Friday, November 30, 2018

Apple orchard

Back in September we visited the same apple orchard we've been going to since my oldest was a year old. It's an activity we look forward to every fall. Each year the orchard adds more and more stuff, and each visit we like it a little less. This year the quaint orchard felt more like a tourist trap; and that's very disappointing. The kids still enjoyed it, so I suppose that's what matters most.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Oh those summer days!

"At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, hair should be messy, and eyes sparkling."

Life got busy--like real busy--when the leaves started changing colors. I had to put personal projects on the back burner for a bit to make room for professional ones. The boys started school, Jillie and I settled into our routine with just the two of us, and then, suddenly, it was one photo session after another, with family stuff thrown in to make it even crazier.

Now that the snow is falling, things are starting to calm down just the teensiest of bit, and so I took a few moments here and there in my day to finally compile our summer film.

It was so fun going through the video clips. Bare feet and swimsuits and the carefree days of summer are my favorite. Now that we're on the cusp of longer winter months, I wish we could spend just a few more hours splashing around in the kiddie pool.

I've got a handful more films on my docket, so stay tuned for some more......when I find a few more free moments in our days.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celebrating Spencer

"The most important thing you will ever do in your life is learn to embrace your unique, honest self. A boundless, infinitely populated universe and there is nothing else here quite like you. This is your power. All those things that make you strange and different are what make you irreplaceable."
-Beau Taplin

It's a strange thing watching your kids grow up. It's not like you notice the changes as they are occurring. You don't notice the babyness fading until a boy emerges one day unexpectedly and you're suddenly caught off guard by how big he seems. You don't realize they stopped saying certain words incorrectly until much later when something reminds you of how he once announced he would love you "two-ever" instead of forever. When one night you are cuddled on his bed and he's reading a book to you that you vividly remember reading to him over and over, the passage of time sucker punches you in the gut. One day you are leading him into preschool, dreading the few hours he's away, and then another day you're watching him board the bus for third grade. It's definitely a strange thing to watch your kids grow up.

I'm far too sentimental for motherhood, I think. Some parents celebrate milestones with much more excitement than me. I'm more of the sad reminiscing type--pull out the scrapbooks and pour over the teeny tiny version of my children, trying to pinpoint when exactly they changed. So when the realization hit me that my oldest has one year left in the single digits, I instantly teared up. How can that be? Wasn't he just a toddler pushing tractors around on the deck yesterday? I swear I see that version of him so distinctly it must be true. But, nope, he's a gangly preteen prone to moody attitudes. The proof is in the 'tude.

Spencer turned 9 yesterday. It's done. He's one year closer to being full grown. And although this makes me insanely happy, it also makes me a bit sad as well. He still crawls into my lap sometimes to snuggle, not often since he's never been the affectionate type, but I like to pretend he still fits all curled up like another version of himself once did. Instead his limbs hang off and his bony butt bites into my thigh and his head sits up too high, where it once fit so snugly under my chin.

His 9 year old smile shows hints of his toddler one, but now the front teeth are bigger and sit awkwardly in his mouth. His once curly hair is now bone straight, sticking up in odd spots on his head. The other day I discovered him in the bathroom with a scissors in his hand, trying to hide the evidence in the sink. He had cut chunks off his bangs. Behaviors like this remind me he is indeed still little. And I'm definitely okay with that fact. Here's to many more years of him home with me, smothering him with my sentimentality.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

An evening on the Mississippi River

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

A long standing tradition of ours that dates back to pre-marriage is to spend an evening on the river. It has taken on different shapes as the years have passed and our family has grown. We no longer plant our butts in the sand with an alcoholic beverage and watch as the sun makes it's journey down the skyline. Instead we chase after little bodies crusted with sand as they dash in and out of the water. We rarely make it to see the sunset these days; we race to beat it home for bedtime. Our river evenings might look a bit different, but they carry the same feelings of carefree indulgence. Some summers we only make it out once, maybe twice, but it's always a highly anticipated occasion.

Last week we finally got out for our first river trip of the year. Flooding caused the river to rise too high for our comfort, plus busy schedules kept our calendar pretty packed. Our late season visit was completely worth it, even when the brewing storm sent us home early.

The kids climbed the gigantic sand mountain and flew down it, over and over. They splashed in the water, allowing the strong current to float them down to their waiting father, who stood guard and directed them back up shore. We stuffed our faces with pizza and breadsticks, our river dish of choice. Then we packed up and returned home, waiting until another occasion arises for us to return.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

June: Family Film

"Life is simple. Just add water."

That quote pretty much sums up our summer thus far. From sprinklers to backyard pool dips and trips to the splash pad and river dates, we've had our share of water fun. 

In June we filled up some coolers with hundreds of water balloons and had a good old fashioned family water fight. Let the battle begin!

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.