On turning seven. Alternate title: HOLYCRAPYOUARESEVEN

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I remember the day I peed on a stick and shockingly read two lines. I remember the day we found out we were having a girl. I remember the long, difficult struggle of birth and the weeks and months following. The transition to being your mom wasn’t an easy one but those are all memories now.

Toddler LB

I have completely, utterly, hopelessly, passionately fallen in love with you, my daughter, my pixie, my joy, my pride.

You grow every day to be a person I am proud of. You create, you laugh, you rejoice. You show me what living with imagination is. You teach me to ride my bike in the grass because cement isn’t necessary. You invite me in to your imagination of talking horses and pet shops. You warm me with your arms and your impossibly long legs, mygod how did they get so long, wrap around my waist when I lift you for possibly the last time of your life.

Baby Big Sister

10/07/2011

On fifteen minutes Parenting

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Four

“Mamma, will you play with me?” There are three other children at school outside playing under the careful eye of their pre-school teacher. I briefly consider the deadlines, the emails, the phone calls. “Yes, Buddy, I will.” His face lights up and he runs to select a ball from the bin. We play “kick the ball” which could also be called soccer if we were a little more agile.

At first we are tame, kicking softly, rolling the light red ball across the cement in the covered area back and forth from my large feet to his tiny ones. One of us kicks it a bit too hard and the other laughs as the ball bounces off the divider and the wall. We kick with a twirl. We kick with both feet after jumping. We kick until the ball flies over our heads and we giggle. I am there, at the preschool, in the crisp autumn air with my son laughing while the inbox sits and the clock relents.

Finally it is time for me to leave. I hug, I kiss, I smother with so much love I hope he holds on to me forever. I pull away in my car and I see his small familiar face peering out from the fence. He waves, I wave, he blows a kiss and I blow one back. He signs I love you and as I sign it back my eyes fill with tears of gratitude and thanksgiving. Sometimes fifteen minutes can heal even the most busy of todo lists.

Life Impractical

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I live with an Engineer. I work with software developers. My life is a sort of a living excel spreadsheet. If things are to be done, they are to be done in order, logically, after much research and testing.

Only thing is? I am an anomaly.  I picture myself standing in front of The Man watching myself on TV screens of utter chaos being told I’m the One who has to introduce spontaneity.

Introducing The Life Impractical.

A year ago this month I made promises to myself. This came on the heals of my “HOLYSHIT I TURN THIRTY FIVE” moment. Since that time my life has turned an incredible corner. Doors don’t just open, they fly open.

I’ve achieved much of what I ached to do last year: Visit Germany, Outline The Book, Find someone interested enough to promote and publish The Book, meet amazing people in my field, become grounded in the person who carries around this 35 year old body. All these things I am grateful for. But I am also excited about the prospect of what is to come. It has only wetted the appetite I have to BE, DO, LOVE.

Noise

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My Grandfather was an electrician in a mill. He often explained his lack of hearing from years of being around loud machines. “GRANDPA! TURN DOWN THE TEE VEE!” He would wave a hand in our direction, mutter something completely incomprehensible and turn the volume on the TV up.

Last weekend a friend of mine spoke of reducing the noise in his life. As a single man who enjoys many activities outside the computer, I thought it was a strange, though admirable, statement. So often the level of noise in my life is beyond was I can tolerate. Children whining and needing immediate attention pulling on my arm, Co-Workers on IM, twitter, facebook, email, friends asking about this weekend. It’s not that the noise is bad, each in of itself, it’s that together there isn’t a single conversation occurring in full.  The noise fractures my relationships in to compartments. Not a single person gets my full attention.

Having the opportunity to be with people in real life, to sit across a table with community members from work, to enjoy watching the children throw rocks in the water with a friend, to sit together as a family each night at dinner, helps. It helps bring the level of noise to something manageable. But during each of these interactions there is almost always a phone, a computer, a noise-producer. I’m pondering the long term effect on our relationships and if one day I’ll be waving my arm in the general direction of those I love muttering things they don’t understand.

sun

Chicks, Bunny Ears and Sugar. (This is not about the playboy mansion.)

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Like last year, the year before that, and the year prior to that and so on, it rained on Easter here.

Shocker.

I did manage to click some pretty terrible photos with my iPhone for you.

You’re welcome.

Behold! The creepiest bunny in the history of all bunnies!

May your holidays be everything you asked for and then some

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I am blessed with people in my life whom I share traditions with. We watch our children grow together. They bring me joy well beyond a generic word like “blessed.” Each year, for as many years as my youngest has been alive, we gather at Christmas to exchange gifts and create christmas memories to hang on our trees. These memories: beaded off-center balls, reindeer with too much glue, pictures of children years younger under glitter and foam; are treasures of magnificence. We hang each on branches every year in prideful spots. These ornaments, complete with thumbprint-smeared reindeer heads, go in the front of the tree. We’re proud of our inability to craft at our house. To visitors it appears we’re all a bit special-needs with glue but we see laughter and disastrous glitter accidents and children aching to be with their friends.

2009

2011

This year I drew my friend’s seven year old son. This kid is an old man trapped in a young-person’s body. While my children run around in their own imaginations, this kid talks like an adult. Since I was completely stumped as to what to get a man-child of 70 trapped in a 7 year old’s body, my friend tells me to just get an iTunes gift card. It’s what he wants, she says. I’m thrilled. “You kidding? Easiest Gift Ever.”

On the way home, this quiet, polite young man opens up to my friend. He said, and I quote:

08/06/2011

So I’m going to England in a few days… Travel

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This is pretty much how I start every conversation to any person anywhere right now. If you’re my grocer, you know I’m going to England in a few days. If you’re my pharmacist, my hair dresser, the lady who answers the phone for my hair dresser, my doctor, my kids’ doctor, my neighbor, my other neighbor, my neighbor’s dog: They all know I’m going to England in a few days.

I’ve nearly run up and down the streets naked screaming it.

“Nearly” being “thought about it once.”

I’m wild like that.

As I’ve travelled more in recent years, I am much more relaxed about plane travel. Mostly. I still grab a random stranger’s arm if the plane hits turbulence and still pray to physics that we don’t come crashing down because Daniel Bernoulli was really smoking weed when he came up with this principal and we’re all suckers for a good theory.  At one point, during a horrifically bouncy ride from NY to Seattle, the young airplane mechanic in the seat next to me went in to great detail how safe flying is. He rattled off statistics and spouted off sayings such as “turbulence is just a bumpy road to an airplane,” and “the air is actually pushing the plane up, not down” and “hey, you don’t have to be in the crash position, lady.” I still think of him when the plane starts to race down the runway and I’m looking out the window thinking, “FASTER. WE ARE NOT GOING FAST ENOUGH. THERE IS NO WAY THIS THING WIL….” and I squeeze my eyes shut as the engine screams and we tilt up up until that pocket of time where your stomach dips in to your legs. (Seriously, every.time.) I’m usually the only person that looks up with glee like an unexpected surprise, “WE DIDN’T DIE!” while other people pretend to be really interested in the Sky Mall catalog.

The Red Stapler around the world

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There are some people who are genuinely the type of person who helps remind me humanity can be awesome. The first time I met Suebob in person, we were in an elevator at BlogHer Chicago 2009. She walked in with her PJs on, a huge grin, and a welcome hug. “Hi Flinger!” It’s a moment where you realize we’re not just bloggers, we’re people. We laughed about her PJs, we talked about our websites. We had the kind of friendship that you only get in that initial meeting with other bloggers: the kind where they KNOW you. Possibly even more than your family does.

She’s spent years lifting each of us up, being a voice of compassion and comfort. She doesn’t just wear her PJs in an elevator, she takes that comfortable loving spirit with her to every blog she’s been involved with.

I love this community more than I can express to non-bloggers. People like Suebob keep this community alive and nurtured. Please go tell Suebob happy birthday today.

Suebob: WE LOVE YOU!! Happy Birthday!!


Other posts from some of the people who love her:

The Future of Web and Visions of Equality

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For years I’ve been a minority in our field. In graduate school I was one of two females. The program pushed Java but I studied PHP and my co-female-student studied XML. Why is that? Why would the two women select another language than the standard object oriented fare served to the students? Is it possible there is a feminine friendly language that helps retain women in computer science?

This is the future of our field. The is the future of the web. Bringing technology, the joy of development, the art of mobile application development: these are the true places women can excel and find balance in a male dominated field.

WebVisions 2011 is about “exploring the future of the web” and I can see no better reason to join those who are passionate about the future of a field we’re growing from the ground up. After ten years of developing sites and recently joining the dev team at EllisLab, Inc., the chance to attend WebVisions is a dream come true. That and because Aaron Gufstason is begging me.

But maybe I can be your sunshine?

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He watches the truck with a camper pass us on the road. “I wanna go camping again. Are we EVER going to go camping again?” My three year old is a drama queen sometimes. I laugh. “Yes, we’ll go camping, I promise. We’ll go when it gets sunny again.”

“It’s NEVER going to be sunny again!” He whines. He also loves to whine.

“Oh, it will,” I assure him, “Probably July 5th.” The classic NorthWest joke doesn’t mean anything to him.

“Hey, I’m wearing yellow! Maybe I can be your sunshine?” he beams a little.

He starts to point out all the yellow. There’s a yellow sign! And a yellow truck! And yellow flowers!