Saturday, September 28, 2013

Things I Learned in September

Inspired by Emily Freeman’s series and a tradition in my besties’ annual letters, I’m sharing a few of the things I learned this month.

RiverTrip092013 354

1. The river really is fun.

Maybe I should rename this series, “Things Everybody Else Already Knew & I’m Just Learning Now.”  Of course I knew the river would be fun. I love being near water. In our Before-Kids days, Brian and I took inflatable kayaks down the Rogue River and tubes down the Salt River, and went on a sea canoe adventure through Phang Nga Bay. Yet I’d never been on the Colorado (my boys are emphatic that the night cruise boat does not count) until this month.

I have lots of excuses to account for how my boys have gone numerous times but I hadn’t. I was pregnant, or staying back with the baby, or, last summer, with our puppy, or this summer, with my dad. Or preparing for a huge meal to feed everyone who came back from the river hungry. But no more excuses! Thanks to good friends, I’ve finally done “the daily” and hope we do it again soon.

2009behind the rocks

2. There is no cheap or easy way to get from Moab to Los Angeles.

Someone told me about an $80 round-trip ticket but I’ve decided it was an urban legend (or perhaps a rural-legend?). I’m excited about a solo-birthday trip to see my sister, Erin, and meet one of my favorite authors, Karen Maezen Miller. Less excited about the 20-hours-round-trip drive.

3. How to fix a dead or hot pixel on your SLR.

I found two hot pixels (red) on all the images I shot in August. The only solutions I could find were to either send it in to Canon for professional cleaning (impossible with several sessions lined up this month) or just let Lightroom fix it in RAW (also not ideal as I shoot RAW only in difficult lighting). I finally found this little youtube video, and it worked!

I read similar instructions elsewhere that I tried, but none of the others mentioned the necessary step of leaving your lens cap ON. Yay for youtube and strangers sharing their knowledge!

4. Being the only one without a smart phone isn’t so bad.

I was going to title this: Louis C.K. is a genius, but I’ve known that for a few years. Basically I just want an excuse to share this video (head’s up, there’s some foul language in case that offends you).

Louis C.K. reminds me of George Carlin and why I first loved stand-up. He knows if he can get you to laugh, he can get you to listen. In less than five minutes on Conan, he captured the ideas of half a dozen other writers  If you’ve never seen his show, it’s brilliant. It breaks all the snore-bore sitcom rules. It takes risks, which means it sometimes falls flat (or gross). But when it works, it soars.

If the video disappears off youtube, here’s a link to the original site:


5. Parenting does get easier, and then harder.

I photographed an adorable 16-month-old boy this morning. He had sky-blue eyes and a killer smile, and rarely stayed in the same spot (never mind the same lighting) for more than five seconds. I’m exhausted.

I’m sure it depends on the child, but I’m going for generalities here. My take is that the newborn / first-year is hard, because you’re getting to know each other, and figuring out sleeping and nursing, but it’s also easy (depending on the baby) because that’s all the baby needs---lots of sleep, lots of milk and lots of love. I love newborns.

The second year is harder, in my opinion. They have all those same needs, and they can move. But they haven’t mastered it yet, so they can get hurt moving. They want all kinds of things and to communicate is one of them, but they haven’t mastered it yet, so there’s a lot of frustration. I swear by baby sign language because two of my three boys were late talkers and it really helped them communicate. But that second year is hard.

I’m sure the window is different for everyone. Once they can talk, it is a whole different ball game. And when they can walk and run without fear of a face plant, phew, life is good!

Is there anything sweeter in life than a three or four year old boy who loves you? Once you get past diapers, life is even easier. Maybe life gives you a little reprieve to refuel for what’s coming.

Because, your baby will be 5, and then 6, and in a blink 10 and then just when you’ve really relaxed, your baby is almost a teen. And you see what is coming. The eyes are rolling. The emotions. The pimples. The being embarrassed by mom and dad. The exhausting attempts to be funny. I know, that sounds mean. I love my kid’s sense of humor. But suddenly he’s trying to be funny when he’s always just been naturally funny. I feel like I just got a wake up call this month. It’s going to get harder before it gets easier again. If it is ever easy to love someone this much.

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