Category Archives: Life

Boys castles

Boys, Castles and the Wonder of Childhood

My oldest son emerged into the world training for great capers. Sitting at 4 months, walking at 9 and climbing right away. He’s training for a great adventure. Discovering what that is has become such a huge part of his childhood. There is wonder in the chase for your life’s work, especially for children as they discover the passion of their childhood.

Knights, dragons, castles and kings are currently enchanting to my boys. And here they are, immersed in the wonder of it all.

I apologize for my children’s lack of pants. I ask myself why they won’t wear pants daily. But this is my life! 🙂
Boys castles

Keen

Music to Labor to | Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Cloud Birth Photographer

My second son, Keen a few hours after birth

Someone asked me today about birth playlists, so I dug mine from my last birth (1.5 years of giggles afterward).

It’s hard for me to express in words how moved I am by this music.

I become, like many, incredibly open to everything in pregnancy. I remember feeling as thought I could feel more than I had ever felt before.

And that’s part of the mechanics of birth — opening to new life and being primed to emotionally accept and bond with your child in a way you never thought possible.

And when I hear this music — oh, it’s like I’m back in that place where I am just waiting to love more than ever.

If you are looking for inspiration for your own labor playlist, take a listen, or a look.

This is the deep in labor-land playlist:


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Create a playlist at MixPod.com

Wide Eyed, Legless – Laura Veirs
Zebra – Beach House
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
While You Wait for the Others – Grizzly Bear
The xx – Basic Space
Lotta Love – She & Him
Tenuousness – Andrew Bird
Sovay – Andrew Bird
Janglin – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
White Blank Page – Mumford and Sons
I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers
Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear
Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Sound System
The Cave – Mumford and Sons
January Wedding – The Avett Brothers
Her Morning Elegance – Oren Lavie
Thieves – She & Him

This is the fun, early labor play list:


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Create a playlist at MixPod.com

When We Swan – Thao with the Get Down Stay Down
The xx – VCR
Swim Until You Can’t See Land – Frightened Rabbit
Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Sound System
Strange Overtones – A Calligraphic Tribute
Dixon’s Girl – Dessa
I Learned the Hard Way – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
My Girls – Animal Collective
40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Tighten Up – The Black Keys
Daylight – Matt and Kim
Go Do – Jonsi
Shadow People – Dr. Dog
Lasso – Phoenix
Crash Years – The New Pornographers
Run – Vampire Weekend
Audience – Cold War Kids
Caribou – Odessa
Chicago – Sufjan Stevens
Kids – MGMT
I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers
Violet – Jeremy Messersmith
Camera – Matt and Kim
Mouth of Diamonds – Phantogram
Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Winter Winds – Mumford and Sons
The Chaccone – Dessa
Ready to Start – Arcade Fire
The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
Bruises – Chairlift
In the Sun – She & Him
The Calculation – Regina Spektor
Heartbeat Radio – Sondre Lerche
January Wedding – The Avett Brothers
White Blanke Page – Mumford and Sons
The Cave – Mumford and Sons
Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine
Listomania – Phoenix
1901 – Phoenix
Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear
While You Wait for the Others – Grizzly Bear
Fake Palindromes – Andrew Bird
Heretics – Andrew Bird
Anonanimal – Andrew Bird
Skin Is, My – Andrew Bird
Measuring Cups – Andrew Bird
Opposite Day – Andrew Bird
Oh No – Andrew Bird
Drumming Song – Florence and the Machine

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100 days of engagement | life with kids

I have to be honest, parenting my kids mostly by myself has made parenting into a chore.

I have started to see their little chubby hands as “mess makers” and feel so caught up in the work of getting-there-on-time-dressed-cleaned-happy-fed that I am not appreciating these amazing kids in front of me.

And the craziest part of it all: I am lonely. Lonely in the midst of two extremely social kids.

So a few days ago I decided, if I didn’t like playing this game I would change it.

Enter what I lovingly call 100 days of engagement.

It sounds like a silly romantic comedy but here is what it really is: 100 continuous days of spending at least 1 hour totally engaged with my kids.

One hour where I am not worried about the house, or work, or dinner. That’s 100 glorious hours between a few days ago and Jan. 10.

And while we’re having these adventures I’ll be collecting video to compile into a short film that will literally show my boys grow.

After a few days I already feel refreshed. I can’t believe how easy it is to squander the gifts looking you right in the face.

But at least I have woken to them now.

Loneliness | Glee

This is a personal post. It’s a post about what it’s like to be the wife of a politician.

But it’s not political.

I have strong opinions, like everyone else, but I’ve never considered myself all that political because what I value most — above every single other principal or belief that I have — is in the connection you can make with another person (and the growth that can come from that) if you are just able to suspend your own ideas enough to listen to theirs.

Elections are adversarial. They require conflict to uncover the exposition of what is important to people.

They require someone to stand up and say: “I believe this. This MUST be,” so that they can get to a place where they can even have the kind of conversations that look for respectful solutions with those across the aisle.

My husband is deeply engaged in this process right now. Knocking doors almost every night of the week and from 9-9 on Saturdays. Every Saturday.

He amazes me. I amaze me.

And on Sundays when we are together it is pure glee. We relax, we do things with the kids, we laugh, we love.

I wish I could say that every Sunday was like this before the election, and every Saturday, too. And that we didn’t squander our time when we were together, but we did.

We wasted so much time doing things that didn’t foster the connections we have as a family.

Now I sit so many nights lonely in the quiet when the kids have gone to bed, longing for Joe.

But what I have learned and what I will carry with me for the rest of our lives is that there is the capacity for great joy in every minute together if we only create the space for it — just as we are now.

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Do what you love and … | inspiration

Do what you love and you will find others doing what they love.

Last year when I decided to overhaul my business and focus on the childbearing year I was scared.

I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I knew that this was the right thing for me.

But I was scared.

Because every great movement forward — every step toward expressing more of who we are to the world at large — is a risk.

I had a writing professor who would tell all of us wound-up college kids engaging in the process of writing autobiographies at the age of 20 — a very strange and heady task — that you have to give something big to get something big.

You have to risk exposing who you are to create art.

But what he never mentioned, and perhaps what we were supposed to learn by reading our most intimate secrets to an audience of our peers, was that by taking risks and putting yourself out there as you truly are, you are also inspiring others to live this way.

Everywhere I look now I see these same risks being echoed by others — and I’m deeply inspired by all the passionate people I am happy to call friends and peers.

If you’ve taken a risk, thank you. If you are considering one, don’t be afraid.

There is freedom in living your dreams.