The Two Questions to Stop Asking Women

1606348_10204076942700462_2556663616494677616_oI have been off the grid for a while. I apologize. I spend most of my time on social media sites throughout the day for work, and when I am done, it is hard to bring myself to get back on when I should be spending time with my husband. Mr. Bird is in medical school and it is a rarity to see him these days. Today, I want to address something that has been bothering me as of late.  When Mr. Bird and I started dating I posted pictures on Instagram and to Facebook so I could document our relationship. I thought, well if this guy eventually asks me to marry him we are going to need an awesome wedding video #girlthoughts. That was my motive. These pictures led to questions after only two months of dating…. They were all questions about when we were going to be married. At this point in our relationship I knew very little about him…which was okay, it was still early. Don’t get me wrong, I was already thinking about marriage myself, but the more people asked the more I wanted it. I mean an unmarried 24-year-old, college graduate living in her parents house, it didn’t look good, and people were worried…I get it… But I started to become envious of those in that stage in life and wasn’t “living in the moment.” Two nights before Mr. Bird proposed to me we got into a disagreement. It was about how he hadn’t proposed yet. All I could think was I want to be engaged and I want people to stop asking the question “when are you getting married.” Two nights later, he surprised me at the train depot with a candle lit path lined in white roses and pictures of us. If you ask me, it was perfect. Finally I could post it to the world and no one would ever ask me that question again… (besides what the day was)

The week after Mr. Bird and I were married we settled back into our “normal” lives. With only one week of marriage under our belt, people started asking when we were going to have kids. I didn’t even have an entire month to enjoy being a newlywed. I started worrying about it. I though oh no, we are just getting use to being married and now we are expected to have kids! At this point, it never occurred to me that I could ignore these people.

Now before I continue, I want to make sure you all know… I am not innocent in this aspect. I asked these questions to so many about when they were getting married and when they would have kids. I have made the decision that I will no longer ask these questions. We are so easy to ask questions not considering the person’s background or circumstance. When a “cookie cutter” Mormon couple has a long engagement or are waiting to get married maybe there are things that they are taking care of and have to wait. That scenario would already be painful enough, we don’t want to burden them any further.

I followed Andy from How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, this is our future child even with glasses!

I followed Andy from How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, this is our future child even with glasses!

As for kids… If I had a dollar for every time I heard “when are you having kids” or “you wouldn’t know, you don’t have kids” (that’s the worst) I would literally be able to pay next months electricity bill. When you ask the question or simply state that people without kids don’t understand, it merely rolls off your tongue and is forgotten within minutes. To the receiver of the statement it resonates for much longer. I want to share with you a #reallife event. A few weeks ago I went to an event where I was the only one without kids (this is now my normal) which I have learned to enjoy, I get to hold all the cute babies and I don’t have to take them home! However I left this event feeling like I was worth nothing because I had not  yet reproduced. At the event I was even refereed to as the free babysitter while I was left out of the “adult” conversation and reminded multiple times that “I wouldn’t know, I don’t have kids.” I mean come on! I have been married almost 7 months, if we wanted to have a child it wouldn’t even be here yet. I know that their intentions were not to hurt my feelings, but I couldn’t help but feel worthless. I felt that I had no identity, no personality, and nothing of worth because I didn’t have a baby on my hip and the warrior like stretch marks covering my stomach. So obviously I called my mom and she managed to talk me up! We joked about all the things I could say… My favorite being “You wouldn’t know, you have kids.” She taught me such a valuable lesson, love where you are in life and live it. Life will continue and kids will come along when it’s time.

I suggest that my readers consider not asking these questions anymore. I mean it’s okay to ask your sisters that’s like a basic human right, but refrain from asking those you meet in your day. We never know what is going on behind the scenes. We don’t know if a couple has experienced a miscarriage, we don’t know if they have problems with fertility, we don’t know their lives! If us childless women want to talk about it, trust me we will bring it up and ask you questions.

As I finish this post, I don’t want you all to leave thinking Clare is upset or unhappy. If I have hung out with you recently PLEASE don’t sit and run our past conversations through your mind, it’s not worth it…We all know that I am over-sensitive. I have moved on and relished in the fact I can stay up all night playing Settlers of Catan without interruption. If you said something, I can promise you I am over it. The truth is I am so happy where I am in life. I am a newlywed. I get my best friend to myself. I may be baby hungry, but what woman with an active Pinterest account is not…


(C)LVB2014

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The People I Find: Cosplay & Superheros

When I read this story there were so many words I didn’t understand. This isn’t uncommon, however it wasn’t because they were “hard” words. They were words from a whole different culture, cosplay. I meet Jacob while I was running a summer camp. I was excited to have him as one of my counselors because he wasn’t your typical jock. I knew that throughout the summer he would be able to connect to so many kids who didn’t fit the cookie cutter mold for a teenage boy…and I was right! He was such a great role model the youth we worked with. I think it is so important to do what we love. Jacob does just that.


jacob4
My beginnings as a kid can pretty much be summed up through Brian Reagan’s iconic comedy bit on baseball. I played sports like most other little boys. I played out in right field… cause I sucked. I was the sort of kid who was more excited about snow cones at the end of the game and fitting an entire roll of Bubble-tape in my mouth than beating our opponents. I guess I just didn’t see the point. If we won, we got snow cones. If we lost, we still got snow cones. I can remember standing out in right field, watching some of these boys stand so intensely in the in-field, focused beyond measure. Then there was me, creating dialogue and soundtrack for the scene, trying to imagine what it would look like if little Johnny smashed the ball into outer space. It was usually during these zone-outs a rare pop-fly to the outfield would come down in my territory, and inevitably so, I would miss it completely. This routine was sort of standard across the seasonal sports. In Spring, it was soccer. (If we win, we get orange slices. If we loose, we still get orange slices.) In Winter, it was basketball. (If we won, we got Capri-sun. If we lost, we still got Capri-sun.) I don’t know when this trend began to wear off. I either got tired of the monotony or my parents were forced to place me in hiding for fear that the other mothers were calling for my execution for causing their all-star boy to be on the losing team this year. I do know this. Life after sports did exist. Now, don’t get me wrong! I don’t “hate” on sports or consider them completely pointless. I just happened to have a different way of discovering self entertainment. When I wasn’t picking dandelions on the field I was creating. Luckily for me, this was a popular past time for many of the other boys, too. It started with trains, as a young boy. Every morning it was a new creation, wooden tracks woven between plastic ones, woven between a city of those little marble-run thingies. About this time, the Star Wars prequels hit theaters. Check out this picture. That is me, with my own hand-built pod racer. Pretty screen accurate if you ask me. Then there were the Legos. Oh the Legos. My collection was beyond incredible, and lucky for me, most of the other neighborhood boys were into Lego as well. We would plan specific days where we would bring our pieces to one pre-determined place and construct from sun-up to.. well, when our mothers demanded we come home for dinner. There were always phases in my life, some new fandom, movie, or genre that I was into.
jacobYou know, most people expect that these phases fade and give way into adulthood. Not so for me. Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I’m a superhero nut. More, specifically Marvel superheroes. I can’t pinpoint when this phase started, I know I was a huge fan before I left on my mission. I guess the point where it exploded was the day after I had returned home from my mission to England, where I went and saw the Avengers. Anyone who worked with me over the next two summers at the Especially for Youth program knew me as the “superhero guy,” participants included. I had a different belt buckle each day of the week with a different superhero emblem, and when I wasn’t in uniform, you could bet I was wearing some sort of geeky marvel shirt. I knew I was in the right romantic relationship when after meeting my wife’s parents for the first time, her father took me to his bookcase to show off his display of vintage superhero comics and his 1977 original Star Wars action figures. Lucky for me, my sweet wife buys into the whole obsession a bit herself with very little reluctance. I spent the whole summer of 2014 building metal Captain America Shields, 3D printing lightsabers, blasters and even Thor’s Hammer, and creating my “cosplay” Captain America costume for an event that was months away. We recently moved and renovated the spare room into an official man cave (shown towards the end of the blog), displaying comics, replica props and posters. This past week we attended Salt Lake Comic Con and geeked out for three whole days, taking photos with eager superhero loving kids, attending conferences discussing prop design and finding new things to add to “The Vault” (official name of the Amundsen man cave pending.)
jacob2Okay, so I’m a geek. You get that much. My skills on the athletic field are sorely lacking and I make up for that pitiful display by going far beyond what is considered healthy in my obsessions. Whats the point? First of all, let me point out this: Nerds and Geeks are completely different. Nerds are the guys who did your homework problems for you in high school and hyperventilated when looking at a naked computer with all its chips hanging out. A geek is someone who relishes in pop culture, specifically film, television, toys and gadgets. Growing up, geeks and nerds were both looked down upon, the butt of high schoolish jokes, and the last to be on the first few pages of the hallowed yearbook. Yet now, thanks to shows like The Big Bang Theory and the enormous amount of comic based films opening, being geeky has almost become trendy. Just check it out on social media and tell me how long it takes you to find some blonde girl duck facing the camera with gigantic glasses, an Iron Man t-shirt and the cute hashtag #imsuchageek. I guarantee none of them could tell me the difference between Vibranium and Adamantium, what a DL-44 blaster is or the specific type of radiation that Dr. Bruce Banner was exposed to that transformed him into The Incredible Hulk.  But when you strip away the big glasses, the movie obsessions, and the infinite amount of Tardis playtoys and more, what is at the heart of Geekdom? Storytelling and Imagination.
jacob3Think for a minute upon your childhood. Think about that time mom bought a new refrigerator, and the box it came in suddenly became a starship, a submarine, or in my case, a Star Wars Podracer. Think about the infinite amount of childhood drawings that used to adorn that refrigerator, from T-rexes to Power Rangers to princesses. Children really are the most creative creatures in the world. What happened then? What happened that made us put away those action figures, quit drawing those masterpieces and give up our imagination as if it had died and moved on? Were you told at one point that you were “too old to… such and such?” Did someone poke fun of the decorative doodles that ringed your 5th grade binder? Or did the stress of every day life come in and squeeze the imagination right out of you with thoughts of homework, dating, moneymaking and relationships? The point is, sadly at some point we loose a large portion of this magic. For me, the geeky side of life I hang onto keeps my imagination alive. Even as a 23-year-old, I can surround myself and my office with comic books, props, toys and images that give great inspiration to my creative side. They tell fantastical stories of ordinary humans with extraordinary abilities. The television and films we watch influence us to explore a world that to our knowledge doesn’t exist. Suddenly time travel is once again possible by walking into a rather ordinary blue box. Creatures that once only lived in our childhood imaginations now storm across the screen, pages and even material belongings of our life. Just this past weekend I stood in the Salt Palace Convention Center dressed as Captain America, talking to a press crew about the construction of my costume when I felt a small tug on my pant leg and looked down to see a miniature Captain America. He looked shyly up at me with his small plastic shield, timidly mumbling if he could take a picture with me, the “REAL” Captain America (I was honored.) That one experience made the entire convention a grand success. We live in a world that’s in desperate need of the fantastical and the exciting. As an artist and designer, Its my job to be creative. It’s my duty to bring imagination, storytelling and wonder into the fabric of what could possibly be our rather mundane lives. I do what I can to keep that inspiration alive and surround myself with the very best in storytelling, creativity and imagination. I’ve studied and practiced music, graphics, writing, magic, film-making and more, all fueled by the love of these great stories. This week, standing in a convention center with over 90,000 other geeks it was really brought to my mind that others need this to. So if you find yourself stuck in a rut, bored with your job or schooling, or struggling to see from the perspective of your creative child’s eyes, go be a geek. Go read JRR Tolkien’s masterful Lord of the Rings trilogy and find yourself journeying with the fellowship throughout its pages. Turn on Dr. Who and experience traveling through space and time with your very own British Doctor. Discover your super-powers in the pages of America’s Mythology: Comic Books. But most of all, become a kid again. Build a fort. Make a movie. Get out the Legos. Put on a costume. Be Creative.
I am a working graphic designer and love working on prop design in my spare time. If you’re a geek and want a prop built for your collection or you need some imaginative design work done contact me at jacob.amundsen@hotmail.com. Check out some of my artistic work here.

(C)LVB-2014

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The People I Find: Modeling

This week’s story is about Lexi! I have never met Lexi, she submitted her story through my homepage. She tells a wonderful story of following her passion and overcoming the obstacles in her way. Take a minute to read her story and share! Remember, I am always looking for people to share their stories…email me, and if you haven’t… Go and LIKE the People I Find!


leximOh goodness, I’m not exactly sure where to start with this story but here goes nothing. I discovered a passion within modeling about five years ago and it all began with a dream. Since I was 13 years old I’ve had the dream of being a model, but I figured that this dream could never become a reality. See, I was born premature and have scars from surgeries on my body, I knew this would prevent photographers from wanting to work with me. I also didn’t have the height aspect going for me, I am only 5’5 and the average model is at least 5’7. Therefore I gave up on my dream of wanting to be a model. But I gave up only to find out that at the age of 18 I would have the opportunity to make my dream of modeling become a reality. I went to a photoshoot with my best friend, she was pretty nervous so I tagged along and without even noticing it began to help her pose. The photographers Kevin and Katie of KHulett Photography asked if I had modeled before, I said “No, but I’ve always wanted to.” They set up a photoshoot with me and from that day forward I was absolutely in love with modeling. Not only did I discover that I could follow my dreams if I wanted to, but that I was actually good at modeling.

Now almost five years later I have gained so much knowledge and experience through modeling, it’s developed into a passion that I can improve on and grow within daily. I’ve worked with various photographers, makeup artists, designers and hair stylists and I have discovered that modeling is a form of art. I have learned to appreciate all photographers and models as artists, before I started modeling I never would’ve considered photography or modeling to be a form of art, but it totally is! It is such a beautiful form of art, not only can a photo portray 1,000 words and expressions but as a model you can also portray words and expressions. There is a different kind of beauty that comes from collaborating with a team; working together to create an image that not only speaks to those involved in creating it but also those who are viewing it. There are so many different elements that go into modeling. For example: willingness to take on adventure. As a model I’ve had to work in 110 degree weather, -15 degree weather, in water, hiking up random mountains and trails, etc. Numerous times I’ve had to work with people I had never met before and help them create their vision. Modeling is definitely not easy. For starters you have to be comfortable in your own skin; modeling has helped me to achieve that.

lexiiWhen you work with such well-known photographers there can be immense pressure to live up to their expectations. For instance there is an absolutely amazing photographer by the name of Jorden Keith. He isn’t just any photographer, he’s the type of photographer that is going to take the world on. He has had his work published in Vogue Italia multiple times and has worked with well-known models and celebrities such as Americas Next Top Model winner, Jourdan Miller and Zendaya. I had been dying to collaborate with him since the first time I laid eyes his work. By some strand of luck I was able to collaborate with Jorden and for me it was literally a dream come true. Although, before the photoshoot I was terrified, I kept thinking to myself ‘The girls he photographs are drop dead gorgeous,’ ‘ why would he want to collaborate with me?’ ‘What if he hates the photos he takes of me?’ ‘I want to impress him, and I have no clue how I’m going to pull it off.’ It isn’t just about standing somewhere and taking a pretty picture, it can be hard to obtain an image that the photographer is particularly looking for. For the first time I was intimidated to work with a photographer. It was a struggle, but I met Jorden and right off the bat I knew the shoot would go just fine, I got over my nerves and the shoot ended up being a huge milestone for me. Instead our collaboration being a dream I made it into a reality. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk in order to capture an image and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I wasn’t willing to step out of my comfort zone, away from my self-doubts, I would have never discovered that I can in fact follow my dreams in order to model. It isn’t always that feeling of ‘being on cloud nine’ for me, since day one I have attempted to be signed with a modeling agency. One problem, usually a minimum height requirement of 5’7 is required to be signed and that’s not me. I did with time find an agency that signed me and I was over the moon happy. But it didn’t last long, sadly I realized they wanted me to act…..not to pursue my passion of modeling. So currently I am in between agencies and it has become a constant headache because frankly I just want to get out there and do something with the passion that I have. The industry of modeling is definitely cut throat as some would describe, you’ve either got it or you don’t, I just want to show what I’ve got.

There are so many feelings I have that are associated with my passion, sometimes I feel inadequate, but for the most part there is just sheer and utter bliss, there are moments of joy, pressure, and happiness. The feeling of receiving photos back from a photographer or even better seeing them find joy in the photos they’ve taken is a feeling that is indescribable and irreplaceable. Modeling can be tough but knowing I’ve collaborated with photographers and others to create a form of art, knowing that I’m doing something I am very passionate about, knowing that I am following my dreams and hopefully showing others that they too can follow their dreams as well make all of the struggles worth it. Something I strive to do through my story of becoming a model is share with everyone, men and women, that no matter what circumstances you may face, you can ALWAYS follow your dreams no matter what. I never thought that I could model and here I am living my dream.

To check out Lexi’s blog click HERE


(C)LVB2014

Photo’s are property of the photographer, not me!