El Chris gets some wrinkles

I’ll own it. I stopped blogging. I got lazy and a little chubby and a little busy. I stopped taking care of myself and fell off track with my weight loss journey. Since I’m the most important and interesting person in your life and you totally care, I’ll summarize everything that happened between my last post & today.

May 2015: My daughter Harriet June is born. We are consumed by the best thing to ever happen to us.

beard man bearded man holds baby harriet


June 2015: The Patient Wife teaches me the magic of babywearing. Harriet and I take many walks with her strapped to me in the Moby. We also mow the lawn together.

El Chris beard babywearing Moby bearded man wearing baby El Chris wears Harriet to the local grocery co-op for the first time.


July 2015: After depleting all my paid time off for parental leave, my appendix failed & I was whisked away for surgery. I was pulled from work until I healed. Harriet’s godparents started a GoFundMe so we could pay the bills. The generosity of friends & strangers alike kept food in our mouths & our bills paid.

El Chris beard bearded man in hospital bed with infant beard man baby emesis bag


August 2015: I had an inguinal hernia repair to fix the hernia I got during my appendectomy. Still off work. I had to go six full weeks without lifting my daughter since she weighed more than five pounds. Roaster Joe snagged me a signed copy of Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers .

gumption nick offerman ron swanson autographed book signed hardcover book signed book


September 2015: I finally returned to work. The Patient Wife & I started attending a new church.

covenant church saint paul st paul Awaken Community Minnesota 651


October 2015: I get a nasty cough. The Patient Wife, Harriet, and I take a family trip to visit great aunt Varda in Fergus Falls. Nobody sleeps because every time I cough, Harriet wakes up and cries. The Patient Wife makes Harriet a gnome costume by hand for Halloween.

El Chris Harriet June Ferguson gnome costume handmade gnome costume gnome outfit


November 2015: The cough gets worse. I got an ear infection. Harriet started eating food in addition to breast milk. She was unsure.  Harriet decided she didn’t like leaves.

Harriet June Ferguson baby in leaves baby unhappy in leaves


December 2015: Harriet’s first Christmas! I still have a horrible cough, I still have an ear infection.  She’s enchanted by Christmas lights. She got pinkeye on Christmas morning so the patient wife & I ordered Chinese food, cancelled our plans, & watched movies all day. Side note, did you that breast milk can cure pink eye? With nothing but anecdotal evidence, I can assure you it totally works.

Harriet June Ferguson christmas lights baby natural light baby ambient lighting


January 2016: I still have a terrible cough. I still have an ear infection. No amount of inhalers, antibiotics, or codeine will make it go away. We head back to Fergus Falls, this time with my sister Girl With Blog and her family. We pile babies on to Great Aunt Varda. Adorable ensues. Varda is thrilled.

Great Aunt Varda and all of her great grand nieces and nephews


February 2016: Our 115 year old clay sewer main collapsed on Valentine’s day. The Patient Wife & I got to stay in a surprisingly nice hotel over Valentine’s day week & we feast at the Valentine’s day buffet. Then The Patient Wife’s gall bladder collapsed. It was removed and once again, everyone we love and friends we hadn’t even made yet brought us groceries and meals. I had the stomach flu the day that she was released from the hospital. My ear infection and cough have finally gone away.

El Chris feeds Harriet June her first Valentines dessert


March 2016: Harriet June discovers the magic of buttered toast with jam.

Harriet Eats Buttered Toast With Jam

Harriet also gets her first Easter basket. At 5 AM because she woke up and decided everyone should wake up.

April 2016: The Patient Wife and I breathe and take advantage of some well-earned boredom. I have a birthday. Harriet pretends to be a superhero.

Harriet June Ferguson Pretends to be a superhero girl superhero female superhero bearded guy holding baby


May 2016: HARRIET’S FIRST BIRTHDAY! Neighbor Mike hooked us up with beer because we all know that first birthdays are for the parents, not the kids. El Chris holds Harriet June at her first birthday party

Then, Mister Necker flew me and Mister Hoda to Seattle to help him move home. I ate a special “Legal In Washington” candy bar & got so sick that I couldn’t eat the whole pizza I ordered. I went to bed early that night.

El Chris Beard El Chris at snoqualmie falls

The Patient Wife, Girl With Blog, Wanderfit and I  also took a final visit to Fergus Falls to attend Great Aunt Varda’s funeral. She lived a good, long life and got to meet Harriet and her cousins. Harriet got to visit the church where her great grandparents met and sit under the tree her great great grandpa planted in memoriam of her great uncles.

Harriet June Ferguson sitting underneath pine tree fergus falls dane prairie mn minnesota pine tree girl in sailor suit

June 2016: I get to work at camp and get PAID. I also have several panic attacks while at camp. I have crazy, irrational thoughts and chest-clutching tightness for hours on end. I hide it, don’t tell anyone, & just grit my teeth and bear it. I also got to meet Dusty. We live three blocks apart but each had to drive 4 hours to meet each other. He makes neat hats.

Dusty Thune El Chris Steampunk Hats beards dudes with beards wearing steampunk hats
I’m a fantastic actor. I took this picture of myself (and of Dusty) in the middle of one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had.


July 2016: I have more panic attacks. I go to the doctor for anxiety. I get a psychiatry referral. Get a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and General Anxiety Disorder. Start taking magic pills. Start losing weight. I refer to “the Prozac diet” and get some chuckles. Decide to keep using that joke.

I get in a car wreck. Anxiety worsens.

Accident damage to my Kia soul


August 2016: The magic pills are working. I lose more weight. My panic attacks decrease steadily, my motivation increases, & I can plan out complex projects. I plan a huge undertaking for The Patient Wife’s birthday, including planting two trees for her. Friends and neighbors come over to help and do a week’s worth of work in a day. I wear the baby while I dig.



September 2016: Harriet starts walking. WE’RE PREGNANT! The Patient Wife is too sick to hide it. We tell the world. She’s a machine & takes on three additional jobs to help save for baby.

Pregnancy Announcement


October 2016: Harriet decides she’s cool with leaves now. I jump back into film photography and scanning grandpa’s old slides. The Patient Wife gets sicker. She’s nauseated all the time & vomits at least once a day. We go to the ER when she goes a full 24 hours without keeping down water. They run fluids, spank her on the bottom, and send us home.

Harriet Happy in the leaves


November 2016:  My sister Girl With Blog publishes a real hold-in-your-hands book! The Patient Wife and I go to the ER  twice more for fluids.  Her doctor decides she needs a PICC line so she can get IV fluids at home. Also so she doesn’t die. We get in-home nursing, The Patient Wife is put on medical leave. We go back to the ER again because of a possible infection at her PICC insertion site. My doctor friend from my gym gets called in for a consult! Once again, friends, loved ones, and friends we haven’t even made yet offered to come help me with projects, chase the wee baby Harriet, and fill our fridge and freezer.

December 2016: Who even knows.


The last two years have been crazy. Some people hear about it and look at us with pity. Some people come help clean our house. Some people say “I don’t know how you three got through this.” But we are. We’re getting through it. Our hair is a little grayer. Our skin has a few more wrinkles. But honestly? Once we’re through it, we don’t want to take it back.

In the past 18 months, we’ve learned so much about how to love people. We learned what it means to pick up the phone, send a pizza, or sit with someone in comfortable silence just knowing that you’re not alone. And the wrinkles? We’ll keep them.

Author: El Chris

I’m full of snark that doesn’t always come out. I have a soft spot for kids and people with special needs. I’m a disability advocate by day, and a coffee roasting photographer by night. You’ll love me, but your parents will love me more.

1 thought on “El Chris gets some wrinkles”

  1. I’m so glad you’re writing again! I can’t wait to come visit and hang out with the coolest three rockstars on the planet. Much love from Maryland!


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