Hi there. My name is Jessica Kraus, I am a stay at home mom chasing after three (soon-to-be-four) incredible (endlessly energetic) little boys. A proud Scorpio and a hard core Bod Dylan / Woody Allen fan. Like every one else now days’s I keep up a personal blog documenting some of our little life highlights, as well as run a side business alongside my husband making / selling canvas teepees for children.
Using one adjective for each, describe each member of your gaggle.
I’m such a fan of the You Are My Wild series. Tell me what your experience has been like with the project thus far.
Oh gosh, It’s been far more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. Not only because the other members involved happen to be top notch photographers (many of whom I have respected from afar for years prior) but also because we have all become fairly close in our real life communications, developing a relationship outside of “wild” and Instagram, which is where our connection was initially rooted. A fun littler chat group that’s developed via facebook, where we all check in through the week, bounce ideas, concerns, day to day frustrations, ect. off one another. And we laugh. Lots. They are a great, incredibly funny, super talented group of people and I am so grateful to have been included in the project. I would never refer to myself as a photographer, but the project has definitely forced me to push myself and the raw skills I do have so that I don’t completely embarrass myself on a weekly basis.
Of the images you’ve submitted for You Are My Wild, which one is your favorite thus far?
I don’t know that I have a favorite. Only because from week to week they are slightly different, growing always and forever inspiring me to embrace the present and enjoy every second of their ever fleeting journey as children.
Don’t lie. Were you hoping Rex was a girl?
Oh Absolutely. I was pretty positive he was going to be a girl. We had kept it a surprise until the end so when I saw a third penis I was in complete shock. I couldn’t stop laughing. The state of shock I have yet to fully recover from – not because of the fact that we have another boy – but because that boy, is more BOY, than any boy I’ve ever met. That kid is taking years off my life, I can feel it.
I want to have a third. Willy says yes, jokingly, some days and absolutely no, not jokingly, other days. You have three. What do you think? Do you regret your decision. Ha! Of course you don’t. That’s a silly way to ask the question. Allow me to rephrase: Tell me how wonderful it is to have three boys (I know my third will be a boy and, truthfully speaking, I’m not sure I’d even know what to do with a girl).
I always say: having three kids is not hard. Having two kids, AND Rex, is beyond exhausting. But in all honesty, they are so darn hilarious it makes up for every single plight they put me through. Even in the wreck & chaos that engulfs us daily, they make me laugh constantly. The three of them are so entirely different in every way imaginable, that sometimes they feel like characters out of a comic strip. Also, the natural notion of a brother’s bond is the best. Seeing them engaged in a fist fight one second and then falling asleep piled into each other, bodies entwined, in a tiny bed, is pretty much the sweetest sight I can possibly fathom. I say have a third! Makes you feel like you’re really working.
Your husband makes stuff. How do you keep your hands off a man like that? Rhetorical question. Really though, how nice and useful is that?
Haha! Right? Obviously one of his most admirable qualities. And really the very reason I fell in love with him in the first place. I liked his old school work ethic and the fact that he can literally fix or build anything he sets his mind to. Be it plumbing, landscape, guitar, carpentry, electric, or restoring all those debunked automobiles. He knows a lot about a lot that I don’t, so it keeps me intrigued. Not to mention he also has some kind of superhuman energy, unlike anybody else I’ve ever known that enables him to wake at 4am, work a laborious 8 hour job, drive home in God awful traffic and still find time to build the teepees, tinker with an engine, play in a band and spend time with the boys, in addition to all the regular stuff it takes to keep up an active household like ours. He’s incredible. The only thing I’ve ever seen him fail at is wallpapering. And, well, he wasn’t much help with diapers either, but I let that one slide.
If I could have any talent in the world, I’d love to sing. Instead, I’m good at preventing cavities. I’ve never had one despite the fact that I didn’t even floss until I met my husband. How about you?… What talent do you wish you had… or if you want to share your cavity prevention strategies, that’s fine too.
I really wish I could cook. Like gourment meals built on exotic ingredients that everybody really loved. I am a bare essentials woman in the kitchen. Typically clinging to super simple meals. I could use some lessons.
I’m dying to read your upcoming post on public schools, sum up your thoughts in one sentence.
Thank you for reminding me that I need to write that! In short, I think it gets a pretty bad rap. I have quite a bit to offer in it’s defense. If in fact I ever get around to actually writing a post longer than a single paragraph.
Have you ever considered home school? I don’t think I have it in me. And I love Heather Rome’s whole thing she has going with her husband during the school year: #wedatewhileourkidseducate. I think I could get on board with that. Hashtag: makes me look forward to preschool.
I think homeschooling can be a great. A rewarding experience for certain mothers, and their children. But I think it depends on the kid, and how they respond to the parent in the teacher role. I did briefly consider the home schooling route just before Arlo entered kindergarten, but came to the conclusion that I really truly do not have the patience in me to provide a well rounded, focused education. Plus my math skills literally stopped at second grade, so it just wasn’t a practical option for me. And really, I feel very fortunate for the lessons I took aways from my own experiences at a public school and hope they will experience some of the same.
One more school question. I hate schedule. How hard is it, with three kids, to mix in some spontaneity? I dread starting my boys in school. I hate when everyday starts to look the same. Tell me it’s wonderful, even if you have to lie.
It’s defiantly hard on a spontaneous sprit, but we make the most of it and are pretty lenient when it comes to missing days here and there for special occasions. We let Arlo miss some times to go to Disneyland with his grandparents, or like last week – stay an extra day with them in a vacation cabin in the snow. I’ve also been known to keep them home when I see they are overly exhausted and maybe need a day to rest and recharge. In other words, we aren’t sticklers for attendance and I think the boys will hopefully look back on those special days outside of school with the same fondness I had for my own childhood “ditch days.”
You’re such a beautiful writer. Tell me more.
Hey, thank you! I do have a degree in English and was thoroughly enthralled by fiction workshops most of my later college years. Somewhere in the back of my head I fantasized about writing fiction for a living but decided to have babies back to back right out of graduating instead. I gave up the planned high school teaching gig and found my way as a mother, writer, creative whatever, as I went along. The blog is the only place I share my writing (brief as most of my postings may be) for now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to expanding that little “hobby” at some point down the line.
You and Denise have such a beautiful friendship. How did it start? How long have you been friends? Tell me what you value most about your relationship with her. Go ahead, make me miss my best friend more than I already do.
Aww, my best friend since preschool moved across the country for a few years awhile back and it broke my heart not to have her around for that period of my life. I know how you feel *Hugs*
As for Denise. It’s a friendship that sprung from Instagram (as modern day connections tend to go these days, eh?) We realized early on – through our shared photographs – that we had quite a bit in common with lifestyle in general. The first time I met her I knew instantly that we would be fast friends and it’s been the case ever since. We just get each other, the way people that have been friends for ages do, we get along easily and both have similar outlooks on the arts, plus we laugh like teenagers when we’re together. It’s an easy, fun, and very close knit connection. And, she is one of the funniest gals I know. Always keeps me on my toes, which I admire a lot in anyone in my life.
I know you’re a huge Dylan fan. I am too. I’ve seen him three times. The first was back in the 90’s (Oh Lord, that’s long enough ago to refer to the time by it’s decade… it just got all awkward up in here) and the last time was just a few years ago. He was great way back when but the last time I saw him was a bit rough. Do you still go see him live? Willie Nelson, on the other hand, now there’s an 80 year old that I’ll still throw my panties at.
I’ve heard Willie Nelson is killer live. I’ve got to see him one of these days. Dylan I’ve watched a handful of times starting when I was 16 and ending somewhere in my twenties. For me, each experience has been more painful than the last. I refuse to put myself through it again. He is what I consider to be one of my greatest loves – his songs, the soundtrack of life – cheesy as it sounds – so I can’t bear to see him reduced to a frail man waling through unrecognizable songs that I hold so dear to my heart. One concert he simply disappeared off stage for more than 20 minutes. The band was utterly baffled, the audience worried. I couldn’t stop thinking he walked off and just keeled over backstage. Ruined me for good as far as live shows go. And therefore the end of my “gotta see Dylan when he’s in town!” train of thought.
While we’re on the topic of music, here’s a taste of how random my music library is: I listen to old country, some folk, some Spanish (I love Buena Vista Social Club), oldschool hip hop like Grandmaster Flash, even some old R&B like Chaka Khan, and lots of other stuff. Gimme a glimpse into the variety in your music library.
Ooh, you’ve got a flavorfull mix there, lady. B.V.S.Club I’ll need to look into. I like mostly everything too. Folk and old blues are my favorite. But we are also stocked with a ton of old country and classic rock. I adore early Elton John and Stevie Wonder, was really in awe of Amy Winehouse’s untethered talent (miss her still) will forever love Lauren Hill and Fiona Apple, and will admit to having a huge (and lasting) crush on Jay Z. I’m not good at keeping up on newer music. But I don’t make much of an effort because I tend to depend on a couple younger (hipper) friends to keep me posted on that stuff. Just a few of the “newer” artists around I’m digging are: Edward Sharpe, Shovels and Rope, Father John Misty and Cat Power aways.
Wanna trade mixed tapes? Ya, I said tapes. Whatever.
Sure! Mine just might take a loooooong time to get to you. I’m awful with mail, or any kind.
How many bruises do you have on your legs right now? I have one huge purple on on my right thigh. The joys of having boys, I suppose.
I live in long skirts so I don’t count anymore. Please don’t make me count?
How many cars have you guys owned? And given the fact you like to buy and sell so many, how ’bout sending one my way :: wink wink ::
We have owned a LOT of cars. We could care less about having a fancy daily driver. We both vow to drive our real cars to the ground. BUT, we do enjoy a cool old set of wheels as our weekend backup. We’ve had everything from mustangs, to falcons, to novas, to VW buses to big old RV boats and now the beloved old land rover and busted bronco sitting in our driveway currently. I told Mike he needs to pick one of the two. I’m still waiting on his decision. I’ll send you the outcast?
Your favorite qualities in a women.
Humility, loyalty, sense of humor, and open mindedness.
Your favorite qualities in a man.
Humility, diligence, creativity and looking good in beards and white tee shirts.
If not yourself, who would you be?
TIna Turner. Everybody who knows me knows the fact of it. I’ll explain another time.
Where would you like to live? Where would you like to travel?
I’d like to live closer to the ocean. With a bit more land. As for travel, it’s not my strong suit, I’m comfortable near home or at home. And I’ve come to accept that in myself rather than trying to force a seeking spirit where there is not.
Advice you would have given your 20 year old self.
Don’t waste so much time and energy on trying to be so “good.” Your 30s will take care of that real quick.
Advice you would have given your first-time pregnant self.
Each child is different. They all flourish on their own time. Don’t compare!
You strike me as a woman who always has a trick up her sleeve. What’s next?
Hmm, let’s see . . .
If I can get organized and stay focused we will be launching our children’s line this Winter. A project we’ve been working on that is so long overdue. As well as a creative venture I hope might evolve and allow us to put our stamp on various products we care about down the line. I’d love to write a children’s book. And there is talk of setting up a mobile shop in a vintage trailer to house our Little Folk merchandise, but it all comes back to organization and focus. It’s easy to sit around with all these brilliant ideas. It takes a real determination to see them through. Balancing our time will always be our greatest struggle. But I have faith in us.