Sunday, June 17, 2018

Family Road Trip

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you."
-Anne Lamott

For years we have dreamed of a beach vacation, where we would do nothing but live our best beach lives. We saved and saved and planned and planned, and finally our dreams were realized. We loaded up the rental van and headed out for the 24 hour long drive, spanning two days and two hotels, lots of busy activities and homemade blind bags at every stop and junk food and movies and audio books and lots of stickers. We arrived in Flagler Beach, Florida on a Friday, ran through the rented house, oooohing and ahhhhing at how fancy it was, and then planted ourselves on the beach, where we stayed 90% of the time.

The boys' love affair with the ocean was instantaneous. They jumped into the waves and let the water wash them back on shore. On the nights when the waves were too viscous, threatening to take them under and not return them, the boys screamed their protests when we restricted their access to the ocean. Instead of diving headlong into the waves, they were confined to sitting on the shore and allowing the waves to crash into them.

Jillian was much slower to warm up to the ocean. She's used to the calm waters of the Mississippi River. The great crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean terrified her, and she could often be found racing as fast as her little legs could take her away from the water chasing her up the beach. She would only go in the water if we held her in our arms, lifting her high above the waves as they came crashing at us. Mostly she could be found high up on the beach, digging in the sand or collecting seashells.

Once we discovered the boogie boards the rented house supplied, there was no turning back. We allowed the waves to knock us off the boards over and over again as we attempted to figure out the sport. Finally, we gave up, simply using them as flotation devices as the waves pushed us to and fro, finally spitting us back on shore in a very undignified fashion.

Every day we scrubbed crushed seashells and sand from our hair and bodies, remnants of our hours spent on the beach; and every night we lay in bed, feeling the phantom waves crashing into us. It's a vacation we won't soon forget; we're already planning our next family getaway. But next time: we fly.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

May Family Film

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair."
-Kahlil Gibran

The month of May may have come and gone in record speed, but we sure managed to cram so much into those 31 days. Our skin slowly transformed from Winter White to Summer Gold (and maybe temporarily Painful Pink) as we spent every single possible moment soaking up that long awaited warm sun.

After experiencing spring for approximately three minutes, summer rolled in and showered us with all her glory. We broke out the hose and unearthed the broken sprinkler and filled up the water table; and we remembered what it feels like to feel the cold water cool our hot skin. After the taste of summer in May, we're definitely geared up for the months ahead.

School ended yesterday. Jillie and I waved the boys away on the school bus in the morning and enjoyed our last quiet moments together before the chaos ensues. In the afternoon we attended Ashton's kindergarten graduation, where I may have teared up a few times watching the small bodies dance around on stage. One day they're our babies; and the next they're not. So much happens in between, a blur of emotion and activity.

On our way into the school we spotted Spencer sitting in the grass with his class. Upon seeing us, he sprang up and ran to us, a smile lighting his face. He wrapped his arms around me, and my heart danced. My big soon-to-be third grader isn't too embarrassed to hug his mommy in public just yet. Those days are ahead. I know it; I feel it. But not today. Today we still live in this bubble where the world revolves around our family life. And, man, I plan to soak this up as long as I possibly can.

Bring on the summer!!!

Here is our month of May (push play):

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Spring Camping

"I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in."
-George Washington Carver

Last month we brought our camper home during a snowstorm. I guided my husband as he backed it up into the driveway, all the while big fat snowflakes fell to the ground, making the task at hand quite difficult. It's kind of comical now, thinking back on the situation, but in the moment it felt as thought winter would never end and we would not have use for the camper we were struggling to park on the driveway.

Fast forward a few weeks: spring has sprung. Greens and pinks and yellows have replaced the drab whiteness. Rain boots and sandals were traded with snow boots and mittens. We've been spending as much time outdoors as possible, bare feet caked with dirt and ice cream rings around mouths.

In the middle of this seasonal transition, we hitched the camper to the truck and set out for our first camping trip of the year. As always, rain accompanied us, but we made do with our first ever camper movie date. Our first time out was a success with minimal complications (water heater broken, forgotten camera battery, etc.) and we already have more trips jotted down on the calendar.

Here is our Spring Camping film.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

April Family Film

"Are you because of me?
Am I because of you?
The lines have since blurred."
-Katherine Mariaca-Sullivan

In my quest to document our everyday life in the month of April, I will admit that the extended winter dampened my creativity a bit. I love the candid moments I captured and I will always treasure them, but I am itching to get outside with my camera and film something other than the things that happen inside my house.

But spring is finally here! I think. Let's not jinx it. It is only May 1st, after all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


"Never lose an opportunity to see something beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another holiday come and gone. It seems you can mark the passage of time as the holidays get crossed off on the calendar. An Easter spent with one baby suddenly bleeds into an Easter with three growing kids.

We spent this Easter the same way we've been spending them since the beginning of our family. Crafts, egg dyeing, scavenger hunt to find Easter baskets and an egg hunt. Instead of photos this year, though, I made a family film.

OK, I did take a few bunny ear photos, as per tradition. I couldn't resist.

Friday, March 23, 2018

March Family Film

"To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We live outside the touch of time."
-Clara Ortega

Each time I make one of these family films I'm touched by the sentimentality of it. My childhood lives in memories, stored away in my unreliable brain. As time passes, the details of the moments fade a bit. My intention with these videos is to preserve my children's memories, to document this fleetingly special moments in their lives.

Our March flew in on a winter storm and out on a spring breeze. So much life lived in a single month, all the ordinary, mundane, repetitive moments stacked one right after the other. I am so pleased to have recorded a handful of them to keep forever.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

February Family Film

"I love you, and that's the beginning and end of everything."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

February is the month where we openly celebrate love. With little candy hearts and expensive floral arrangements and pink heart pancakes and homemade Valentines cards tucked in gift bags. That's how we show our love every February 14th. But I like to think we show it a million different ways over the course of the year, every single day, not just the one the calendar says we should.

While compiling the video clips I took this month for my family film project, I saw lots of these acts of love. A girl feeding her kitties. A brother helping a sister. A mother doing her daughter's hair. Siblings playing together. These little acts of love that weave together to form a special bond. Watch for yourself. Here's our February.