmer's market when we lived in Studio City, but we did it because it was a radio flyer little red wagon, damn it, and that's what you do!!!! Kid on one side, a veritable cornucopia of fresh produce on the other? It was practically mandatory in our neighborhood in LA.

But here the farmer's market isn't close enough to walk to and the handle is just low enough that you can't quite stand up straight to pull it, so by the time you get anywhere, you're on the phone with your chiropractor seeing if he can fit you in later that afternoon. More than a little red wagon of hope, it was a little red wagon of spinal misalignment. So, yes, sir, I will take your $15 cash money for my 3 year old red wagon. Sigh.

And then there was the couple who ripped me off. We'll call them the Thievy-McStealersons. They, and their grown-up son, sauntered onto my property about mid-way through the sale. The woman picked up one of my barely used Baby Bjorns that I had marked as $20 and said, "$2? I give you $2?" Um. No. No you don't give me $2. You give me $20. I said, "well, I could go $15 on it, but no less than that; it's barely used." She chucked it back down. Okay. That's fine. Not a problem. A few minutes later she held up a pair of never-worn shoes that were priced $4. Again "$2? I give you $2?" "No," I said, "those are $4." And so forth...

Several times they asked me about a duvet cover. Still in its packaging. From Crate & Barrel. A queen sized duvet cover that we were never able to use. Queen sized duvet covers from Crate & Barrel run somewhere in the neighborhood of $80-$100. I had ours marked at $15. FIFTEEN!!! A steal! And of course, the lady first offered me....$2. I felt like I was in a damn John Cusack movie.

I stood firm on the measly $15 price tag, but they kept coming back with offers. They offered me $5. I said, $12. And so forth, until we got to the point where, against my better judgment, we settled on $8. EIGHT! Ugh, I cringe just thinking of it, but one piece of advice I got prior to the sale was, "your goal is not to get rich; it's to get rid of the stuff you can't use--if you price something at $10 and someone offers you $5, just take it. At least its gone at the end of the day." So fine. I agreed on $8 for my $80 unused duvet cover.

We exchanged our wares--I gave them to duvet cover & they gave me the cash. Except.

They only gave me $6. Which I didn't notice until the duvet cover was in the tight clutches of Mrs. Thievy-McStealerson. I politely said, "oh, sir, this is only $6, we agreed on 8," to which he replied with a smile and a nod, "Yes, I know; you help me out. $6 is enough," and started to walk back to his car with his wife (who was probably pissed that she had to pay more than $2) and their son. I tried to call him back, to let him know that, um, NO. $6 was not enough, but when I said, "No, actually; you still owe me money," he just waved and said, "no, you're fine," and got into his car with the rest of the Thievy-McStealersons and drove off.

Now, let me clarify here that the last thing I care about is the money. I mean, the most I stood to make out of that deal, even by my own pricing system, was $15, hardly an amount that warrants making a scene over. And $8? $6? Its pretty much all the same, and it doesn't matter. Like I said before, the goal of the yard sale was to get rid of stuff, not rake in a fortune. And technically, I did get rid of the item and got $6 I didn't have before out of the deal. And none of this is the end of the world, but OMG, really?! You stand in someone's driveway, talk them down to like 90% off the retail price of something and then intentionally short them in the deal?!!! Who does that?! My head still spins.

And then there was the lurker. The guy who came back about four times from 7:30 until about an hour after the end of the sale, when Husband and I had hauled 2 old bookshelves out to the curb with the signs "free" written on them. He had previously bought an old Calphalon sauce pan and cover, a pair of shoes and a Parents brand cat-shaped piano toy on his other once-arounds my property, so by the time he walked up to the bookshelves and hoisted one onto each shoulder, I felt like I should be inviting him & his wife in to dinner. He was pleasant enough that I didn't quite feel a freaked-out sense of stranger danger, and he did buy things, so at least he didn't give off a creepy just-hanging-out-in-your-yard-until-you-go-out-so-I-can-break-in-and-steal-everything-you-own vibe. And his steadfast lurkiness DID garner him a sweet set of bookshelves that would have cost him $20 during the actual yard sale. So good for him. But still. That is some seriously committed, hard-core yard sale-ing for you.

But you know who I didn't feel like should invite into dinner? The Thievy-McStealersons. Funnily enough (as in not really funny at all), they showed up in our front yard at around 5pm. Three hours after we had closed up shop, hauled a carload of unsold things to Goodwill, I had showered, resigned myself to spend the rest of the day in a pair of Husband's boxers and an old t-shirt, glued to the TV in my room watching a fracking Lifetime movie called The Pregnancy Pact, the Thievy-McStealersons pulled up to our house, and began demanding their $6 back.

The problem? They had apparently been unaware that they were purchasing a duvet cover. They were under the impression that they were in fact procuring a set of sheets. Fortunately, Husband was outside playing with Ethan when the disgruntled karma-challenged trio made their grand return. Husband, who had not been present for the delight that was my initial encounter with these people, ran interference and explained that neither I nor the money was available for a chat at that time. Please note that "DUVET COVER" was written front and center on the packaging AND I specifically remember saying, "this duvet cover is brand new, never used, in its original packaging." Last I checked, "duvet cover" and "set of sheets" barely even share any of the same letters, nevermind sound anything alike. And at no time did anyone in the offended party query, "Duvet cover, you say? Exactly how does a duvet cover differ from, say, a set of sheets?" So given everything, my sympathy for their misguided purchase was nil.

Mrs. Thievy-McStealerson apparently tried to walk past Husband to come into the house. (REALLY???!!) And at that point Husband told Ethan to come inside because OMG, who knows how crazy these people are going to get over a duvet cover that cost them $6? Fortunately they left after Husband told them they really had to go, he was sorry, but there was nothing he could do to help them.

And I'll tell you, if ANYONE else I'd encountered that day had come back later saying that they'd purchased erroneously in any way, shape or form, I'd probably have given them their money back. If Little-Red-Wagon-of-Hope guy had gotten home and his kid hated the wagon ::sob::, I would have taken it, and given him his $15 back. If the Lurky-loo thought he was buying a 6-quart sauce pan, but it ended up being an 8-quart sauce pan and he already had one of those at home? I'd have given him his $5 and taken the 8-quart sauce pan to Goodwill in the morning. But there was something about these people and their audacity to rip me off & then return hours later demanding a refund. And I'm not a habitual yard sale goer myself, but do people REALLY think that I have a return policy??!!! Do people usually think they can return something they bought at a yard sale?! Does that happen?

Seriously. Never again. I far prefer the warm-fuzzies I get when I drop a bag-load of toys off at Goodwill to the alarm-going-off-at-5am-so-people-can-rummage-through-my-shit feeling I had last weekend. I'm grateful for the money we made; its going to help with the move & some of it will be going into my 3-Day Walk for the Cure fundraising, so in the end it was all worth it. But really. Never. Again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Many Faces of E...

Given his penchant for the singing and the dancing, Husband and I decided to enroll Ethan in a week-long summer camp called Broadway Babies. A friend of his participated in a session earlier this summer & we went to watch his week's performance of Snow White, complete with its SEVEN Snow White starring roles (talk about divas!) In this camp, each kid gets to pick their own role, even if someone else has already chosen it, too (hence the glut of princesses). It was adorable and pressssshhhhhus and all that stuff & I didn't even know 99.9% of the kids in the production. So imagine my absolute glee when after the final curtain call Ethan announced that he wanted to participate in the camp the next time it was offered (and really? 25 preschooler/kindergarteners trying to get it together to bow at the same time? Herding cats. Adorable, giggling, crown-falling-off-their-heads cats).

So this week, we have been popping over to the camp, a mere three minute drive from the house (pure bliss considering the 20-minute commute we've had for the past 2 years), pinning on a little felt name tag and running to the carpet to sing scales with the rest of his troupe. On pick up of the first day, I caught a glimpse of him through the class room window, front and center of the chorus line, practicing his Rockette kicks and pulling a top hat on and off his head. Also? There were jazz hands. JAZZ HANDS, people!!! I defy you to find something cuter than jazz hands on a 5 year old boy wearing a Beatles shirt and a top hat.

The play this session is The Emperor's New Clothes. The Emperor? You get three guesses. But I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you probably only need one guess. Yup. My kid. Well, you may have also guessed, "Some other kid named Morgan?" and you'd be right with that guess, too, but this blog isn't about her. Only two kids opted for the title role (as opposed to the robust crop of Snow Whites in the previous session. I suppose a naked ruler is probably somewhat less appealing to a bunch of kids than a princess), and mine was one of them.

Ethan is somewhat secretive about his role, although he has revealed that he will be wearing some sort of paper underwear costume--assuring me that he will not actually be "naked in real life, because that's inappropriate in front of a bunch of people I don't know," (someone should perhaps put this tidbit of wisdom on a post-it and affix it to former Representative Anthony Weiner's smart phone--a helpful bit of advice from a five year old).

Husband and I were not the slightest bit surprised by Ethan's announcement that he was "starring" in the play; he was, after all, the angry troll in his pre-K class's re-enactment of Three Billy Goat's Gruff. He looked something like this for that role:

apparently, today's stylish angry troll goes in for a pillow shoved up his shirt, a piece of red felt pinned to his front and a face that resembles a cross between a pirate and someone who has just lost a contact. Noted.

and let's face it, he's been dishing out the drahhhhmaahhh for years now. His ability to produce big fat tears over the slightest sensed injustice or dropping everything to whip out his guitar to perform a Beatles song, or zipping from room to room, imagining himself being chased by crowds of screaming fans, announcing that he is in fact in the midst of the filming of Hard Day's Night and that its important we don't disturb him. So the acting bug has bitten him hard on stage, and off.

Here are a few of the other "recent faces of E" for your viewing pleasure...

All you need is love...and a pair of guitar glasses, duh.

stylin' cowboy

on "stage"

reacquainting himself with a years-old winter June. In his jammies.

pirate snack time at preschool...

Even cowboys with daddy's sunglasses and a toy walkie-talkie have to stop for an apple juice break sometimes.


A silly face dance-off contest with cousin Sofia. Hard to tell they're related, huh?

Breaking it down Best-Buy style...

Underwear-head. We're so proud.

Needless to say, I am waiting with baited breath for tomorrow's production. Clearly out space on the video camera as I type.

Friday, August 05, 2011

I've Been Avoiding You...

It's not you; it's me. I suck. And, per usual, I've been all angsty about blogging--why I blog, is it fair to still be blogging about my kid as he gets older (I can see the reams of paper scattering his future therapist's floor as he shares entry upon entry from my blog as evidence of how I screwed him up forever), is blogging keeping me from doing things like thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life (how much longer can I look people in the eye when they ask me what I do with my life & I say, "I'm a stay at home mom. And I blog. Aaaaaaand that's about it,") ?

And then there's the sheer amount of time being taken up trying to organize for a yard sale (I will need a bigger yard for all the crap I plan on getting rid of) & a 3-bedroom-house move within the same month. My house is overrun with boxes, piles of random shit stuff, boxes, beds flipped up and pushed against the wall to make room for more shit boxes. The cats each have developed visible twitches & one has taken to pooping right outside the litter box in protest of the approaching upheaval of their daily schedule (because you know, it's going to be hard for them to adjust to eating, sleeping and pooping in another house. Poor kitties).

We're having a yard sale next weekend & moving over Labor Day Weekend. Fortunately our landlords have decided NOT to put the house on the market before we move out. I'd like to think it is out of the kindness of their hearts and their desire to make this process as stress-free for us as possible. But I think perhaps it's got more to do with the fact that their realtor took a look at the inside of the house (read: recognized my complete inability to keep a house from looking like an all-out disaster zone) and strongly advised against bringing potential buyers in while I am in any way responsible for the state of the house. Fair enough. Either way, it means I get to pack (and by "pack" I mean throw things all over the house until they happen to land in any one of 10 boxes I have lying open at any given time) in relative peace.

And then there's the training for my 3-Day Walk next month. My teammates went up to the city this week and walked 22.5 miles in one day! I couldn't join them, but it really hits home how close the walk is getting!! And I love everything about the walking except the vast amount of time it takes up. Walking more than 6-7 miles a day ends up eating a huge chunk of time up, at a time when I don't have a huge chunk of time to eat up with it. But that's okay; my reminder to myself when the alarm goes off at 5am, or when I'm walking in the heat, or huffing up a hill, of thinking of the blog posts I haven't written because I've been walking, or the boxes that have yet to be packed and the yard sale items that still need price tags, is that even the crappiest aspect of this training and the 3-Day is SO much easier than having breast cancer. Really, EVERYTHING in my life is easier than having breast cancer. My life is such a blessing, even in the chaos of the move and the training and the "what do I want to be when I grow up" angst.

And then there's the pictures. About a year ago, I started a photography blog (that really went nowhere--I think the link might still be on the sidebar of this blog). While the site went nowhere and was eventually abandoned (have I mentioned I'm pretty sure I have ADD?), it clicked something on in me & then I found Instagram on iPhone & all the funky filters available through various apps & another app that allowed those pictures to be printed out true to the filters and in a 4x4 format. A couple women from my walking team suggested that I print out some pictures, mount them onto cards & sell them at our big concert benefit (have I mentioned that this team of 8-9 women has raised $35k for our walk???!!!). So I spent hours in the backyard with an aerosol can of spray adhesive (sorry, Mr. Ozone and braincells), 5x6 cardstock cards, 100 of my photographs and voila! Photo cards made to sell at our benefit concert.

And people bought them! Not all of them, but a lot of them. I wasn't able to attend the concert, so I"m not 100% sure that at the end of the day my teammates didn't look at the massive pile of cards and say, "well, shit; let's all just buy 10 so she doesn't ever find out no one even looked at them," but they swear there were no pity purchases. So that means people bought pictures I took. And that kind of blows my mind.

So after I get the yard sale put to bed, and the move is over, I'm considering opening up an Etsy shop to continue selling my pictures. EEEEEEEEEEP! Did I really just say that?! I've battled internally a lot with the idea that the pictures are iPhone pictures & I just press a bunch of buttons to make them look a certain way--that can't really be art, can it? I can't really call myself an artist, can I? That's insulting to people who actually take "real" pictures with fancy cameras, isn't it? Is it? I don't know. My concept of myself as an artist has always been the biggest struggle for me. It is the area where my inner critic is loudest---she will let me eat that 4th cookie without berating me for the size of my waist, and she'll let me go to the bookstore instead of doing the dishes without giving me a hard time about being a lousy housekeeper. But when I dare to say aloud, "I"m an artist," she kicks into overdrive with the "I can't believe you just said that!!! You are so NOT an artist! Take that back right now or people are going to laugh at you!" Oh yeah, she & I have a really great time together.

But I'm working on making her shut her big fat yap, and I'm going to open that shop regardless of what she says. It helps that up to this point, (and through a certain amount of time once the shop is open) ALL proceeds will go to Susan G Komen for the Cure for breast cancer. Its hard for anyone's inner critic to bitch about doing good deeds, so hopefully that will shut her up long enough for me to start really believing myself when I say, "I'm an artist." (seriously, people, I cringe when I type that; the inner critic is a tricky one.)

So how about a few pictures of the kiddo? He's in a Sand, Dirt & Water camp this week. He's come home with shaving cream art, a sand & wax candle, built ice sculptures, made volcanoes and created his own fossils. He also comes home every day face painted like a vampire. He's discovered the world of "squinkies" and "go go"s, which are akin to the Silly Bandz in terms of the "why didn't I think of that?!! I'd be a freaking billionaire by now!" factor (and the "WTF?!" factor, as well, if we're being honest). Next week he's in another camp called "Broadway Babies," where he can put some of his mad melodrama skillz to good use. We spent a few days with family on the east coast and another few days at the beach with good friends--all in all it's been a pretty fantastic summer so far.

In the Virgin American terminal at SFO, waiting for our flight east.

couch surfing with his wife.

Ethan took a break from our house hunt in early July to watch a colony of ants on the front entry way of a potential house.

And he has developed a penchant for drinking his cold apple juice out of a tall Starbucks hot cup. Because of course he has.