Things to Do - Grateful List (December 2014)

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I basically spent December on the couch . .

* Watching Broad City, season 1
* Watching Puberty Blues, season 2
* Watching Transparent, Season 1
* Watching Broadchurch, Season 1
* Watching The One I Love (netflix streaming)
* Watching Parks and Rec as a family (the kids love Chris Pratt and most of the inappropriate stuff goes over their heads. Plus, Leslie Knope is a pretty decent role model)
* Listening to Serial, season 1
* Watching Who Is Dayani Cristal?
* Watching Searching for Sugarman
* Reading 33 Artists in 3 Acts
* Reading Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel
* Reading Euphoria
* Reading American Innovations: Stories
* Reading Lila and Gilead

* Yard's Park Ice Cream Jubilee
* Chipotle catering for our solstice happy hour (so. much. food.)

* Lighthouses and trains at the US Botanic Gardens (Washington D.C.)
* Taking the kids to the Gifts that Give Hope Gift Fair (Arlington, VA)

VACATIONS (New Orleans, VA with girlfriends)
* 4 pm til 2 am on Bourbon Street (so. much. fun.)
* "Your hair looks like you're from Texas"
* Margarita pitchers at Felipe's
* Dinner with live jazz off Frenchman Street

* My new earrings from the outdoor market off Frenchman Street
* My new winter coat
* Stick on mustaches
* Epipens (sometimes you need them)
* P and her pogo stick; F and her basketball; T and his Kindle Fire

* F writing lunch notes for her siblings (T's said "have you teacher read this to you: Eat Your Carrots!")
* P to her best friend, "I just don't understand how my parents still believe in Santa when I'm convinced he isn't real. It just doesn't make any sense."
* Friends who drive you to lunch and playgroup
* Friends who pick your kids up for school everyday and drop them off (thank you!! thank you!!)
* "Mom, I never thought you did much. But now that you broke your foot I realize that you used to do a lot." - P
* A fantastic kid-friendly NYE (Thank you Dori and Chris!!)
* Wonderful Christmas and Christmas Eve dinners with Dan's family
* Dan's parents taking the kids to Richmond for 4 days (thank you!!)


F - my family, a nice house to live in and food to eat, that everything is so great, Christmas

P - my family, a nice house to live in and food to eat, school, gymnastics, my friends

T - my family, a nice house to live in and food to eat, the countdown to Christmas


Things to Read - The Book With No Pictures

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We don't read many new picture books anymore. The girls seem to have outgrown them and T's the kind of kid who always wants to read the same books over and over. But we bought this a few months ago and the kids still can't stop laughing. All three kids. Even the nine year old.

What about you? Any funny children's books to recommend?


Things to Make - Science Experiment Kits for Grade Schoolers

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Over winter break, F's teacher sent home these "science kits" with each of her students. The kits include directions for 10 relatively simple experiments with succinct, understandable explanations (when people teach science to kids, I find that they often go for the "bang" over the explanatory, thus my children rarely understand the difference between magic and science). Nothing too messy. Nothing too complicated. Plus, Ms. C included all the necessary materials (toothpicks, marshmallows, etc.).

By the end of break, Dan had the flu and my foot remained broken, so our days weren't exactly fun-filled. Luckily, this kit kept T and F occupied for an entire afternoon. And they worked together (with F reading the directions and T putting the pieces together) which is a miracle in itself. A winter break miracle.

When I wrote Ms. C to thank her, she told me that the instructions for the kits (there are several) are available for download from this website. I think these would be awesome for birthday parties, either as favors or for the party itself. Or even just store the kits in the closet and have them ready for a rainy/snowy day.


Things to Do - This Untamed Life, Cold

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I apologize in advance, as this week will probably be low on posts (but new things are coming! new things are coming!). P's home sick today with the flu, the same flu Dan had in December and T had in early January. I'm starting to live in fear, especially since this virus really knocks everyone out. Recovery takes weeks.

Oh well, it's January, what did I expect? And at least I'm walking again. That alone feels epic.

This week, This Untamed Life is featuring "cold" images. I haven't taken many photos lately (that sentence alone seems odd). Call it a rut. Though I did finally update my website. Check it out here, isn't it much better? And my goal for the year is to keep up a professional blog. Fingers crossed I can make this work.

Anyways, despite the icky, rainy days (yes, I said rain, as snow remains rather elusive this year), F keeps insisting we go to the park and play basketball. This is odd for me as I've never really played basketball. My sole experience involves feeling claustrophobic in high school gym as tall people hovered above me. Anyways, I'm supposed to add on that F doesn't really like this photo as her hands are positioned wrong. She'd like everyone to know this is due to movement that occurred after the ball was thrown and that she DOES know how to properly throw a ball (for that, you'll have to trust her because I DO NOT know how to properly throw a ball). Oh well, the shot really captures January, so I'm going with it, hopefully F will forgive me.

If you have a chance, click on over to This Untamed Life to check out other "cold" images.

Happy Monday everyone!!


Things to Do - Cherish This Day & Random Links

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Poor T had a fever for four (five?) days, so life just sort of meandered on while he camped out on the couch.

Happy Friday everyone!! Don't forget to click on over to Cherish This Day to see the rest of this week's images.


* 7 cultural concepts we don't have in the U.S. I could use a little Friluftsliv.

* Life and death at 500 pounds.

* Funny. "We will not be vaccinating our baby. Please vaccinate all other babies on this floor."

* Easy at-home facial recipes. Though I still swear by this recipe to brighten up dull, winter skin.

* I love this project for inspiring creativity. It would be fun with the kids or on your own.

* Great new podcasts. Has anyone listened to any of these? Rumor has it that this is the new Serial.

* 10 boring things that moms find awesome.

* Josh Ritter just gets better and better.


Things to Watch - Netflixing (January 2015)

We watched A LOT of TV in the last month or so. Here are some of the highlights:


* Big Fish (Movie) - One of my favorite family movie nights ever. In case you're not familiar with this cinematic masterpiece, Big Fish is about the estrangement between a tall-tale telling father and a truth seeking son. Tim Burton directed the film, so that alone lets you know it is over the top creative/bizarre. (Spoiler alert - this is a sad movie with some adult "themes", but no sex or violence, making it a great movie to watch with kids.)

* The Bad News Bears (Old school 1970s movie) - Friends warned us that this classic is not exactly kid-appropriate by modern day definitions. Luckily, we chose to ignore them. The drunk coach gives all the children beers to celebrate the end of the season. Seven year olds swear like truck drivers. A young Tatum O'Neal announces to the coach "I know an 11-year-old girl who is already on the pill." On the upside, almost all of this (minus the beer) went over my children's heads. Plus, the league's best pitcher is a girl (girls rock!) and the movie ends with the upbeat message of teamwork over victory.

* Love it or List It (TV show) - HGTV has made its way to Netflix. Yay!!!

* Parks and Recreation (TV show) - One night the kids couldn't sleep and they walked in on me watching this show, within minutes they couldn't stop laughing. All three kids find Andy hysterical (who doesn't?). They admire Leslie Knope (while still laughing at her). And, for better or worse, Knope is one of the best female role models on tv these days (she gets sh** done). Most of the inappropriate jokes go over their heads. Maybe I'm a bad parent, but our whole family now loves Parks and Recreation. (FYI - The first season is a little slow, and Season 2 has some iffy material, so I recommend starting with season 3).


* Robin Hood (the Disney cartoon movie you might remember from your own childhood) - T has loved this for years. And now thanks to our ipad and Netflix he can watch it over and over. And I can't stop singing the theme song. Remember? "Robin Hood and Little John walking through the forest . . ."

* Jessie, season 5 (TV show) - Now available. Complete with Michelle Obama guest appearance.

* Chima (TV show) - I have no idea what this Lego show is about, but T finds it "awesome".

* My Babysitter's a Vampire (TV show) - Dumbest. TV Show. Ever. The girls love it.


* The One I Love (movie) - Have you seen this movie? I don't even know how to explain it. A dysfunctional married couple goes away for the weekend and things get weird. That's about all I can say without spoiling anything. It is an odd movie. Yet fascinating. And somewhat funny. You should watch it. Really, watch it. Like now.

* Ken Burn's the Civil War (Mini series) - Sometimes Dan makes the kids watch this with him. They ask if they can do chores instead.

* Friends (yes, the WHOLE series is now available for streaming) - Nostalgia. Very serious nostalgia.

* Broadchurch (Mini series) - A BBC series about a missing boy. Like all of the "missing child/girl" series produced lately, this starts off incredibly sad. And then you find yourself wrapped in the mystery and binge-watching until 2 am.

* Ida (2015 Academy Award nominee for best foreign film) - I found this film slow. And sad. Nobody in the film talks much, which, as a talker, I find odd; silence confuses me. Worth watching for the cinematography alone; every shot is incredible.

* Snowpiercer (2015 Academy Award Snub) - You either like this movie or you don't. Dan really liked it. I really did not. It involves all that's left of humanity living on a train speeding through a snow covered earth. If that plot sounds interesting to you, then watch it.

* Who Is Dayani Cristal? (Documentary)
- Documentary about an illegal immigrant found dead in the desert and the search to identify him. It also "stars" Gael García Bernal, always a plus. Prepare to cry.

* How to Marry a Millionaire (1953 Marilyn Monroe movie) - This movie was so much funnier than I expected it to be.

* The Immigrant (2015 Academy award front runner that the studio decided not to promote) - An immigrant forced into prostitution. Joaquin Phoenix is excellent as her pimp/obsessed admirer.


**** Disclaimer - I am part of Netflix's "stream team" and thus received an Ipad mini and a Netflix subscription for posting about their movies. The content of the post, however, is entirely mine.


Things to Do - 12 in 12 (January 2015)

Monday, January 12th was a rainy, miserable Monday and I just couldn't muster the energy to photograph anything. So I waited until the 19th (MLK day) to document our day. Plus, by the 19th I was finally walking again (yay!! my broken foot is 85% healed, no more boot for me!!).

Don't forget to click on over to Where the Watermelons Grow and Not-So-SAHM to see how their Monday went.

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9:30 am - T had a fever for the past four days, but he seems to be on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, all he wants to do is lounge on the couch with the ipad.

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10:00 am - Best friends.

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11:00 am - Grocery shopping completed.


noon - Arrive at the National Zoo. Considering it is January, I assumed we'd have the place to ourselves. But all the good parking lots are full and we have to park in the E lot (i.e. Siberia).

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12:15 pm - Finally make it to the Reptile House.

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12:20 pm - Meet up with our friends.


12:35 pm - Still reptiling.

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1:15 pm - Group shots after our picnic lunch.

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2:00 pm - The kids want to stack and unstack these chairs. Um, yeah . . ?

[head back to our house - Rachel and I catch up while the kids play]

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6:00 pm - Rachel and Scott for dinner. Dan cooks halibut that a friend caught in Alaska. Wow, I'm not usually a fish fan, but this stuff is amazing.

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9:00 pm - Dan knocking down the pieces after my amazing Settlers of Catan victory (see all the white cities? they were mine, all mine, not that I'm gloating or anything).

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9:30 pm - Why are they all in my bed and how do I make them leave?


Things to Do - Best Client Photos (2014) & Random Links

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Since I've spent the week summarizing 2014, I thought I'd end with some of my favorite client photos from 2014. If you're interested in a family or engagement/wedding photos, please contact me at darcytroutman@hotmail.com. I do "on location" portrait shoots as well as photographing families at home (from pillow fights on the lawn to hard-won games of Clue).



* Legofriends as superheros.

* Fun.

* I really want one of these customized prints. So cute.

* Funny.

* Female street artists.

* Children's books from unexpected authors.

* Doesn't this look like the perfect winter meal? (and easy too).


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