I’ve been working on a little project about encouragement for moms and am in need of some feedback.  Would you be willing to help me by taking a short survey?

Thanks for your help!

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Influence Conference Meet & Greet

I mentioned in my last post I’ll be attending the Influence Conference next week, and I’m so excited!  There are a lot of reasons I’m excited, but I have to be honest and say I’m practically giddy about the opportunity to sleep.  Is that horrible?  Two and a half whole days without kids will afford me some uninterrupted, blissful, long-awaited sleep!  Ack!

Conference attendees are linking up with a little introduction about themselves with these things:

1. A photo and a bio
2. 1 part of the conference you’re most excited about
3. 1 thing you wouldn’t leave home without

Here goes…



1.  I’m Heidi, wife to Tahd (for almost 15 years!), and mama to the 3 super best kids ever – Gabe (9), Isla (2), and Jude (10 months). That big gap between #1 and #2 is due to a hugely difficult journey with infertility and recurrent miscarriage, which carved its way onto my heart deeply and shapes everything about who I am today. I grew up as a pastor’s daughter and have spent much of my life in the church, something that’s a bit of a double-edged sword for my personal faith journey.  I’m mostly a stay-at-home mom, but I love writing and taking photos and running and knitting, which basically makes me feel like I’m 72.  Except I’m not – I’m 36, although I alternate between feeling like I’m 27 (i.e. I blinked and lost the last 9 years) and 100 (hello, sleep deprivation).

So that’s me.  I can’t wait to meet you!

2.  I’m really looking forward to the speakers at this conference.  It looks like a fantastic line-up!  I’m especially excited for Lara Casey.  I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t refer back to the sleep.  I’m super looking forward to the sleep.  Did I mention sleep yet?

3.  One thing I wouldn’t leave home without…um, I’m not known for packing light.  <cough>BeQuietTahd<cough> But if I had to narrow it down to one thing, can I be completely trivial and say my new lipstick?  I presented my harried self to the MAC counter with hollering kids in tow and told them I wanted RED lipstick, because every girl should have a great red lipstick.  True, right?  Then I got home and realized red lipstick might leave me a little overdressed for doing laundry and running the roads for school pickups.  But a blogging conference?  Totally fun!  If you see me there and I look somewhat put-together and have bold red lips, please know I spent the bulk of this week in pyjamas and the lipstick is like cheap therapy.  ;)

Are you going?  Say hi so I can look for you there next week!



This and That

Two things have been eating at me lately.  Not just nibbling at me, but E A T I N G at me.

All caps.

One’s a big deal, but it’s a long running problem with no quick solutions, so my urgent anger produces nothing other than hot air and pent-up frustration.  The other is a little deal, a little inequity in a customer service situation, nothing a few deep breaths shouldn’t handle.  And yet, here I sit, steaming.  I’ve been steaming for days.  Truthfully, I’ve been a little anxious that I’ve been so steamy, not understanding the sudden urgency.


Motherhood feels like the trenches lately, a moody tween and a teething baby adding chaos to a space that already lacked calm to begin with.  I realized tonight that my unresolved anger from the prior situations was really displaced frustration from not knowing how to handle these closest-to-my-heart situations.  I’m pretty sure Freud just winked at me from his grave.


You know my stolen camera?  In a shocking twist of events, it came home.  I’m not even joking!  The museum lady said – and I directly quote, “They [the person who took it] said they found it on a bench in the Skyline exhibit, and I don’t know why they chose to leave the museum with it, but they came back to turn it in and we have it here for you.”

I tried to give the benefit of the doubt.  Although I’m quite certain they couldn’t have mistaken it for their own since it has a bright yellow strap on it, and it’s very distinct, I thought maybe it was a person who saw the camera, thought it was unattended, picked it up and intended to turn it in.  But, amidst the chaos of the day with their own kids, they forgot they had the camera to turn in until later, when they returned with it.

Then I got the camera back.  The screen had been flipped, the back of which sports a new scratch, the battery had been drained, the onboard menu had been changed, and the mode dial had been turned, something you can’t do unless you press a button and turn the dial at the same time.  Would you use something you found and thought another family had lost?  I wouldn’t, never in a thousand years!

Oh, and they also left their name and phone number.  How kind.  Color me jaded, but I think they either stole it and had a change of heart, or took it with the intent to try to collect reward money.  But it really doesn’t matter, because it’s home now and it still works and I might kiss it and sleep with it under my pillow for a few weeks in celebration.


Keeping right up with the times…The Good Wife.  I’m so happy I found her!  Especially since Amazon took The West Wing off Prime when I only had half of the last season to go.  I might get Netflix (which apparently still has it) just so I can see how the series ends.  But that might be excessive, since I could just read the show summaries online since the show is approximately 132 years old in internet years.


I’m going away next week to a conference.  By myself.  Which is super exciting, except I realized pretty late in the game that if I didn’t want to take Jude, I needed to pump, which I had stopped doing, so my freezer stash was a whopping 16 ounces when I started.  I have now have 10 days to pump 60 more ounces, which is a near impossibility since a good day nets me about…oh, 2.5.

I see some formula in his future.

As well, I see two full nights of sleep in my future.  Which makes the pumping and formula totally worth it.


And because it’s not a real blog post without a picture, here’s a picture I finally had time to edit last night.  It’s from May.  I’m not behind at all.  We all still look exactly like this.  Except the children have grown, my hair is curly, and Tahd has a beard.  So, basically identical.


Ramblings About Attitudes and People and Cameras and Jeans

Saturday morning started with a bang, namely an argument about one of the finer things in marriage – the way we slice toast.  I wish I were kidding when I said Tahd and I spent actual minutes arguing over, examining critically, and feeling judged about toast, but I’m not.  That’s exactly how we spent Saturday morning, feeling personally affronted over our toast slicing skills.

After a morning like that, I’m sure you’re assuming that these two yahoos got over themselves and determined to have a better remainder of the day, but that’s where you’d be wrong.  Next, we argued about going places in a timely manner, and also about the hvac system in our car, which was noticeably non-functioning on our way to Chicago.  It’s really miraculous that we were even speaking to each other by the time we navigated the absolutely frenzied wall-to-wall city traffic.  Seriously, Chicago.  SATURDAY AFTERNOON.  What gives?  (Side note – potentially baseball is what gives, but since I don’t care about things like that, I’m annoyed anyway.  Which is totally mature of me.)

By the time we got to the Chicago Children’s Museum, I was sort of like a guitar’s high e string stretched nearly to g, just waiting for ONE MORE QUARTER TURN to pop.  I don’t play guitar, so I just had to google all those things, including the names of all the guitar strings as well as how high you can tune a string before it snaps, to which I got a host of interesting answers that included inexplicable mathematical formulas, which is basically equal to how I felt – ready to explode due to inexplicable mathematical reasons.

I stormed – literally stormed – around the museum with Isla while Tahd and Gabe played upstairs.  Oh, wait – I forgot that we’d forgotten the wipes and Jude had two poopy diapers.  Fun.  Then I stormed around the museum until I got tired of my drama and we went back upstairs to check on the boys and I tried to find a better attitude.

We’ve been to this museum once before in 2009 or 2010, and their Skyline exhibit is Gabe’s favorite.  Basically, my nontechnical, nonhandy self would describe this technical, handy exhibit as a bunch of sticks of random lengths with predrilled holes as well as an endless supply of bolts, nuts, wingnuts, and washers.  I apologize for the amazing lack of depth in that description, but here are some pictures of Gabe there five years ago so you can get a better idea.


The other thing I loved about this exhibit was the light.  One of the three walls in the room is made entirely of south-facing windows, meaning the afternoon sun is lovely and the room is bright, a great place to take pictures.  I’d remembered my camera and had even remembered to take the photos off the memory card before we left.  It was a greater win than I realized at the time.

So.  Cue a rocky morning followed by a rockier afternoon, tired/hungry kids (did I mention we skipped naps AND lunch?), and two adults trying to have better attitudes.  As well, a fun setting, great light, and some picture-taking.

Then, somebody stole my camera.  No joke.

We were getting ready to leave the building exhibit and Tahd had started gathering our things.  We’d each taken some pictures and had periodically set it down to help the kids with something.  It didn’t seem particularly risky because we weren’t in a very busy area of the museum, both Tahd and I were there, and the space we and our stuff occupied was really small.  I’d had a vague sense that I didn’t know where the camera was, but I assumed Tahd had picked it up or I’d put it in the stroller or something like that.  As I started gathering things and didn’t find it, I began to get alarmed.

Diaper bag?  Check.

Purse?  Check.

Camera?  No.  Where it is?

We searched the stroller.  We searched the structures the kids were building.  We searched the room.  We searched the adjacent room.  It was not there.  It was just gone.

There was more searching and museum employees searching and lots of searching and searching.  The manager checked with the front desk to see if a camera had been turned in.  Nothing.

I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t angry.  I was just upset, mostly that I’d spent half the day with a rotten attitude for absolutely no reason, only to have my camera stolen.  What a waste of a good morning and afternoon!  If I’d have known the day was going to end up stinking so much, I would have made an effort to enjoy the positive parts.  Why did I waste good time on cranky spanky energy?  Gah!

The whole time we spent talking to security and the police officer, I kept reminding myself to hold grace and forgiveness in my heart toward the person who took the camera rather than anger and revenge.  I kept imagining how much they must really have needed the money in order to be motivated to steal my camera, or perhaps they had a difficult childhood that led them down a path of stealing valuables from families at museums.  Obviously I have no idea as to the thief’s why, nor do I think the why lets them off the hook, but imagining the why made it easier for me to be gracious and loving, so I went with it.

And then there was today, when, once again, my cranky energy abounded.  I nearly boiled over when Tahd took Gabe’s freshly tye dyed t-shirt and ran it through the wash.  I’d wanted to do my regular laundry first and do the t-shirt last in case there were any lingering dye issues in my machine, giving me a chance to run a few empty loads before I’d need to wash our clothes again.  Instead, he washed the shirt first and it sorely cut into my time to get the laundry done this evening.  Again, cue storming around and general crankiness.

I ended up taking laundry over to my parents’ house so I could get some done before we needed the clean clothes tomorrow.  That way, there’d be no risk of inadvertently dyed clothes from my own washer.  I tried to have a good attitude, but it was a struggle and I mostly failed.  On my last trip over, while changing a load from the washer to the dryer, I bent over to pick up a shirt I dropped only to back my derriere into a shelf with a sharp edge and split the seat of my jeans.  The nice pair.  The only pair of jeans that really fits, and the one I wear four days a week in the winter.  This did not help the crankiness.

My mom does this great thing with my kids.  She lets them play with most everything at her house, and when little fingers inevitably break something, she tells them, “People are more important than things!”  I love that. I love the grace, I love the way it lessens anxiety, I love the way it affirms their hearts and their value and their place in her life.

When my camera got stolen yesterday, I kept chanting in my head, “People, not things.  People, not things,” and I felt embarrassed that I’d been nastier to Tahd about toast than I was about a situation that would end up costing me a lot of money.  If I can give grace over stolen valuables, how much more grace should I be giving to the people I love?

I’m pretty sure the jeans were jut one more manifestation of this.  Yes, my washer had dye in it and it needed attention and extra love.  Yes, it cost me some time.  Yes, perhaps some of our clothes could get ruined if the dye hadn’t fully rinsed away.  But more important than that?  Being kind to my husband and children.  People.  Not things.  I knew the jeans were God’s way of saying it a little louder.  “PEOPLE, NOT THINGS, DUDE!  CUT THE CRAP!  DID YOU GET IT THIS TIME???”

I’m working on it.

Hopefully, this story will end with a better attitude and a new camera body.  There were two silver linings. First, I lost almost no pictures.  I took about 400 pictures off the card just a couple hours before it was stolen, and the only images lost were photos we’d taken at the museum.  I can’t even imagine how sad I’d be if I’d lost the last photos we took in Florida, the first day of school photos, and the other things from the last few weeks.

The other silver lining is that I never really loved the camera or the lens that was stolen.  I loved them but didn’t love them, if that makes any sense.  I may replace them with exactly what was taken, but I may also go in a different direction, of course, depending on price and possibly how many more things go wrong before I learn this lesson.  This could be an opportunity to make a decision that makes me photographically happier in the long run.

I was thinking back over our actions, trying to decide if I regretted putting it down, and you know, I don’t.  I should be able to go to a children’s museum and take pictures of my children and play with them and not worry about someone coming within a few feet of me to take something.  Apparently I can’t, but I should be able to, and so I don’t regret it.  My financial well-being regrets it, but I don’t.

In conclusion, these are my recommendations to myself:

1.  Don’t argue about crap like toast.

2.  People, not things.

3. More unagi.

Unagiiii photo Unagi.gif

For sure, more unagi.

Ten Down…





















Ten summers down, nine to go.  How can it be that we’ve already done more than half of them?  It’ll be licenses and jobs and college before we know it!

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