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NWI Parent
NWI Parent

Photographer and writer mom of two, Beth always brings a new twist to the suburban mundane.

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Finding the light

July 28th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

“finding the light.”

I feel like that’s my focus lately. I’m constantly trying to find the light when it comes to photography and taking just the right photo.

I’m also trying to find the light in my life. Like the “light at the end of the tunnel” sort of thing. I’m always so buried in everything from housework to work-work to relationship work…sometimes I forget that relationships need work, too.

This past weekend we packed up and headed to a water park. We were there for 48 hours. I was honestly aware of the time I wasn’t worried about laundry or making beds or sweeping the kitchen floor. When I floated around the lazy river with my kids, I relished in the fact that I was playing with them. It was so fun.

{For all of us.}

When I’m photographing a subject, I turn my back to the light, to capture the light in my subjects eyes, I watch how the light reflects off of their face. I capture that light, as best as I can. I grab that moment with my camera and it’s captured forever.

I’ve decided I need to do the same in real life as I do my subject’s. Turn towards the light, the bright, beautiful, blinding light that I’m always too busy to notice. I need to capture and hold on to it.

Forever.

Filed under: parent.

Admissions

July 13th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

Sometimes, I give my kids gum in the car so I can have some peace and quiet. Which is sad because I think I am missing out on so many stimulating conversations in the car, like “Mom, why do people smoke?” and “Mom, why is the bible so huge?” and “Mom, guess what’s in my pocket. Nope. Guess again. Nope, guess again.” and “Mom, can we play in the pool when we get home?” and “Mom, why does Eli always cry in the car?” That last question is typically yelled over Eli crying.

It’s endless. So, you know. The (sugarfree) gum is a good option and while I’m admitting things, I often let them watch movies in the car but I promise it’s only to give them some down time because during the summer they run around all day long and I just think their little bodies and minds must be so tired from all of the running and pretending and everything.

And that’s what I tell myself.

And funny, I believe myself.

(but I also believe I’ll regret these decisions later in life, when they’re in college or moved away with their own kids when they’ll be giving gum to in the car for a moment of peace and quiet.)

We have issues at night, sometimes and they’re just little issues so really I should say “sometimes, we have a small issue at night,” but I’m trying to sound dramatic. Anyway, after tucking the kids to bed, Anna, the oldest, likes to get out of bed and pretend to have had a bad dream. Sometimes she can’t make up a new “fake” dream quick enough so she just repeats the one from the night before. Apparently, she thinks we are REALLY dumb.

Last night, while tucking her into bed, I warned her, “Anna, if you get out of bed, you will be grounded from gum for ONE WEEK.” She gasped a bit but then said “okay.

(Another thing about Anna is that she likes to test us.)

So, sure enough. I had just finished picking up my bathroom and I walk out and there she is trying to cry and told me the same “dream” she had the night before.

I was so upset. Not just because she got out of bed but also because now I can’t give her gum in the car for an ENTIRE WEEK.

I think maybe I’m punishing myself which means, she’s right. I AM DUMB.

Filed under: parent.

Run, Forrest

June 19th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

I’m going to try to become a runner.

I don’t know if it will work or not but I’m going to try. Ten years ago, when I lived in Chicago, I was seeing a physical therapist because I fell down concrete stairs at work. (That’s a story for another time, EXCEPT NOT.) He was working with my knees and told me what I had assumed “you should never be a runner.” I’ve always had problems with my knees and now that I have this extra weight and additional years on them, I can feel it.

But I still want to try. Why?

Because I notice that runners like to run, they like to exercise and also? They look great. So, I kind of want to do that, too.

Encouraged by my sister, I’ve decided to try the Couch to 5K Program. I started this past Monday and although my legs were killing me, I was glad to be out exercising. I’m still working on finding the right shoes, I’m hoping that will take some of the ache out of my legs but until then, I plan to keep trying.

And even though I’ve only been out twice (the third time in a few hours, which is accordingly to plan), I can already tell a shift in my mood. I’m in a better mood. And that feels better than any weight loss ever could.

It’s amazing the power of exercise has over your life and your body. I like it - and I hope I never lose this momentum.

Filed under: parent.

Everyday gifts

June 12th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

Let’s see.

Elijah is now almost 11 weeks old.

Seven years ago, when Anna was 11 weeks old we probably conceived Noah. I’m not sure about my math but it was pretty darn close. All I know is that Anna was in her bouncy seat at a very young age when I took a pregnancy test that turned out positive.

I was totally and completely caught off guard. Brian was totally and completely caught off guard. Our dinner had just been delivered, in one hand, a slice of pizza, the other, a positive pregnancy test.

I remember driving to the drug store to buy another pregnancy test, in case the last one was defective, and crying because I had JUST started drinking diet coke again and I had to give it up. Again.

And also crying because OhMyGod. I was pregnant.

The kids are less than a year apart, that first year was one of the most difficult times we’ve ever had to endure. We never rested, we never had time to ourselves, sacrifices were made. Every single day.

And in return, we have two kids who truly are the best of friends.

Even on their bad days? They have each other. The way they know each other and comfort each other is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Yesterday, I watched them sitting together on top of their slide in the backyard, eating their ice cream cones, looking nearly like twins, surveying the neighborhood and having a conversation.

Individually they are incredible. Together, they take my breath away.

They don’t always get along. But when they do it’s awesome. And in the next few years I know their relationship will certainly have it’s trials and thunderstorms.

But twenty years down the road, I know they’ll always be grateful that they have one another. It’s an amazing gift.

How can we not give the same to Elijah?

{Edited to add: No, I am NOT pregnant!}

Filed under: parent.

Foul Play

May 26th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

I don’t want to be one of the people who points fingers and blames everybody else for the social problems that exist everywhere, but today, I’m going to.

I’m blaming parents. Probably not you or you.

But maybe you.

(Oh, I feel like such a jerk already.)

The other day, I had a photo shoot, in a very public place. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and people were everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

And everywhere we walked, parents were yelling at their kids, not just yelling but SWEARING, using the foulest of the foul language. I was appalled. I was more than appalled.

I was mortified.

Everywhere we walked, these “conversations” were taking place with young children and every other word was a word I haven’t used in years. Okay, months.

Weeks.

Okay. Hours.

But never, ever in front of my children.

So, yesterday, I’m vacuuming, because my floors were covered in crumbs, (but I may have been more thorough because the sound was apparently soothing to Eli and he was actually sleeping during the day,) when Anna approaches me and says “is damnit a bad word?” Her friend taught her the word.

This after another friend taught her the word “ass.”

In my house? BOOYAH is a bad word, JERK is forbidden. We don’t say DUMB, IDIOT, FART, HATE, STUPID, SHUTUP. Not just my kids. Even us, the parents.

I like that they see those words as words that should never be used.

It’s not that I expect them to grow up never using these words, I just wasn’t expecting it, yet.

I just wish we could all be a little more careful. It’s not just our own children we are affecting, it’s other children, as well.

Be good. Teach good.

Filed under: parent.

Around here.

May 15th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

I’m feeling kind of in love with where I live right now.

Right here, in Northwest Indiana.

Finally, the weather is getting better, (although it’s not great.) (but I’m not complaining.) (okay, maybe a little bit.)

I feel like I’m part of a community right now. And not just any community but a community that is starting to get how important it is to provide family friendly activities in clean areas. Activities that have our earth in mind, places that offer a variety of different sites and sounds and tastes.

Yesterday, we went to Evelyn Bay which is one of my favorite places, although I don’t go often enough. I can bring my kids there, it’s wide open, it’s quiet, yet fun and it’s always friendly. There are couches where I can nurse, if I need to and Wi-fi, if I feel like working. And now they just starting serving pizza which um … I LOVE PIZZA.

This morning, I packed up the three (THREE!) kids and we went to Chesterton for the European Market and my has it grown since the last time I went there! The vendors are fantastic, I walked away with homemade cookies, a beautiful bouquet of flowers and an amazing handmade necklace. And the kids? HAD A BLAST. We can’t wait to go back. Probably every week.

I ran into friends and old aquiantences, live music played in the background and the smell of delicious food filled the area.

This afternoon, I took the kids to Butterfly Play park, this after dropping off our shoes for a fundraiser held at Uptown Cafe.

The park is clean and safe and so beautiful. For now, we are inside, it’s cloudy out and becoming chilly but we look forward to tomorrow, where we can go for a walk in Coffee Creek and finish eating those delicious homemade cookies.

I can’t wait for next weekend.

Filed under: parent.

Just doing it

April 29th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

Six years ago, we had a newborn and a one year old. Not an “old” one year old, a one year old who just turned one.

Now, we have a newborn, a six year old and a seven year old.

I honestly can’t get over how difficult having a newborn is, but mostly, I can’t figure out how I managed that first year with both BABIES six years ago. I can remember friends asking me “how do you do it?” and I’d always answer with “I just do it, I don’t have a choice.” I thought that was such a cute answer.

But seriously? How DID I do it?

How did I manage? Did I? How did I keep the house clean? Was it? How did Brian and I survive our marriage? (We did but we have bruises that are slowly fading.) The laundry? The feeding? The bathing. The everything.

It’s a blur, I don’t remember much and much of what I do remember I remember because we took a photo but the rest of it? It’s gone. Vanished from my memory.

And I’m disappointed about that but mostly I’m scared that it’s going to happen again with Elijah. That these moments, even the really hard ones, (which are way too many right now) I don’t just want to survive these moments, I want to remember them.

I want to remember what happened that pulled me out of that day that I got peed on and never had time to change my shirt. (okay, that was yesterday), was it a first smile? An older sibling loving on a baby? An older sibling loving on Mama? My Mom helping the older kids with homework while I nurse the baby? Friends always bringing us dinner? Daddy coming home from work with flowers? A kiss on the forehead before he leaves for work?

I don’t want to forget those good moments that rescue me from the hard ones.

So, I better pay closer attention to the good ones than the bad ones, starting now, when I finally had time to sit down and update this blog.

Filed under: parent.

At it again

April 16th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

I’m certainly stunned by how difficult having a newborn is and this is my third baby. How did I survive the first one? I don’t know but I did and that’s all I am focusing on. And now that first newborn? She’s seven and gets report cards and wears flats and prefers to wear her perfume on her wrists rather than her shirt.

Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy this time because it doesn’t last very long, secretly I think “THANK GOD” because this is hard and I miss my family but also I think “I know this, I know this, I know this, now where are those kissable cheeks and tiny toes, oh yes, ON MY BREAST.” Always on my breast.

The third child is tricky because I do have two other kids who go to school and who require lunches, help with homework and have your basic bathing needs.

Then there’s the housework and the fatigue … oh my gosh, the fatigue. I forgot what tired REALLY is. We are trying to steal away moments, in between feedings, homework and getting peed on, ones that teach the older kids that having a baby really was a good idea and that YES, he does do more than cry. (I think.)

We still try to eat together and when we can’t we compromise. Today the kids came home from school and we sat on the floor and ate M&M’s, they liked the M&M’s, I liked the time together and it all worked out.

Just like this newborn phase, it’s all going to work out.

Filed under: parent.

Friends

March 25th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

Our neighborhood is full of children and sidewalks and we even have a playground. It really is a fun place for kids to grow up.

Of course, I am a pretty over-protective parent, so I prefer my kids to be snug in our backyard, right where I can see or hear them every single second.

Over the winter, two children moved in right next door. A boy and a girl. The girl is one year younger than my daughter (which makes her my son’s age) and the boy is one year younger than my son. We’ve only had a few days where the weather was decent enough for them to play outside but when they did the new neighbor kids were outside, too.

We are amazed at how quickly the four began to play together and for how long and with so much laughter and no fighting.

It’s actually peaceful.

And it’s also amazing because these two kids who just moved in this winter? Do not speak English. At all.

And the four? Really get along, they really seem to like each other. I feel like they teach me a lesson every time they go outside and play. A lesson to let my guard down and just play.

The best part for me, however? Is when those neighbor kids make poop and fart jokes, my kids will never know the difference.

I think that is pretty awesome.

Filed under: parent.

The book of Love

March 10th, 2010 - By Beth Fletcher

I live by the book.

The book of routines and living by what is right and what I think I’m supposed to do. My kids do chores, they have five servings of fruits and vegetables everyday and they sleep eleven hours each night. I plan meals, they fill out chore charts each night and we have designated reading time before bed.

It’s good, it keeps us all straight and healthy, we forget to do very little and our kids know what to expect.

It’s a little boring. BUT IT WORKS.

Tonight felt different, it was warm outside, I had energy, the kids were in great moods and Daddy had just done the grocery shopping. I felt like living. (see how easy I am?)

So, Anna and I prepared dinner, cheeseburgers, tater tots and mixed vegetables. Which is normal.

We played music while we prepared dinner. Which is normal. But this night? We danced to Taylor Swift and laughed. (how can you not laugh at a 36 week pregnant woman dancing?)

But when the kids asked for chocolate milk? I SAID YES. And I made it extra, extra chocolate-y.

And for dessert, rather than serving fruit for dessert, I served hot fudge sundaes with sprinkles and a cherry on top. After dinner, rather than racing around cleaning off the table and picking up dinner, we sat and talked about what to expect when the baby arrives. We talked about James and Jake, we talked about future children, I talked to my six year old son about nursing.

We sat. We listened. We conversated. We became really excited.

All of this inspired by love. And inspired by Love and the type of person and Mother that she is. (go meet her now and maybe live like her, at least for one night.)

Filed under: parent.

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