How To Get A Good Picture Of Your Children

Of all the ways to convince
your children to smile for photos,
I bet my method is best.

Just say "smile," and you'll get:

Yes, this was her smile face.

The infamous "peacing" now stands in for smiling.
But here's my dirty little secret:
Naughty words work wonders. I shouted
penis! vagina! balls! at my children
and they produced these gems:

The trick is to wait until
the first round of giggles subside
(and you'll probably want to wait
until there's no one else around).

You can totally thank me later.

***This post is part of Six Word Fridays.***

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I'm living slightly under the surface. I can see the world a couple layers of murk, but I can't seem to break through to it just yet.

Mainly the work just piles up. This would be a good thing except the work isn't all paid. There's fundraising for my sister, volunteering in my normal gigs, my side project, and a feast-or-famine freelance career that is suprisingly feasty right now. The kids and the guy get my late afternoons and evenings, work gets everything else.

Some days I feel like I can't breathe. I fell asleep Saturday afternoon around 3pm after pulling double duty on Friday and Saturday for two different volunteer needs. I slept until 8am the next morning. That's more hours than I can count ... and I could've slept longer. Who does that?

And so. I'm here. I'm not finding much time to read anything, but I feel the loss of so many voices and so many experiences. It's tangible.

I'm slightly under the surface, but I'm rising. Slowly.

Update: I just turned down a 3-month contract for a tech writing job! I can't believe I did that. I started to take it, but I've done that contract before and it sucked the life out of me and I don't want to do anything else right now that doesn't engage my creative side. Holy cow. I just took a really deep breath of fresh(ening) air.

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A lifetime of memories

My sister Ashley gets sicker and more fatigued as the days wear on and her body becomes more worn down.

And so I've been focused on fundraising for my sister Ashley's kidney transplant, including planning a huge carnival for this weekend. I haven't shared this, but her insurance denied coverage, so we've been numb and scrambling. We're currently in the appeals process, but we have no idea whether it will be successful.

I have learned a new term: bronchial obliterans. As in, obliterated bronchial tissue. As in, lungs that aren't viable long term. It hurts to acknowledge, but that horribly clinical term is a huge reason for the denial. Ashley's insurance is basically saying they don't want to pay for a kidney transplant when her lungs are going to give out sooner rather than later. They'd rather spend that money on a patient with the promise of a long life.

The situation is grim and morbid. We are hopeful and counting the many blessings life has given: the double lung transplant, thirty some years of more good health than bad, a community that has thrown its support behind our family.

And these two children who already have some pretty amazing memories of their aunt, and who love helping to raise money for her transplant. They will remember Ashley being healthy and vivacious, her spending lots of time with them when I needed to do something kid-free, her being so young and hip that people assume she's my daughter.

At the coast last week, Javi pointed across the Atlantic and told Bella
that "Ashley used to live right over there," referring to the years she lived
in England. Bella did not fall for it.

My children are being shaped in such a fulfilling and profound way by their relationship with this woman who may not see them into adulthood.

And that is a blessing for all of us.

***This post is part of Wordful Wednesday.***

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