Home Alone

Little H and I have been enjoying each other’s company these busy school mornings, and she often gleefully says, “It’s just you and me, Mom!” as soon as the big kids are out the door.  But sometimes I think she might miss some of her other favorite people in her life when we’re home alone all day.


It’s not that I’m not fun, or that we don’t have many fabulous adventures together.  It’s just the smiles that light her face when big brother and big sister get home, and the quiet hugs she gives them out of nowhere, that makes me think she misses them more than she lets on.  Or that maybe being away from them all day makes her appreciate her favorite playmates.


She will randomly talk about how her “bwuddah” (brother) and sister are at school, or announce as we drive in that general direction where they are, or show such excitement when we go to pick them up.  She’s finally reaping the benefits of being the only child left in the house, but I think sometimes she wishes there was a bit more of a crowd.


Only about 160 more school days to go, Little H!  They’ll be home soon.

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Being Brave

Some days require kids and parents alike to take a deep breath and put on a brave face, ready to take on a world full of changes or first steps in a new direction.  Days like the first day of school, big doctor’s appointments, and making new friends require an extra squeeze or hand hold, and can be difficult for everyone involved.  But some days only require bravery for Mom or Dad, as their little ones embark on new adventures courageously and enthusiastically and we’re the ones left needing our hands held.

For example, any day that requires taking three children near a body of water alone, even if the water is only knee-deep.  While the kids luxuriate in literally exploring new territory–territory that was below much deeper water earlier in the summer but thanks to sunny days is now basically a wading pool–Mom stands on the sidelines, reminding herself that such exploration is good for them, and that a giant sinkhole will not in fact open up beneath them and swallow them whole before her eyes.  On high alert, while letting the distance of their orbit increase beyond normal boundaries for the sake of autonomy, Moms and Dads sometimes just have to sit back and watch, and to some degree, be brave.

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In some ways, being a helicopter parent is so much easier; your adrenaline isn’t nearly as high due to the fact that you are confident you are secretly a ninja and could use your body as a human shield should crisis arise.  Although it is mentally exhausting to be on duty 24 hours a day, it may be less frightening than watching your kids walk across the river for the first time to THE OTHER SIDE, MOM!  LOOK!  WE DID IT!  But if you take that route, how will they ever know the thrill of adventure, the pride in accomplishing something they were literally never capable of doing before?

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While being a mom is so much about keeping kids healthy and safe, there’s also something even healthier about teaching them how to make safe choices and to let them take a risk.  Of course, calculated risks with safeguards to ensure their safety, but the kids don’t need to know that.  They won’t feel quite so accomplished if we point out that their accomplishment wasn’t that big a deal in the first place.  To them, that wading pool is a rushing river, and to courageously reach the other side, where only Daddy’s skipping rocks could reach before, is an enormous achievement, and should be applauded as such.

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Sometimes being a mom means being a cheerleader on the sidelines of an ever-increasingly scary world, but we all have to be brave sometimes.

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Raising kids who savor life and all its challenges is worth it the stress, but it’s not always easy for us to be the brave ones!  Baby steps aren’t just for little ones–sometimes Mommy and Daddy need them, too.

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Where I’ve Been

Fall is here and as usual I am inundated with photo shoots and photography classes, not to mention my sister is getting married in 3 weeks (eek!!!) and there have been lots of fun happenings leading up to the big day.  So I’m sorry the blog has been the one to suffer for my hectic schedule, but I thought I could at least share my latest installments of mini sessions from earlier this month.  So many wonderful families, so many beautiful moments!  Just my kind of evening!

I can’t promise I’ll be around much these next couple of weeks, but know I’m enjoying all the wonders fall has to offer, with my clients, friends, and family!  Enjoy the fruits of my labor!

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I’ll be back soon!  For now, back to work!

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Exploring The Freedom Trial

JDubbs and I grew up (mostly) in suburbs just outside of Boston (JDubbs was born and raised in Sacramento until he was 10), and it is my inestimable pleasure to expose my kids to the history, art, excitement and glory that is the city of Boston, especially in the summer.  When Jax began to show an interest in the American Revolution last winter, specifically Paul Revere, JDubbs and I knew a trip to Boston and the Freedom Trail (that links the many important historical sites throughout the city) would be on our list of things to do this year.  A warm summer day, our family of five, a stroller, some bottles of water, and we were off for a historical adventure!


The Old North Church and its surrounding plaques, memorials, and statues to Paul Revere and the other significant Patriots of his day was just the right combination of history and fun.  Jax was interested to see things he had only read about in books come to life, and the girls, JDubbs and I learned a thing or two as well.

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Then we followed the Freedom Trail out of the North End, and crossed over to the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which was built after JDubbs and I had moved away from Boston.  It was something new for everyone and what’s not to love about green spaces, a carousel, splash pads and fountains amidst the buildings and bustle of the city?  It was the perfect kind of fun for my country mice!


This fountain was everyone’s favorite, right outside Faneuil Hall, with the water coming up sporadically in various patterns, reaching enormous heights!  Jax had absolutely no fear and charged straight in.  Little H stayed on the outskirts and loved every second, although she didn’t actually get wet.  Em decided to be brave and went in after a bit of hesitation, only to get a jet of water in the eye and run out screaming!  She spent the next ten minutes shivering and crying until JDubbs bought her a tapestry from the farmer’s market to dry her off.  So, mixed reviews from the kids, but I loved it!

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From there we picked up the Freedom Trail again and walked through the Boston Common to the Public Garden, with a stop in Granary Burial Ground to see the graves of Paul Revere and John Hancock.  We stopped to say hello to the ducks from Make Way For Ducklings and some of their ancestors, but the line was too long for a tour on the Swan Boats.  Instead we got ice cream and watched the people and cars go by from a quiet spot on the lawn.


After that, we took the T back to our car (the kids’ favorite part!) and headed to Auntie Amanda’s and Uncle Chris’s house for a sleepover before Legoland the next day.  This was one of my favorite memories from the summer, and we have had many extraordinary adventures!  I love exposing my little country mice to all this magnificent city has to offer!

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Note To Self: Paint More

Any other parents out there have a love/hate relationship with the easel we all get sucked into buying at some point?  It’s so…unwieldy and such a…how should I say this?…process.  I love how nicely the kids play together when they’re painting (as long as they are in the mood to share) and the colorful photos I can get of them while they are so engrossed are some of my favorites.  But the pain to get it out of the closet, take out all the paints, get water, paper towels and paint brushes handy…hold on, am I seriously complaining about art supplies?  Even as I type this I want to slap myself upside the head and get a grip.  Sure, dealing with kids and paint can be a serious pain, but that’s crazy talk for something that can be so engaging and beautiful.  Note to self: I need a reality check.  This is what I signed up to do all day.  I need to embrace paint more often and just be thankful my commute is from my art supplies to my front porch.


Sometimes it’s easier to just say, “Put on another show,” or just have them play upstairs in their bedrooms, certainly.  But looking back on our summer and the number of times we made a conscious decision to explore our inner artists (not very many), I think that I need to stop assuming the kids get enough art in school and start devoting a little more effort to getting our hands good and colorful more often.

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Parenting, like art, is definitely a process, and why is that a bad thing? I know that if the only thing this blog provides me is a place to reflect on which choices I make are good ones and which ones maybe not so much, it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  Just like busting out the old easel every now and then.


After all, with mornings to myself with this girl, what better parenting can I provide than to let her explore her inner artist?  Sometimes books and errands and lunch and naptime just have to wait.

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Duly noted, self.  Time to get our artist on.

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Making Rainbows Out Of Rain

Into each life some rain must fall,” stated Henry Wordsworth Longfellow. With that sentiment in mind, it seems appropriate that on the last day of our vacation in Maine, when I was feeling a little down about not getting to the beach one last time because of afternoon storms, we were treated to this delightful sendoff after dinner.


Which prompted us to think, What are we waiting for? and take the kids to the beach one last time, even with Jax and Em already in their pajamas.  We couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to Drakes Island, and while the rain sputtered to a stop, we had every inch of the beach to ourselves.  Rainbows make the best messengers.  Ours said, Get out and enjoy every last minute of your vacation!  So we did.  Who are we to argue with a rainbow?

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Farewell frolicking waves, farewell footprints and sandy toes!

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Farewell countless memories made, hours spent together just the five of us, solidifying bonds that go beyond just siblings into true friendships.

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Farewell to our happy place, until we meet again!


Thank you for another amazing week full of breathtaking memories!

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When The Sun Goes Down

Labor Day has come and gone and I can feel the days getting shorter, the mornings more tense as we all adjust to earlier wake-up calls, fewer snuggles and hurried breakfasts.  I already miss the lazier pace of summer, when the time after dinner wasn’t just a precursor to bed, but a wonderful and tantalizing window of opportunity for the day to continue.  I miss evenings at the beach in Maine, when the big kids and I could follow in Em’s footsteps from the year before and leap from rock to rock toward the end of the jetty at Drakes Island.


It’s not often Em gets to show big brother the way, but that evening it was especially pleasant.

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Back on land, JDubbs and Little H were enjoying the summer evening, too.  I think he even found a bit of buried treasure!

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After we were reunited and as the tide continued to go out, tide pools emerged for some last minute nautical exploration.  Little H finally warmed up to them and all three kids happily searched for some new sea friends, something we hadn’t had much luck with all week.

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On the contrary, I–being the resident photographer–had had more than enough luck all week, and as the sun went down found more and more opportunities to capture life and light, two of my very favorite subjects.

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The kids kept moving along with the sun, and the challenges of shadows and reflections kept me thoroughly entranced until we all had to admit it was finally time to head home.


While I’m missing the pace of the end of summer days, the adventures of this school year are already making themselves known!  As determined as I am to appreciate all ages and stages, I will always have a extra-fond place in my heart for summer nights.

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