Monday, April 29, 2013

Dear Me,

If I had to write my 2010-self a letter today, it would mostly just say

Dear Me,



The other night, I picked Edie up from daycare and on the way home, had the thought that we literally had nothing to eat for dinner. Not even my usual back-up of breakfast for dinner ingredients were at home. So instead of dwelling on my failure to keep a well stocked kitchen, I decided to be Fun Mom and take Edie to Red Robin at Northgate Mall. Because, guys. I'm not proud, but sometimes Edie and I like to go there. It's like a quarter mile from my house, it's on the route home from daycare, there's lots of parking, never a line, I secretly like their garden burger and bottomless steak fries and also? The other children dining there make my kid look super awesome and well behaved, which obviously makes me feel really good about my parenting after having just felt bad about my ability to grocery shop on a weekly basis.

But I digress.

So I take her to Red Robin and she thoughtfully considers her kid's menu with pictures. When the waitress comes to our table and asks us if we know what we want, Edie answers first. She makes eye contact and says loudly and clearly, "I would like to order the macaroni and cheese please." The waitress looks sort of bemused by a 3 year old ordering for herself but follows up with, "And for your side dish?" and Edie says, "I'll have mandarin oranges AND broccoli." And you guys, I DIE.

Suddenly, all I could think of was myself 3 years ago, trying desperately to get Edie to eat anything. Like, ANYTHING. And she hated all food and I really felt so, so stressed about it. Like she would never learn to eat and why was my kid so difficult?!

Edie's refusal to eat food at 6 months was such a big deal to me at the time. And now I look back and wonder what I was really worried about. And then I had an Oprah-style light bulb moment - perhaps this translates to the things I'm currently worried about!! Maybe when I fret for hours on end about whether Edie should go to kindergarten in 2014 or 2015 ... wait for it... it actually doesn't really matter! Regardless of how much I stress out - it will all work itself out in the end. Right?

In summation:

Dear Me,
Chill out.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Next Chapter

I'm going to be honest with you for a second. Haha! I said that like I'm not usually honest. Funny, right? Because not that long ago I told you a horrifying story about my daughter sticking a Cheerio up her nose and how I got it out. So I guess what I should say is that I'm going to CONTINUE to be honest with you - but about a new subject.


The last few -- okay, 8 months have been various levels of rough at the Culver house. We've had some very lovely times too, but mostly things have been stressful. And the root cause of this is work. The problem -- okay ONE of the problems has been that Jeff and I both have jobs that we essentially invented. So when work is stressful, we really have no one to blame but ourselves. And when you work for yourself, it's very hard to know if this is a "phase" that is necessary to go through so that you can then come out the other side. And it is also very hard to know when and where this "other side" is. Are we there yet? How about now? No?

When Jeff left Wamu, or rather, when Wamu went down in flames, Jeff helped with the Chase Bank transition and then started his own firm wherein he does various levels of consulting on design, marketing and brand development. The first year was incredibly stressful because we decided that it was also a good year to have a baby and for me to quit my job. This goes against our typically risk-averse decision making pattern, but his severance package combined with our savings allowed us a year of risk and it paid off.

After hustling for a year, working on various small scale projects - Jeff got an email out of the blue from a large restaurant group in Seattle asking about employing his firm (i.e. him) to market their restaurants. They'd seen some of his work or something, and liked it. I still remember the email, because it came in while we were spending a week on Orcas, just the three of us. It was early August, and things took off very quickly after that.

Jeff eventually started renting a tiny (like the size of a closet-tiny) office in Fremont and he became very busy - redesigning websites, menus, shopping for restaurant lighting, naming a new catering space, you get the idea. Other clients started coming in. And from that email on Orcas until July of 2012, I'd say that while things were stressful, there was almost always time for an episode of Mad Men after Edie went to bed. And at least MY work schedule was manageable. I was able to pick up the slack at home while Jeff worked his ass off turning his company into a legitimate thing.

But then this July, an old colleague from Wamu reached out and quickly hired him for a big project at the Gates Foundation. It was a major coup. And then like 1 day later, he got another job for a different team at the Foundation. And meanwhile, he still has all his old clients to keep happy. And then one of his clients at the Foundation referred him to a third team and now he has more work than one human should be doing. He has a virtual company with something like 6 or 7 part-time contractors working for  and with him.

And suddenly we can afford to buy me a new car and talk of resuming long-dormant house projects is resuming ... but.  BUT.  Watching Jeff work this much is sort of like watching one of those thrillers where Matt Damon just keeps getting dirtier and bloodier and by the end he's limping around with shards of glass in his hair, a gunshot wound in his foot and all I can focus on is that THE MAN NEEDS A BATH AND A DOCTOR. Like all I want is to cut to the end where he's all bandaged up and rested. And clean.

Which is not to say that Jeff is dirty. And he hasn't been shot. But he just keeps dragging himself around, working until 2 or 3am and eating power bars instead of meals. It's hard to watch. AND. To add to this, I decided this Fall that, "Hey! Maybe I'll start my own company too!" So now Jeff is crazy busy, my work load is building, some of which involves taking trips for work, and we are farming Edie out to grandparents and Jeff is doing solo parenting and ... well... it's been rough.

But it's hard when I say that, because I also want to convey how amazing it is to know that this thing Jeff is doing, this company he is building - he did it without any handouts, without any built-in clients. It's taken time and a ridiculous number of late nights, but it seems we are on the precipice of something big: The Next Chapter.

Jeff signed the lease this week on an office space for his company. We took a family field trip with the first load of supplies this afternoon. I have a picture my Mom took of my Dad in 1980, in front of his new office space (my Dad also owns his own company, which he started when I was a baby), holding me in his arms with his office in the background. I couldn't help but think of that photo when I snapped these today:

I'm so hopeful - for Jeff and for our family - that this space offers him the opportunity to hire co-workers that will share space with him. Which will make his work-life more rewarding, more efficient, and hopefully, less stressful.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ballard market

Just a regular Sunday with my unicorn, watching a one-man-band, and eating a hot dog in the sunshine.

While a giant 2 year old does a jig in the background.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Homemaker of the Year!

Ding ding ding! I win! We are having Annie's mac and cheese from a box and oven chicken nuggets for dinner.

Man. I suck.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easter Wedding

Photos from my cousin Lisa's Easter weekend wedding:

My brother and cousin Sarah
 Lisa and Ed - the bride and groom:
 My Mom with my niece Caroline:

 My Mom, Sister in law and me with Caroline:

I told Jeff not to wear a tie (he loves wearing ties) because the wedding would be too informal. The first thing my uncle Ross said to Jeff - "What - no tie??"

 An old tradition with our families of seeing who is taller. It was close but I think Lisa might be a half inch taller than me.

 The cake:

The BBQ Dinner:
 I love these next ones for many reasons, but mostly because no one else noticed this private photo shoot Jeff had with my uncle Ross:

 Edie with her "cousin" Hannah (my cousin's daughter):

Looking back up at the party from outside:

My parents!
 Fun with shadows:

 Dance party:

 Father daughter dance:

 The three girls playing outside:

Friday, April 12, 2013


Sorry for my mopey post last night. After a few rough spots last night around 9:45, Edie actually slept all night long without a problem. I don't know how many years it will take me learn that I always regret having a public bitch session...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sick - again

Edie is sick for the millionth time this year.

I really thought we were done - Spring had arrived, bringing with it, the end of cold and flu season. But instead I am back in my own personal hell of being woken up every 20 minutes, all night long by coughing and weeping (but not necessarily in that order). I think at 1am last night -- after being woken for the 9th time by an angry coughing fit turned need for a (specific) sweater to wear over her pajamas (?) that I told her I couldn't find and she yelled, "ACTUALLY you CAN!" like I was a total idiot -- I might have apologized to Jeff for ever talking him into making a baby with me, thereby ruining our lives forever and ever.

Anyways, apologies for the lack of posts. And for my bad attitude. Obvi, I don't really wish my kid away. It's just that I'm so very tired. And being a parent is the hardest job that you can't ever quit. For even a minute.

Sooooo, thanks for coming to my pity party without realizing you'd RSVP'd to the lamest party ever.

I'd like to share our Easter weekend photos (of which there are many), but I have no energy to write something thoughtful. It's 9:30 and I'm heading to bed, John-Bruton-style. Actually, if I was really trying to rip off my Dad's style, I'd fall asleep on top of the bed with my book tented on my chest. At 9pm. Or maybe even 8:45. And I'd definitely be snoring loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Hi Dad! Love you.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Taken by Jeff at my cousin Lisa's wedding Easter weekend. We just took like 300 photos off our camera from the wedding and they aren't all synced onto my laptop yet, but this one just popped up and I couldn't resist posting right away:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Cheerio Incident Part Deux

Some of you faithful readers will recall the "original Cheerio incident" of 2010.

Well, yesterday we had ourselves the sequel. I left Edie downstairs watching morning cartoons and munching on dry Cheerios in the living room while heading upstairs for a quick shower. When I exited the bathroom, all sounded peaceful downstairs so I ambled into the bedroom to get dressed. While standing in the bedroom with my pants unzipped and no shirt on, I heard Edie go totally ballistic downstairs. Like, Defcon Level 5 hysterics. I booked it downstairs while pulling on a shirt to be greeted by a naked kid (this not relevant to the story but added to the general ridiculousness of the situation because she was totally dressed when I left her downstairs not 6 minutes prior). She was flailing around, and kept screaming "We need to go to the doctor! THE DOCTOR!! I stuck a Cheerio up my NOSE!!!!!"  I looked up her nose and saw nothing - the Cheerio had obviously traveled a great distance.

Long story short -- I got caught up in the hysterics for a minute, thinking, "GREAT. Just how I wanted to spend my Saturday morning - at the Urgent Care Clinic." before it dawned on me that I could probably solve this problem on my own. I told her to chill the fuck out, plugged the empty nostril and told her we might not have to go to the hospital (which seemed to freak her out the most) if she blew her nose super hard at the count of 3.

Three seconds later, I was holding a disgusting Cheerio in my hand. For the second time in 3 years.

Crises averted.  We spent our morning at the farmers market instead of Children's Hospital.