Oh, I am so glad to be home. That whole trip was a bit . . . tedious. I say that thinking of how sometimes I’ll read someone’s blog entry where they’ll mention how their kid was up all night with the barfing flu and how that was kind of exhausting and if you haven’t been in that particular situation before you might think, well, bummer, and move on — but if you have in fact been up during the night with a barfing child you know exactly how utterly horrific it is, how exhausted you are and how your reserves are at an all-time low when the clock reads 3:24 AM and there is barf everywhere, dear god, the logistics of the cleanup job before you is nearly too much to consider and yet you MUST, and there’s that nerve-shattering sound of bathwater cascading into the tub at the completely wrong time of day, and the ominous hum of the washing machine, and you’re worried half out of your mind that your kid has actually contracted some rare African strain of Barf-Then-Die-itis, and you’re thinking, wow, this whole parenthood thing was a really, REALLY terrible idea, and most of all you know that you’ll be repeating the entire process, perhaps as soon as 3:52 AM — anyway, the word “exhausting” doesn’t really cover it, but sometimes that’s all the author can bring themselves to say about the subject.

So: tedious. It was a tedious summer vacation, and I am dying to get back to all my supposedly non-relaxing things like work and freelance projects and even struggling to make it through 20 minutes of 30 Day Shred without voiding my bladder/horking a lung out my right nostril/succumbing to the sweet, sweet relief of death.

Somebody left me a comment once about how family photos are like looking at ducks in the water, how you only see part of what’s really there — all the furious paddling underneath is hidden. I love that, it’s so true, and it’s one of the reasons I love taking so many pictures. It helps me remember and focus on the good moments, and let the memories fade of the churn it took just to make it through the day.

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ShannonJ
ShannonJ
15 years ago

Great post, great pictures. Love that last one. Happy Birthday Riley! Suspicious of helicopters, is he? :)

Mary O
Mary O
15 years ago

I love that you let him lick the cake. What fun parents you are.

Felicia
Felicia
15 years ago

Dude, if you can’t lick the cake on your birthday, it’s no birthday at all! Amen, sister!

justmouse (now chaosmomm)

i always love your pictures, but DUDE! that last one?? i am totally gonna eat my cake like that this year! that is AWESOME!!!

Anne W
15 years ago

The boy licking the cake made me guffaw out loud. I never manage to get moments like that on camera.

Caleal
15 years ago

I am in LOVE with that last picture. Everything about it is perfect, perfect.

Also, now I need some cake.

Ashleas
Ashleas
15 years ago

OM NOM NOM NOM.

Sarah
15 years ago

I *love* that last picture! So adorable!

It reminds me of the pic from my 1st birthday–I was left unattended in the presence of the cake for a miniscule amount of time, and the picture was snapped just after I’d grabbed two handfuls of cake, smeared them over my face in the process of eating, and gone back for two more.

Ahh, kids. Good times.

Samantha
15 years ago

I always love to look at your pictures. I never leave without laughing out loud at least one of them.

Happy birthday Riley!!!

harmony
15 years ago

Dude, I have been reading your journal since before you had this domain name, and I was here when you found out you were pregnant with Riley all the way up to now, and I STILL cannot fucking believe the kid is three years old. There is NO WAY that can be right.

Jesus, we are all getting old. Next thing you know he’ll have a driver’s license and a girlfriend.

So, was this your W photo shoot ala Brangelina, except you look like a happy family instead of bored hitmen? It looks very magazine-worthy.

Casey
15 years ago

Wow, those pictures are so vibrant. It makes me want to trade in flat Florida for someplace with hills. And less hurricanes threatening to obliterate us on a daily basis.

I’m glad Riley had a nice birthday. I’d be suspicious of that helicopter too, it’s bigger than him! Dylan is so friggin cute, I think I might try to set him up with my daughter in a few years if that’s ok.

She Likes Purple
15 years ago

I love that picture of Riley licking the cake. It reminds me of a really cheesy commercial love where this little girl steps on her birthday cake. I don’t know why, but I love it so much, and her parents are cheering her on. It’s her cake, her day. This reminds me of that.

You have a beautiful family.

Shelley
15 years ago

Yes, vacation indeed. We took one of those a few weeks ago. Only one toddler (2.5 years) but a 7.5 months pregnant me. A 10 hour drive. A family cottage with 1 grandparent present for 1.5 days. When he left we got sick. And it rained the entire time, leaving not much outdoors time and lots of indoors time with a small number of toys/movies for the toddler.

We came home two days early. Our first stop, even before home, was another set of grandparents to drop off the youngster and to have a day to ourselves to lie on the couch and recouperate from sickness/exhaustion.

I feel your pain sister.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

Riley, you show that cake who’s boss!

Must go eat some chocolate now….

mrsgryphon
mrsgryphon
15 years ago

Just got home from our own tedious “vacation” and wow, I know exactly what you mean!! I was solo-parenting the 2.5 yold, at the cottage with the whole family for a week. Yes, other people around. No, that doesn’t make my job easier, in fact it complicates matters. Totally understand the desire to come home from vacation for a dose of “normal” real-life.

I also love your photos so much – I strive to have as much depth and quality in my photos! And I adore the imagery of the duck paddling below the surface of the images of our daily lives. I will remember that one!

P.S. My girl licked her ice cream cake for her birthday last year, too! Then we all had to have a lick of our own! :)

bea
bea
15 years ago

That last pic need to be framed!

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

Face into the cake pictures are the best! And I love the analogy of pictures/ducks. I was faced with that exhaustion this weekend. A planned escape with friends was terminated when my 6yo pediatrician informed me that he was severly constipated and I had to give him an enema and then magnesium citrate. I never knew one little body could hold so much! But it’s funny how you just deal with it when you’re a parent. There were tears (his and mine), lots of laundry, stories and some laughs. And yes, you are exhausted when it’s all over. But the pictures of the smiles and laughter make the hard work all worth it! Enjoy those snuggle bugs!

fairydogmother
15 years ago

Your photos of your kids are so always so adorable, it kills me. I especially love that last photo. Haven’t we all wanted to do that? So cute!

kelly
15 years ago

Another one that is coming out of semi-lurkdom to let you know that i just LOVE that cake licking shennanigans!!! Totally fun :)

Melissa
Melissa
15 years ago

I can’t get over how big Riley is getting. In the first picture…it’s amazing. And I want to do the same thing to the chocolate cake! Yum!!! Love the duck analogy. So true.

Nichole
15 years ago

The cake-licking picture is awesome.

Deanna
Deanna
15 years ago

Happy Birthday Riley!!!! I can’t believe he’s three! Yes – photos/ducks – so true. Thank you, Sundry, for sharing your ducks with us!

Gina
15 years ago

I love the last photo. My 40th birthday party was this weekend and I ate my cake the same way.

Swistle
15 years ago

The “licking the cake” photo brought Paul from the other side of the room to see it closer.

Henry has that same shirt Dylan is wearing in the first photo. Handmedown from Edward.

Sam
Sam
15 years ago

That last photo is pure gold.

As for vacations, yes, even getaways really aren’t so relaxing these days. I’m always so happy to return home where it’s a basic safe zone and I don’t have to be on constant DANGER ALERT.

Danell
15 years ago

Jeez…I swear Riley has just gotten cuter and cuter and cuter and cuter…and now in that life preserver picture? He’s like, HANDSOME.

Janssen
15 years ago

You are a good parent to let him lick the cake.

Nora
Nora
15 years ago

Love the duck family photo analogy. And whatever you’ve been doing with your hair lately, keep it up – it looks beautiful.

Dianna
15 years ago

I love that comment, how very true. What an adorable last photo! He is too cute!

warcrygirl
15 years ago

HA! Now that’s how you eat a birthday cake! And does Dylan look…suspicious…in that one photo?

Tori
15 years ago

My husband always makes fun of me for reading as many blogs as I do, but when I just showed him that last picture of Riley, he laughed out loud. So, tell Riley I said thanks for giving me some validation from my husband!

Stacy
15 years ago

“the churn it took just to make it through the day” …
That sums up feelings that I have never been able to put words to. I think that is why I take so many pictures too. It does help keep memories alive, the RIGHT memories.

Also: Am impressed that on a “churning” vacation you took the time to DO your hair — it does look good. Helps with the “right” memories, no?

shonda
15 years ago

I seriously just did the up-all-night with the barfing kid two nights ago. It is even more awesome when you have more than one because you know that the next morning, the non-barfing kid is raring to go. Of course, he gets sick the next night when the other one is better and bouncing the next morning.

Tessa
Tessa
15 years ago

My parents have that same outdoor game with the balls & the rungs. I can’t remember if it’s called “Bolo” & my mom calls it “Ladderball” or if it’s the other way around. Either way, don’t you think the bottom rung should be the three-pointer?

marie
marie
15 years ago

last picture is AwEsOmE!

Kelly~ Mommy and the Marine

Oh my gosh. I *love* the duck analogy. These pictures are so great. Seriously… what I wouldn’t give to have someone take pics of us as a family like these. The one where you are behind Riley and your husband is feeding Dylan and it’s just one of those pictures they will look at with their kids in 30 years.

Love the last picture as well… ha.

Kari
Kari
15 years ago

My love affair with Riley knows no bounds.

Also, your hair is kickass.

tash
15 years ago

Happy 3rd Birthday Riley. Lick that cake boy – so cute!

Shutter Bitch
15 years ago

That last picture? I want to do that to every cake I see. Somehow I don’t think that the brides and grooms whose weddings I shoot would appreciate their photographer licking their cake, though.

nonsoccermom
15 years ago

I LOVE the picture-as-duck analogy. Perfectly sums up my family life, anyway.

That last picture is certainly adorable. Can’t believe that kid is three!!

Maxine Dangerous
15 years ago

LMAO! That last pic is great. :)

Jeanette
15 years ago

That last picture is too precious!

Sherri
Sherri
15 years ago

I agree with everyone about the last picture – could he even be more adorable? – but I really love the 2nd picture where Dylan is looking so suspicious! And its a great family picture too.

Karen
Karen
15 years ago

Well way to go in taking some great pictures, so you can put the horror of the barfcation behind you…. and since we are all revisionists, remember it quite differently years from now!

Can’t give credit, because I don’t remember where I picked this up, but read somewhere a great quote about motherhood: “the years are short, but the days are LONG!”

Deb
Deb
15 years ago

Great pictures!! I remember those days of vacationing with little kids…

After reading your post about the 30 Day Shred I ordered it. It came this morning so I’ll be trying it for the first time tonight. I’ve been doing p90x for awhile now and I’m ready for a little change. Tell Jillian you want a commission!

JennyM
15 years ago

That last picture is quite possibly the best picture ever.

Abalicious
15 years ago

Dont worry it gets easier. 3 is a very tough age!! The worst for sure. Not to mention with a baby at the same time, uggg, hell for sure. My son was 4 when I even considered having #2. It was like the clouds opened up and everything was right with the world after age 4. Hang in mama they are worth it : )

Julie
15 years ago

Great family picture! I especially love your description of “tedious”!

Hue
Hue
15 years ago

I’d love to start the Jillian Michaels workout. Just wondering what I need to get going. A mat? Some weights? How many? What kind? Rubber bands? It doesn’t say anything on the Amazon page…

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!