img_2605My stomach has been in knots for weeks. And will remain in knots for at least another week. Until this crazy election is done and gone and we can all take a deep breath. I hope I can take a deep breath.

In the meantime, between panic attacks and sips of Pinot Grigio*, I want to share this article that I posted to Facebook nearly a year ago.

It’s a good reminder.

To be nice to each other.

To look out for each other.

To take care of yourself.

*Pinot Grigio is certainly not the best way to handle shitty days, but it helps. Friendly cows with crazy tongues at darling orchards help too. 

Well, that’s a wrap folks! Summer is officially over. School is about to start. This weekend I finally pulled out the nice camera and played around a bit. I’m rusty, but nice to play with aperture and depth of field again. We went for a hike at Hyland Park and then took our annual trek down to the Guthrie for some family photos. More on that in another post!

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Did you notice that Summer snuck up on us this week? Summer means long days, blue skies, fluffy clouds and lots of time outside. For us it means school is over, spring soccer has wrapped up, summer hockey is on a quick break. It means tennis lessons and rollerblading on the (new) cul-de-sac (pavement)! And long afternoons in Grandma’s pool with new friends.

For daughter it means sleeping in, eating breakfast late and worm hunting with the nanny. For me it means early, early morning walks (IR sucks, but I’m enjoying my walks), late nights reading on the porch, and tending to the herb and vegetables that litter our yard.

Summer in these parts is beautiful. And we Minnesotan’s always say it’s the reason we live here. We’re enjoying it, are you?

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Daughter and I are afraid of wasps. But when a rather large sample of their species found itself stuck between a screen and the window in our bedroom, we just let it be. It had turned cold again and we had no intention of opening the window. We also didn’t want this large, scary beast to be released to the world. So we watched him. He buzzed around. He banged up against the screen.

I could hear him as I took naps (I was recovering from Shoulder surgery, just so you don’t think I’m lazy.) We watched him up close. We look at the shape of his wings, his body and his stinger. (All technical terms, I’m sure.)

And on the fifth day, when he was slow and the temps were low, we opened the window to let him go. I worry that he didn’t survive. I worry that he did survive. But we both felt a little better, a little lighter after we let him go.

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And just like that, today she is seven. Or will be, actually, at 1:55pm this afternoon. She was bummed when she learned she wasn’t technically seven yet. But we let her open her presents this morning anyway.

There are no words for how I feel about this kid. We had no idea what we were getting into that snowy March day back in 2009. But nearly every day since has been full of laughter, smiles and maybe some candy. She is full of love and energy and can whip up a scrumptious smoothie. She’s brave and adventurous, sometimes too much for her Mom to handle. She is compassionate and thoughtful and adores her rescue pup and her oversized goldfish.

So, thanks, kiddo. For being so amazing. And for making my days so much brighter. We love you!

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In two days my daughter will turn seven. SEVEN. S.E.V.E.N! It sounds so old. It’s so far from preschooler or toddler or infant. She’s a solid grade-schooler if that’s even a term.

Just this morning I told a woman, “she’s just six.” Years past I would have said “almost six” or “four in three days.” But for some reason, that I’m too afraid to admit, I’m holding on to six.

Six is fun. It’s a fun word to say, with an x hanging on the end. Not many words use an X, and even fewer (yep, your mind went there, mine did too, but we’re talking about my daughter here), put most of their emphasis on that greatly underused consentant.

Hell, Six is even a fun word to look at. The contrast between the curvy S and the straight-laced, yet unexpectedly fun X? And the little I with it’s little dot. It’s just a fun word.

But seven? I’m not ready for seven. I’m not ready to visit the land of the tween, even if it’s just for quick moments. And I’m not ready to have a second-grader. But really, I’m not ready to say goodbye to six. To say goodbye to the baby that surprised me every day. The baby that asked to be held. The baby that I could bring with me wherever I went. The baby that I carried with me for 10 months.

Which is why, last night at 11:24 when she woke with a nightmare I didn’t even question her request. Of course you can sleep in our bed. Of course I’ll let me cuddle into my side, rest your head in my armpit, lay your hair across my face.

Those moments come far less often than they have in the past. I’m hanging on to every one of them. And for the next two days, I’m embracing six. And every unexpected surprise that comes with it. For 48 hours, I’m holding on to Six.

Every Wednesday we send our sweet pup to daycare. We started sending her shortly after we rescued each other so she could get out of the house and honestly, so we could tire her out. For the first few months it worked. We’d pick her up and she’d immediately head to her bed and stay there all evening. We could make plans for Wednesday night and not panic about a bored, hyper puppy all night. But then she figured it out. She could still rest at daycare and have energy when she came home.

But what?

So now, she naps at daycare in between wrestling matches and smelling butts. She is clearly more tired these evenings than other days, but nothing like when daycare was new and exciting.

If you want to see little pup hanging with her friend, the video feed is here. But if you see her nappy, please flick your screen until she wakes up. Enjoy!

The boot camp class I took wrapped up a couple weeks ago. It was intense and amazing and I miss the community we formed. I wrote (nearly) every day. Sometimes just a few paragraphs, other days multiple pages. I have the beginnings of many essays and stories.

I was so inspired by all the amazing essays that my classmates shared.  These writers threw themselves out there with brutal honesty. And I guess I did too. Feedback was positive. And really very helpful.

The course gave me the confidence to start sending more work out there. Beginning right now. Or, this week, actually. I promise. To you, to myself, to the flying spaghetti monster. Here goes…

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I’m in my second week of an online class through CreativeNonfiction.com. It’s called Boot Camp and I’m loving every minute of it, but am wishing I had more time to give to it. We post 300-ish words daily, and then post 1,000 each Friday. If we do this we get feedback from the instructor. Either way, we also give feedback to each other.

I’m blown away by the quality and honesty of the writing that I’m reading. There is something freeing about the anonymity of an online class that opens up a writer.And I’m getting more confident in throwing my work, and myself out there.And because I’m writing every day, I’m starting to feel like a writer. Know what I mean?

Someday I’ll share that personal writing here. Or at least a link to it. In the meantime I’m grateful for the warm up, the fresh snow and plans to have lunch with a friend today. It’s the little things, really.

Happy Humpday!