Project Life 365 – Day 63 – Big Personality

Okay, so when it comes to my daughter being awesome, I know I’m biased. I’m pretty sure if there was a Parental Handbook, that would be one of the 10 Commandments of good parenting…

Thou shalt adore your child’s awesomeness above all others.

The trick, though, is to keep things in check. There’s a healthy balance between appreciating your child’s creativity and being brainwashed into thinking they can do no wrong. Those of us who live in reality know that the truth is this…

No matter how awesome your kid is, he/she also has the capacity to be a giant turd.

Yeah, I said it. Judge me if you want, but it’s the truth. For every ten delightful, wonderful, amazing things Cadence does, there’s at least one maddeningly naught moment that often erupts out of nowhere. And nothing can make you question your sanity like a toddler’s temper tantrum.

No joke folks, living with a 3-year-old is like living with a perpetual gas leak of unknown origin–shit smells funny and you’re never quite sure when a spark is going to set off an explosion. Something as simple as not being able to prouduce a fruit snack on command (like when you’re out running errands after picking the kiddo up from prechool) is enough to cause a Chernobyl-size meltdown right there in the backseat of your minivan.

And in that moment, you’ve got a choice to make.

Do you scream back and fuel the fire? Do you just ignore it and hope the little turd eventually tires herself out and forgets fruit snacks even exist? Do crank up the radio to drown out the noise? Or do you wait for the worst to blow over and then use your powers of parental persuasion (and some very clever diversion tactics) to contain the situation until you can sit down and talk like two halfway rational human beings?

It’s a highwire act for sure. But we do the best we can.

And that’s really the goal of this whole parenting thing, isn’t it? Taking the bad behavior in stride and turning it into a learning experience, while encouraging the good things–the creativity, the kindness, the compassion, the energy, the innovation. Encouraging that sweet little soul to grow and share her awesomeness with the world.

And so far, if I was to judge our progress from Cadence’s big personality, her sweetness, her brilliance, her sense of humor, and her awesome taste in music, I’d say we’re doing a pretty good job.

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And for your viewing pleasure, here’s Cadence rocking out to her new favorite song These Days by the Foo Fighters…

Project Life 365 – Day 59 – Handmade

I give you, Cadence’s latest masterpiece. Authentic handmade art. She’s churning them out so fast on her new easel, I’m considering opening up an Etsy shop or perhaps starting to sell them on Ebay. They’ll be worth millions when she’s famous. Until then, we’ll just stuff her piggy bank full of her earnings, and squirrel the rest away in her college fund. ๐Ÿ™‚

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People Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Best Friend

The first time Steven and I ever saw our sweet hound Electra, she was standing back, behind a wiggling wall of a half-dozen jumping, howling beagles, as if waiting her turn to come and greet us. We fell in love immediately with her droopy, half-basset face and her gentle, easy-going personality.

When I was pregnant with Cadence, Electra would often climb up onto the couch next to me to take a nap, sleeping with her head resting on my burgeoning belly. Later, when we brought our new baby home, Electra quickly grew so attached to the newest member of our family that she didn’t even want us to leave the house with Cadence.

As Cadence grew, she wasn’t quite sure what to think of this hound who was always either trying to snuggle up against her or steal her food. She thought it was fun to crawl into Electra’s dog bed, and even learned to stand and walk by grabbing fistfuls of Electra’s loose skin to pull herself up on her feet. As soon as she was fully mobile, she discovered how fun it was to chase Electra around the house and toss her treats for being a good dog.

These days, Cadence loves “Dectra”. She smiles and says “Hi Dectra” each morning when she gets up, and gives her a hug and a kiss at night before she goes to bed. She follows Electra around the house, sometimes just playing Follow the Leader, other times chasing Electra with her toy lawnmower or ย the laundry basket. The best, though, is when Cadence tries to get Electra involved in one of her games.

Just yesterday, I managed to get these shots of my favorite girls as Cadence tried to interest Electra in a little fort-building with the couch cushions. Seriously, who needs television when you’ve got this kind of entertainment?

Silliness

In the midst of the craziness of working the past couple weeks, I decided I needed to test one of my lenses. For some reason, my 28-75mm has been hit and miss with focus, and I wanted to make sure it was in proper working order when I headed out to shoot my first Red Thread Session.

It was a little soggy outside after the thunderstorms, so I figured I better stay in the house or else have to deal with a very muddy child. After several test shots, I got the lens back in working order, but decided I wanted to test it out on a moving target, just to make sure it could lock quickly when I needed it to since my RTS session was with a family of 5 young children.

Electra was in her spot on the couch, passed out and snoring as usual. If you’re wanting to shoot still life, she’s usually a safe bet. A moving target in the Romano house, though? That’s easy. All I have to do is take the lens cap off my camera and point it at Cadence and she takes of running, jumping, bouncing, hopping, skipping, dancing, crawling, scooting, and shimmying through the house, laughing and teasing me as she goes.

Little turd.

You know, she’s pretty cute when she stands still long enough for you to actually get a look at her.

It took the better part of 45 minutes, chasing her through the kitchen and sunroom, dropping down out of sight and then ambushing her when she came around the corner to get a couple good shots. But it was worth it. Not only did the lens pass the Crazy Running Child test, I also managed to get a couple good shots of my favorite girl and capture a few of the expressions that crack me up on a daily basis.

Here are a few of my favorites…

The chase is on!
Trying to climb away from the camera
Oooh fishy light
Digging through the shoe pile
Taking a break to make a quick phone call
Haha, Momma’s so silly
My favorite, the “Gasp! He’s here!” face leftover from Easter and the sneaky Easter Bunny visit

The Reality of my Freelance Life

I can’t say I really have much to complain about when it comes to my career. Being a freelance writer and photographer was always my dream, and though I had lofty dreams of writing bestsellers and booking photo shoots with celebrity clients, there was a part of me who never really thought it was possible. I mean, really, who gets to do what they really love for a living?

Now, I won’t go so far as to say that I’m really making a “living” just yet (and I have yet to brag about booking any big celebrity clients). Let’s face it, if we were depending on my salary alone to support us right now, we’d likely be living in our minivan instead of our beautiful house. But I guess it’s par for the course when you open your own business and build a client base from the ground up. It’s painstaking, and slow going, and it makes you question yourself and your decisions on a daily basis.

But, I’ve never been one to give up easily. And my calendar is beginning to fill up as all of our hard work begins to pay off.

The most difficult part, though, is trying to balance my family life with my work life–and I say that to you as I sit here at 2:00 am in the quiet house, trying to keep my eyes from crossing as I painstakingly process photos and prepare for tomorrow’s interview and photo shoot. It’s quite the juggling act, being a Work At Home Mom with a 2-year-old, a dog, deadlines to meet, meals to prepare, and chores to do. And I’ll be the first to admit that the chores are usually the first to be pushed aside. Vacuuming? What’s that? And mopping? Who needs to mop when you’ve got a hound dog in the house who has an uncanny ability to inhale crumbs before they even have a chance to hit the floor?

I’m guessing eventually things will even out, and I will find some sort of reasonable routine that will allow me to stay busy and meet deadlines without neglecting my husband and child in the process. As for now, we’re making it work.

Luckily, Cadence is a pretty easygoing girl. She’s gone through a couple of Momma’s Girl phases where she wanted nothing to do with anyone else but me, but overall, she’s a pretty happy-go-lucky kid. And usually, as long as I stay in sight, she’s even content to come along on assignments when necessary. Mostly, I try to be as professional as possible when I’m working, but there have been a handful of times when Cadence has ridden shotgun and joined her Momma at work. Here are a few of my favorite outtakes from shoots where Cadence has come along for the ride.

She had a blast playing with her cousin Korbin at the family photo shoot…

Though Korbin wasn’t too sure about getting any kisses from Cadence.

Then she rode along for the tail end of Katie’s junior prom shoot, and kept busy playing with rocks and dirt in the yard…

And snuggling with her Godmother Tammy to drink a bottle…

Then she had so much fun spending the day with us at Katie’s senior photo shoot. With all the rain that morning, it was hard to keep her out of the mud puddles…

But she forgot all about them as soon as Katie broke out the bubbles…

And she thought the little chair that Katie made was just her size…

Of course she came along for her Aunt Kassie’s engagement photo shoot, and had fun walking up and down the railroad tracks with her Nonna, Poppa and Aunt Jen…

This year, she was perfectly content to hang out, eating popcorn and playing for Katie’s senior prom shoot…

And she even managed to solicit a few swings from Tammy and Katie…

A quick photo op with her Godmother…

And another quick shot with Momma and Katie…

And of course she traveled to Colorado for her Aunt Whitney’s prom shoot, and loved drawing on Pawpoo and Granny’s patio with sidewalk chalk (and smearing it all over her face)…

And then wrapped up the day with a good long swing with her Uncle Collin…

All in all, I’d say those were great days at work! And I’m glad that my favorite girl got to spend them with me! ๐Ÿ™‚

Dinner with Friends

Cadence and I have officially arrived safely back in Nebraska, and other than a bit of grouchiness getting buckled in for the flight (after almost an hour and a half delay), the trip went smoothly. Yippee!

The only bad part about the end of a trip is how much you miss everyone almost immediately. But as much as Pawpoo and Granny and Whitney and Collin and Cadence and I are all missing each other, I think it’s probably Mojo that misses Cadence the most. I mean, who else is going to hand feed him breakfast and make sure he gets enough to eat?

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