So the other day my mom and I went shopping and had lunch at Perkins. We sat facing each other and as we were having a conversation, suddenly there was this guy playing peek-a-boo with me around my mom's head. I'm trying not to crack up or make it obvious that I'm conveying that message to my mom, because I wanted her to know why I wasn't really focusing on the conversation at hand. The dude was old enough to be my grandpa, maybe a chubby version of Steve Martin, whom I have no fantasies about at all....just to verify that. So he peeks around and waves a little, and then hides again. I take the crayons and children's menu, and scribble down that the guy behind her is being weird and peeking at me from behind her head. I slide down in my chair a little and try to stay low so he can't see me without looking really dumb. My mom decides to go to the bathroom so she can see the guy on her way back, since it would be very obvious if she turned all the way around to look at him. (like that matters, I mean after all he is drawing attention to himself with the peek-a-boo game) He takes her absence as the perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation, even though I was taking great interest in the dessert menu.

Him: "Hi...how are you today?"

Me: "I'm good, thank you. Yourself?"

Him: "Good. Did you go to the Octoberfest?"

Me: "No...we had lunch with some friends...."

Him: "We took down our pool and got that all put away. We didn't go either..but I like to go down there and get an elephant ear every year...not this year though..."
(hmm...I wonder who "we" is, because I'm banking on mentally unstable here and see no wedding ring)

Trae: "See my beepmyas?" (he pulls a florescent orange tape measure my mom gave him that morning from his pocket and holds it up for the man to see)
(great, my kids are talking to him...another excuse to keep talking to me...)

Him: "I think I have one too! Let's see..." He digs a tape measure out of his pocket. The same exact tape measure Trae has.

Me: *** thinking****....Maybe this is meant to be?

We have a very pointless conversation about the Octoberfest until my Mom finally shows back up. We (my mom and I, that is) continue our conversation as we eat our meal...and the whole time this guy is doing the peek-a-boo thing with me. At some point it goes from funny and a little weird to crazy stalker dude material. Of course I wouldn't call him out on it because it would be awkward and it doesn't really affect my life one way or the other, where it could affect his if he is mentally unstable (a sure bet) and gets yelled at by some random girl to stop flirting with her she's married and uninterested in this weird game of peek-a-boo. Besides, he seems lonely, and every time someone pauses in the same zip code as his table, he asks them if they went to the Octoberfest (no? me either!) or if the watched the Packer game (no? me either!)

We stand to leave, and immediately he does as well. My mom takes the bill and heads to pay as I gather the kids and put their coats on. (I think my mom secretly finds it hilarious to ditch me in awkward situations and watch from a distance and laugh) He nods and says "well, bye kiddo..." and then does this maneuver that I remember from when I worked at the group home. He walks toward me, but like he's going to go past me to pay for his coffee, and then makes a bee line for me as he reaches out to touch me. (the clients used to do this, and I got to the point where I could see it coming and moved to foil their attempt) I must have been rusty, because he did end up touching my hand that was across my breasts, because he made a dash for them. Then he just walked by after he got the grope out of the way, budged in front of my mom to pay...and then instead of turning and going out the door, he makes another attempt to touch me. I backed way up and gave him my best glare and he just put his head down and walked out.

Of course I was grossed out the whole day, and I was wearing jeans and a sweater so it's not like I commanded attention by what I was wearing or anything. I was even okay with the odd little games and conversation...but dude, stay out of my bubble...and definitely hands off to random people I've never met who are not my husband.

In the end, I laugh because it's funny and awkward. I do think eventually someone is going to tell this guy off or perhaps press charges against him when he successfully gropes them, though...what would you do in the situation? I mean, if he had groped my chest I would have been livid...but since I foiled his attempt, what could I say? "This dude tried to grope me, but I blocked him?" I think the thing that makes me the most mad is that he acted like he had a license to touch my body because, well, he's a man and men have needs. (you know...or whatever gave him the impression my body was his to touch) I have mixed feelings because of course his behavior is uncalled for and creepy and totally an over step of boundaries, but it would be a big hassle and embarrassment to both of us to make a scene about it...but then what if he's really a big pervert who touches "kiddos" because he thinks he has the right and is a genuine predator? What if?


Thanks Uncle Nate and Auntie Marsha!!!

Archer received a gift card in the mail for Toys R' Us. We were at a friends house this weekend and they had a John Deere tractor/digger combo that he played on for quite awhile so I was glad to find this smaller version :) He's been playing on it all morning, making tractor noises and talking to himself. Huge thanks to Uncle Nate and Auntie Marsha, and Ana and Olive for the gift card :) I think he's going to be quite territorial about this particular toy!


There is just one life for each of us: our own ~Euripides

For the last 7 years, 3 months, and 22 days, I have been mostly defined by my status as a mother. I have reveled in pregnancies, births, milestones. I have stood by in awe as my children grew from tiny squalling babes, to little people who can read and do math and copycat and walk. I have loved every minute of all of this, so I think thats why I'm having a hard time admitting that after all these years, I'm choosing to take on a major life commitment along with being a full time mom. In a lot of ways, I expect flack for selfishly pursuing something that is bound to take time away from the kids, but really I think it will be time re-directed towards something else...time I spend Facebooking or blogging will now be used elsewhere and not so different from what we're doing now.

Probably the greatest source of angst is coming from this place deep down where I feel like I should be content to be Elliot's or Brookelyn's or Trae's or Archer's mom...and honestly if thats all I ever did in my life, it would have been enough. But I also feel like I am an individual aside from being their mom, I am Amber. I have all these things that I would like to take my kids to do...I want lessons for ballet and karate and piano and I want to have them in soccer and t-ball and all these things that cost money...a lot of money. But in spite of that, I want to to something for myself. I don't want to be defined as a mom, I want being a mom to be part of what defines me...Amber. Because as much as I love my role as a wife and mother, I WANT to do things that enrich me as a person and you can have both...you can. It's a matter of getting the right balls rolling, and the right amount of belief in yourself, and dedication to the cause.

So as I take these tentative steps to do something that feels 100% for myself, it is really a way to make things better for my family in the long run. I have to remember that, because otherwise I feel like I would be cheating my kids, ad I know that things will be a little more hectic maybe...but not altogether different.

I'm usually a person who wants to scream things from the rooftops, but with this I am having a hard time telling anyone my plans. I have shared my plans with much trepidation to a few people, and have been met with pretty enthusiastic well wishes, and yet I am still so afraid to write it here. Anyway, the ball is rolling, so I may as well get it out. I'm sure for some of you, it's going to seem like I made a big deal about something so small....but to me it feels HUGE. I have to admit to a lot of self doubt right now.

I'm starting school in October. I will be enrolled as an online student at Kaplan University. I will be working first towards my bachelors and eventually my masters degree of science in criminal justice with an emphasis in forensic psychology. I've researched for months to find something that feels perfect for me...I've always been interested in psychology, law, and criminal justice, so this is what I came up with thats a culmination of the 3. It should take me 5 years to earn my masters, just in time for Archer to start school. It is important for me to be home with my kids until they are off to school, so this idea happened to pop into my head one day that if I earned my degree now, I would be ready to jump in to the workforce when Archer starts school...and since then I have prayed for help with my decision. This feels right. My husband supports me 100%. My family is happy for me. I suppose thats all that matters.

I plan on keeping photography as a creative interest because I do love it...but what i've found is that with this digital camera era and the economy, people are opting to take their own pictures or pay a novice, and I really want a steady income when the time comes for me to be in the work force again. I will definitely be doing it on the side when I can, because I have a passion for it....I just didn't think it wise to count on that for an income, because even my boss who's been doing photography for almost 30 years is struggling to pull work in.

** to make sure it's clear to everyone...I have utmost respect for any stay-at-home mom (or dad :)) who is blissfully happy doing just that and being defined by that because surely it is a badge of honor, the most important one to attain, I say. I just want to make sure everyone understands that...just as I know not everyone feels a need to seek out interests that don't involve their kids, and while I respect that...I am not one of them.

"Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone's task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it." ~E.E. Cummings



  • our van needing a new motor
  • we can't go anywhere as a family until said motor is bought and installed, which takes time.
  • our new fridge is defective yet again, which is a huge pain...but since I'm stranded anyway, it's not like I don't have time to wait around for repairmen to come and look at and/or fix it.
  • Jason's car doesn't run either! So...puts us in a predicament as far as him getting to and from work....
  • ...and he needs to work to pay for all the crap that keeps breaking...so yeah.
  • Archer is wheezing and coughing and running a fever on and off.
  • I need ideas as punishment for hitting...we've tried spanking (which seems lame, because you know, hitting for hitting essentially is hypocritical) grounding, time out...
  • If we could afford to put our hitter in a class like karate, we totally would...
  • Big category of stress here, that I can't elaborate on, because well...you know. Top secret. If I told you, I'd have to shoot you.
  • Our lives are going to change in a pretty major way really soon if all goes according to plan...fingers crossed for us please.
  • Jason randomly passed out last night in the shower, so another big worry. He hasn't had an appetite lately so I'm thinking his blood sugar was low, but then again I'm not a doctor. He thinks he doesn't need to go in, I think it might be a good idea.

Ugh. Seems like when it rains, it pours. I broke down and put my ad on Craigslist for photography work to try and pull some money in to pay for everything...so hopefully that works out and I can find a ride to my shoots..haha.



I finally broke down and cut Archer's hair...he's starting to look more like a little boy than a baby, and now his hair feels more like little boy hair than baby hair :( Pretty cute, I must admit :)
Someday I might get around to a real post...in the meantime, I'm in pursuit of a dream :D Eventually I will be comfortable with revealing details, but it's still in the very early stages and I have nothing really to share except my excitement!




Birthday Cake

Something got bumped on the camera in between taking the first test photos and the actual singing and digging in....all the photos were blown, but I did the best I could and think they turned out quite charming. I figured it out after we lit the candles for Brookelyn's cake...I'm thinking about a restage, bacause I'm really bummed the first ones were way over-exposed. All in all, Archer was a cake mashing champ, so I'm sure he'd be all for a re-do :D



in the past 24 hours, I lost 1 follower and was docked roughly 50,000 hits on my counter. True story...

Today, he's 1.

Right after he woke up and we sang him Happy Birthday :)

Still sleeping peacefully...I could get into the emotions of the day, but I'm just going to enjoy this little ball of energy and cute. He's talking up a storm, recent favorites are Trae, horse, deer, and please. He can only take about 4-5 steps at a time, but he can crawl up on tables and counsels and carseats, go figure. I'm looking forward to spending the day with you, buddy.*
*I totally wish my camera would get home so I could take hundreds of pictures to commemorate your first birthday...

Today, she's 6.

Happy Birthday Brookelyn! I have no idea where the time has gone, but I do know that watching you grow and learn new things is a huge priveledge. I love you, Mom.


bath time this morning.

I'm having a blast spending time with my 2 little guys while the older 2 are at school. It's amazing the things Trae says now that he has a chance to get a word in edgewise...or maybe rather the things I'm hearing without the constant tattling and fighting between the older ones. It has been really good for both of them to be in school...they get along much better when they're home and they are both loving it. Poor Trae is having a hard time adjusting and I found him the other day after about an hour of laying in bed and assuming he was asleep, crying under the covers. I walked in and pulled the covers back and he whimpered "nooo, mama....don't..." and covered his head again. We talked about what was up.."i'm saaaad" and I asked if he missed Elliot and Brookelyn and he said yes and asked where they were. When I said they were at school, he started crying again and saying no. Yeah, it basically broke my heart...so we've been doing a lot of extra snuggles...which typically brings baby brother over for some attention too. I'm still working that out, because the 2 are so busy competing for my attention that they rarely play. I know it's coming though..the first day they were super cute playing peek-a-boo and squealing laughter rang throughout the house most of the day!
Yesterday, Brookelyn had her kindergarten assessment. They didn't have school for kindergartners and she was so bummed. I asked her what she did at the assessment and she said they asked her to count as high as she could, so I asked how high. She said 105, and I figured it she can count to 105, she could count higher, so I asked if thats as high as she can count? She said "no, but my throat was hurting from counting so high, so I stopped!" She doesn't seem to miss me at all and is gaining her Independence very quickly, which is a little hard to take. She's really cute at chiding Elliot to do his homework and hang his backpack where it belongs, and of course he responds by telling her she's "not da boss!"
It's Archer's birthday week...so that is bittersweet as well. This one actually seems easier on me than Trae's was. Jason is going to be out of town all week, so I'm a little bummed he won't be here on the actual day, but we have a party planned for Sunday. It should be interesting getting everything done that needs to get done by myself, and I have a long day shooting a wedding Saturday, so we'll see how it goes. I plan on taking the 2 little guys to Monkey Joes on the actual birthday and sending cupcakes for Brookelyn to school to make the day special for both of them.
I suppose thats the update for now :)
p.s. I hate this stand in for my other camera...I should be getting mine back good as new early this week. There hasn't been a day that goes by that I haven't wanted to take a picture of something...so I'm really looking forward to having my sidekick back!


1st day of School 2009

She looks a little tentative, even though she is super excited. Elliot just looks excited. We had no problems with bedtime last night, and they both fell asleep as soon as their little heads hit the pillows.

My 2nd grader! How is that possible?

My little Kindergartner :D

Anxiously awaiting her school bus.

Trae trying Elliot's backpack on for size...

Daddy went in a little late so he could see them off on their first day.

Plain excited! (see his little shadow there?)

As soon as the bus came, Trae broke down a little.

Brookelyn's been awaiting this first ride for a long time :)

Someday my bus will come...

The boys and I drove to school and waited for the bus to come...Trae looking out the window and waiting to see his brother and sister pull up.

Someones glad to be back.

Aww. My baby girl is starting school already.

Her cubby.

Helping Elliot put his things in his desk.

Overall probably the most heartbreaking picture of the bunch. He was just playing all alone, and when I went out to check on him he said "momma...Archer come out here?"

Playing all alone...eventually he caught the kitty and brought him inside to play a little, but the kitty wasn't impressed. He requested pizza, he got it. Sparklers? Totally, we'll do the whole box. :)
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