Monday, June 23, 2014


Tonight was our last soccer game.  We have loved our little engine-that-could team that turned out to be some pretty fine soccer players 5 seasons later.  

This guy was on fire tonight! 

We have been playing with several of the same families since we moved to the frozen tundra 3 years ago.  To say the least, it has been a highlight for our family. 
 I can't take credit for this one.  The baby monkey had a turn with the camera.  Coach looks pretty intense.  This is not just child's play.
 Oh, wait.  Maybe it is.  And this picture will forever be burned in my memory because this is where baby monkey prefers to view the game.  Until coach gets tired and shoos her to the sidelines. 

 It's been a joy.  

20/30...St. Paul Farmer's Market

More MN lasts...
The St. Paul Farmers Market has been a Sunday morning tradition for a couple years now.  This morning was our last trip. 

I love the farmers and fresh produce and pasture raised meat.  For the rest the highlight is the hotdogs.  Romocky's Brats and Dogs is the best.  Anyone who gives chocolate money with change must be a winner.

Friday, June 20, 2014

18/30...MN Lasts...Great River Water Park

You just cannot truly appreciate the humid, chlorine-scented air of an indoor waterpark until you have lived through the most intense winter nature can muster.  
If you close your eyes, you cannot almost make yourself believe it is summer.  We are now living the days we all here in Minnesota dreamed of just months ago.  
 This one won't even wear a swimsuit without a skirt.  Priss.  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

17/30...More Lasts...Walker Art Sculpture Garden

I will be completely honest.  I don't have a clue what this sculpture even means, and for sure I don't know what in the world it has to do with Minneapolis.  Someone please enlighten me.  But it is iconic.  It screams Minneapolis.  And I wanted to see it one more time before we leave.  Even better to see it with friends.  I mean I do love cherries.  And spoons.  Who doesn't?  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

15/30...Indian Food

Onions and garlic and ginger...cumin and coriander and cardamom.  Can you smell it?
One of the things I will miss most from our time here are these combined scents wafting from the McCowen kitchen.  We had an Indian cooking day.  One of many perks to having friends who have lived in India and learned from Indian cooks.
She has a whole shelf just for her Indian spices.  It is a beautiful thing.  Pretty enough for a picture.  Or two.  

We have solved many a world problem over this stove, processed numerous books, laughed to avoid crying, and oh the parenting we have shared.  And wine.  Shared a good bit of that, too.  Perks to having friends who are wine snobs.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

14/30...Big Girls on a Big Day

We went for ice cream to celebrate the end (or survival) of another year of school.  
Nine year olds are like teenagers stuck in childish bodies.  These big girls sat at the big table all by themselves and talked of big girl things.  And ate ice cream.  Because nobody is too big for ice cream.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Little Monkey and I had our first harvest today!  

Three Mother's Days ago my gift was a square foot garden.  Every Mother's Day since we have planted or added to that garden.  This past Mother's Day the hubs was out of town so the kids and visited the St. Paul Farmer's Market and I let them each pick one tomato plant and then I filled out one of our 4 gardens with spring crops...carrots, chard, lettuces, some herbs and kale.  I think there is some significant symbolism in celebrating the beauty and pain and growth and suffering of motherhood by the planting of another years crop.

One of the kids favorite garden chores is pulling the carrots.  Yes, we are moving.  But I just couldn't let a planting season pass and not participate in some small way.  I have visions of us road tripping with our three tomato plants and one old dog in tow.  The Clampetts to be sure.  

Monday, June 9, 2014


We get the question alot..."How do you survive the winters in the Frozen Tundra?"

Our answer..."Lots of Yahtzee!"

I mean nightly games.  The baby monkey is everyone's secret weapon.  She doesn't know what she is doing, but, I swear, that child has rolled more Yahtzees than any of the rest of us combined!  She now yells, "Six!" every time she rolls anything.

We found this fancy set on our recent thrifting adventure for a whopping $1.99.  We were all pretty pumped.  No, it's not winter.  Maybe its because I have been reflecting alot lately on our time in Minnesota, but watching the kids play a round reminded me of fun family times by the fire when the sun went down before we even got home from school.

I have been processing over the past few days how to leave well.  We have left several times from several places.  We are both pretty good starters, but neither of us great finishers.  I really want to leave well.  I feel confident and hopeful in the next phase of our journey.  But entering into it full and ready means leaving the old one well.

We've had a few people ask us if we'd like to have a going away party.  The extrovert in me wants to say yes.  But the idea feels a bit overwhelming.  It feels final.  How do you wrap up three plus years of relationships with a party?  But isn't that better than just packing the car and taking off (we've done that before, not kidding).

I have no answers.  Just questions and thoughts.  I would love to hear yours if you have any secret wisdom to leaving well.  Bring it on.

6-7/30...Number Three Birthday Party Down

I took photos yesterday...and forgot to post them.  (Too busy folding the MOUNTAIN of laundry that has been accruing.)

Not that you can always plan these things, but I was not aware of how much extra stress would be added to life when giving birth to three children in consecutive months.  So by birthday party #3, I am so happy to let someone else plan.  This is what happens when you take nine seven year old boys to a climbing gym...

And this is what happens when said seven year old gets face paint as a birthday gift and his sisters get a hold of it post party...


ps...Remnants of that paint still remain after multiple scrub sessions.  Washable paint my butt. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

5/30: Perks

The perks of living with chickens.

Oh, yeah.  We have chickens.  Three hilarious, stupid, pooping chickens.  But, man, they give us good eggs!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

1/30: The Boy Monkey is 7...and More Big News!

So the big news on the Knight front...

We are moving...again.  We close on our house here in MN June 30 and take off from there on our next adventure in Danville, KY.  Crazy, right?  More on that in another post.  But because we are entering into our last month in the Frozen Tundra and I have been trying to eek out the energy to reflect on our time here, I thought it fitting to take on a 30 day photo click-a-day challenge for the month of June.  And how fitting that the first day of the challenge, and therefore my intentional reflection, lands on the boy monkey's seventh birthday!
This kid has seen adventure with us.  He is our more introverted monkey.  On observing the steady rain outside upon waking this morning (he is also our early bird), he comments, "Mom, I think we are going to have to fix the gutters."  Steady, practical, logical, detailed.  I think we pretty much wear him out.  
Change is not his favorite thing, and we have alot of that coming our way in the coming weeks.  But he is strong.  And loyal to a fault.  
This year was his first year of full day school.  And he rocked it.  And lost a mouthful of teeth in the process.  He loves baseball and soccer and his Daddy.  I love how he loves his Daddy.  
I'm not so sure they quite get it, but he is perhaps the best big brother (technically, he is younger than the eldest monkey, but he passed her by 1 inch this year so from here to forevermore he will be "big" brother) 2 gals could hope for.  Most of the time.  

I have been pondering this year the effect a son can have on a Momma.  It is different this Mother/son dynamic.  I feel more vulnerable to heartbreak with this boy.  But also so very proud and loved when he throws those long, skinny, double-jointed arms around me impromptu.  
This boy.  
Has this Momma's heart.  
So glad to have you by my side as we enter into our next big adventure.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Mom Dance

She takes Little Monkey to gymnastics.  Her Little Monkey comes home with us from music class.  We meet to run, we meet to eat, we meet to make it in this crazy season of life.

We weathered the acid reflux years together, all screaming babies, dancing toddlers and not nearly enough sleep.  The soundtrack of our lives then...The Jackson Five and Wee Sing and Pretend.  The soundtrack now...Annie, The Sound of Music and "Poop on the Potty".  We survived the witching hour with tricycles and muddy puddles of melting snow waiting for daddies to come home.  Now...Legos, dress ups and a pot of chai.

We potty trained not just one set of toddlers together, but two (who ever said positive peer pressure isn't effective?).  We pray together, run together, process this crazy life that is made up of so many kids but also so many dreams and gifts and talents that we long to utilize.  I have cheered her on as she has so bravely entered back into the working world (where you get paid).  She has cheered me on as I have tentatively but steadily stepped back onto the stage (where you don't get paid).  We share good books, good music, and great food and wine!

In her words, it is a dance.  The Mom Dance.  It has been my sanity, a source of life and joy and grace. She picks up my big monkeys from school so I can stay home with a sick baby monkey.  I bring her soup when she is crazy mad packing for 10 days out of the country.  It makes life work.  It makes the crazy manageable.

She kept the babe for me so I could simply go sit at my favorite coffee shop and regroup.  

This beauty is more than a pretty swirly represents the grace of community, the gratitude of a quiet moment to treasure.  Isn't it a beauty?

Lisa McCowen, it is such a joy to dance with you (Zumba, anyone?)!  

My encouragement to the rest of you...find a dance partner to do this crazy life with.  We girls need each other.  It doesn't take away the crazy, but it makes it a lot more fun!

PS...Props to the best little coffee shop east of the Mississippi, Quixotic Coffee!  These peeps are crazy about coffee.  And they can make a mean latte with almond milk.  Heaven in a coffee cup.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Survival Mode

What happens when Momma is laid up in bed with a stomach bug?

Little Einsteins in a blanket fort...and Daniel Tiger, and Wild Kratts, and Super Why...

Friday, February 28, 2014

Tea Time

Oh my goodness gracious.  I knew it had been a long time.  But since July?  Seriously?  I listened to this quote by Ira Glass the other day.  

"...the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions." 

I have been talking (in my head, of course) of recommitting to the blog, to the photojournalistic story of my life since before the first of the year.  And good intentions turn into laundry...and a sick kid...and a rehearsal...and exhaustion.  

"You’ve just gotta fight your way through."

So here goes the fight.

 We've been doing a lot of this lately.  A whole heck of a lot.
 Honest confession...I don't really love tea parties.  But I love watching this baby monkey in her element.  And this baby loves her some tea party.
If I'm lucky, the party just might include live music.  She is a singer-songwriter.  I mentioned that, right?
 I have felt a certain restlessness these last couple of years.  She's the baby.  It's my third time doing this age.  I am watching alot of my friends go back to work.  I am fighting to be in every moment of this stage.  But also beginning to think towards the future.  I know that these days are fleeting and we will never get them back.  It helps me to chronicle the daily, beautiful monotony.  It reminds me how beautiful it is.  And makes me grateful.
 There are so many beautiful moments.