Elsewhere : Mothering Gamers, From Opponent to Advocate

In 2002 I met a gamer boy who was super cute and he asked me on a date. I had fake red hair and listened to way to much emo rock, and he wore lots of puka shell necklaces. It was adorable.

2002

Today I’m over at Pixelkin.org talking about how I started out as a gamer’s girlfriend who was VERY confused about the appeal of gaming and how my opinions have changed as my kids have become more interested in video games.

Now, as the “mother” I pride myself on being in tune with my kids’ wants and needs, but this was something I didn’t understand. I admit, at first, I was jealous. This was something my kids and husband could do together and I had no idea how to participate. Excepting a one-month binge of The Sims in college (when I locked myself in a closet with the game for a few weeks and then realized I needed sunlight and never played again) I certainly wasn’t a gamer by any definition of the word. All of a sudden my husband and kids were connecting on a level I couldn’t relate to, and I felt lost.

You can read more at Pixelkin.org.

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Bedtime

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I feel like we’ve entered a new stage of parenting, the one where the kids fight constantly and treat each other like crap much of the time. It’s a frustrating thing as a parent, because I want my kids to be friends, but I also realize this is just part of growing up. I remember so clearly just despising my younger brother and not wanting him anywhere near me. So, I mean, I get it. But damn, it hurts! When they are cruel to each other, I want to sit them down and shake them and remind them that they are the only two people in the whole world that will ever understand growing up in our weird little family. I want them to have each others backs and know that they are each others teammate. I want them to think twice before saying “I hate you!”

They will learn, I know that. And there are moments when I realize the lessons I’m trying to teach are getting through somehow. Lately it’s right before bed. That’s the one time of day it seems like they realize they are stronger as a unit. My calls of “5 minutes until lights out” are met with giggles from homemade tents. Lucy offers to read Tate a book and he shows her how he can dive off his bed into his blanket fort. Snuggles and laughter and silliness permeate the house, until I have to get stern and demand that everyone get into bed. It’s me against them, in this bedtime battle, but at least they are together. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. Them against the world.

Before bed they usually ask for a song, and it’s almost always “Moon River.”

Two drifters, off to the see world. There’s such a lot of world to see…

“That’s us!” Lucy says to her little brother.

Exactly.

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Tickle

happy weekend 2-8

Announcing A Fresh Look for Crazybananas

happy weekend 2-8

Hi friends! I have some amazing news to share! If you’ve been hanging around the Crazybananas universe for a while, you may have noticed some upgrades around here lately. I am super-excited to formally announce the redesign of this website! Hooray! It’s alive! It’s alive!

This redesign has been in the works for about a year, but I got a swift kick in the butt late in 2014 when I received feedback from all of my incredible readers. It turns out more than 90% of my readers where viewing Crazybananas on a mobile device…and I didn’t have a working mobile platform for the site! I felt like such a weenie. Here I’d been creating amazing layouts and fun graphics…and no one was seeing them! Argh! This is a lesson for all you bloggers out there. Know your readers! Talk to them, ask for feedback and listen.

My biggest goal for this month was to develop a site that was mobile-friendly, and I’m happy to say, I think I did it! The site is now dynamic and quite pretty on both desktop and mobile platforms. Hopefully this will make the reading experience more fun and pleasant for everyone out there.

Another huge push was to develop the photography section of Crazybananas. You all know I’ve been pursuing the photography side of my business for quite some time, but if you were a newcomer to the blog (or even a daily reader) it was super difficult to find my photography work. So I decided to create a totally separate part of this website that will cater to my photography clients. You can get there by clicking on the menu item labeled “Crazybananas Photography.” From there you can view my portfolio, contact me about booking a shoot, and read blog posts specific to my photography business. This was a labor of love for me, and I can’t tell you what a rush it was to go through all the images I’ve taken in the last five years to put this whole thing together. It’s an incredible feeling to look at your body of work and realize, “Crap, I’m a photographer!” I have spent so much wasted time comparing myself to others and undervaluing my own work, it was wonderful to look at this stack of images and feel not only pride, but a heart full of gratitude. Thank you to those of you who have trusted me to capture your lives in photographs, even in those days when I didn’t know what I was doing. You helped me grow and learn, and I know that I have to you thank for where I am today. I want to give you all big hugs (and we know I’m not really a hugger, so this is a big deal!).

As part of this celebration, I wanted to remind you that until the end of January, I’m running a special for $50 off any newborn or maternity shoot that is booked by the end of the month. Keep in mind, the shoot doesn’t have to be scheduled by the end of January, it can take place anytime before September 1st, 2015. You can read more about it here, and see my Babies + Maternity portfolio by clicking here.

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Thank you again for your support and love! I am overwhelmed, grateful and honestly, feeling a little bit giddy about all of this good stuff right now.

CB Reads : Classics and Heaven

Sunday reads continued (bedtime edition)... ?????????? #reading #winter #fire #warm #love

I had no idea that 2014 was going to be the year I remembered how much I dearly love to read. For the past few years, reading lost it’s luster for me. It took time, of which I clearly had little, and patience, of which I had almost none. When I would collapse after a crazy day of parenting/working/living the human experience, I found myself picking up the remote control instead of a book, losing myself in television or movies that made me laugh.

But in 2014, my kids and I rediscovered the library. I mean, did you guys know they let you take books home for FREE? And if they don’t have the book you want today they will find it for you and then send you a nice note when it’s ready for pickup? Screw technology, library books are officially my MVP of 2014.

From June 2014 (when we became card carrying public library patrons) until the end of the year I read 21 books. Holy. Hell. I don’t think I’d read four books total in the last few years, but in 2014 I fell in love with the page again. This was probably also prompted by my rediscovery of my creativity…when I feel like writing, that usually makes me want to read as well. And so I did, and my brain was better for it.

So far, 2015 is a bit busier than the early days of 2014, and I was afraid I’d fall back into a pattern of numbing out to TV instead of burying my nose in a book. (Sidenote: Numbing out to TV is totally awesome too…don’t think I’ve given up on moving pictures! I still love them too! Just not with as much vigor.) Luckily, my kids still beg for library time, so I’ve been inspired to keep going too. So far this year I’ve finished two books, and they couldn’t be more different.

Heaven Is Here: An Incredible Story of Hope, Triumph, and Everyday Joy is the beautiful story of blogger Stephanie Nielson, who lived a charmed life as a wife and mother of four in Arizona. I have followed Stephanie’s blog since the early days, and always enjoyed her musings on family, faith and fun projects she did around her home. I was also obsessed with her red lipstick (we all know I’m a sucker for a bright red lip)! But in 2008, Stephanie’s world shattered around her, as she and her husband were involved in a horrific plane crash, which left Stephanie burned over 80% of her body. Heaven is Here is a memoir depicting Stephanie’s life before and after the crash, and focusing on her climb back from physical and mental obstacles I can’t even imagine. I was inspired and found myself appreciating all the good (and bad) in my life after reading this book. Stephanie’s writing is funny and real, and I am so glad she invites us along as she tells her story.

Jane Eyre is a book I read in high school, but I honestly didn’t remember much. Lately I’ve rediscovered my love of the classics, especially when they are told by women. I feel way too often women’s voices are overshadowed, especially in fiction, and it soothes me to know some tales go on. Even though space and time divides myself and Jane Eyre, it’s comforting to read her story and find common links. I think this year I’m going to try and read a couple more classics, just to remind myself of what amazing women writers of all times are capable of. The Charlotte Bronte’s of the world are the precursors to little bloggers like me, and I’m so grateful to belong to a club of women telling their stories.

Read anything good lately? I’m always looking for some awesome additions to my bookshelf! Plus, the local librarian now knows us by name, which is pretty much the coolest thing ever!

Practice Makes Better (But Definitely Not Perfect)

I’m not a good goal setter. Everyone who knows me or has heard me talk about this topic knows I struggle to keep and set goals. As a former perfectionist, goals can be triggering for me. When I set a goal, and don’t achieve it, I can find myself in a shame spiral that’s difficult for me to climb out of. But I’m working on it. I’m slowly (SLOWLY) learning that goals don’t have to be big, scary, self-imposed checklists. They can be fun, they can change, they can be adaptable…who knew?

This year my best friend and I decided to resurrect our NYC + KC project from 2009. You guys remember that, right? If not, here’s a quick rundown (or you can just read this post here): Two friends, miles apart, post one photo every day depicting their lives. This time around we are doing the project on Instagram, and you can watch it all unfold at @nycpluskc. It’s pretty fun.

One random, unexpected issue with NYC + KC, however, has been it’s affect on my own personal Instagram account (@crazy_bananas). I don’t want to double post the same images every day, so I’ve found myself getting out my DSLR camera more and more, trying to capture the beautiful simplicity of life these days, and then posting those images on my personal Instagram. The response has been sort of overwhelming and very supportive, and I’ve been really excited to take photos again. This is a big deal, friends. For the past year or so, my love of photography was overshadowed by massive creative block, and there were times I wondered if I should just give it all up. But I’m finding the joy in photography again, and what a gift it is! Here are a few images from the past week, and I hope to keep posting these on Instagram daily throughout the year. Simple. Joyful. Life.

Turns out sometimes, goals create themselves for you. But it’s your responsibility to hold on for the ride!

Tater Nap4

First Guitar Lesson

Flowers

Serious Teddy

Tate Christmas Lights

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