Love & Gratitude

When life gets a little tumultuous, I find refuge in two very important things: love and gratitude.

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I couldn’t be more in love with or grateful for these four people.  They make even the toughest day better with their silly ways, gentle hands, or contagious love of life.

Every day is an adventure, and every new situation intriguing, delightful, and worth conquering when your comrades are three kids under six.  Like when I discovered an impossibly muddy riverbank that was like walking on molding clay–I knew I had to get the family down there to explore!

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Grateful for how having kids rekindles my adventurous spirit.

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Loving how I can always depend on my family to ease the chaos, no matter what.

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Always with me, in the thick of it!

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There’s Something Happening Here

Woke up this morning to the dawn of a new era: the era of school-aged children, with Jax barely able to contain his excitement for his first day of kindergarten.

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And Miss Em slightly less enthusiastic, but ready and smiling to head to preK.

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JDubbs’s mom came over this morning to hang with the girls while he and I took Jax alone for his very first day of school.  On the way there he was kicking his feet and talking animatedly, saying, “I think today is going to be a great day!”  I could barely get him to stop and take a photo in front of the school before we headed in.

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Drop-off was a breeze.  Jax found his cubby, put his lunch box where it belonged, sat down next to his teacher and asked, “So now what do we do?”  He was happily “signing in” when we left, with no more than a perfunctory hug for his parents and not even a second glance as we walked out the door.  I am so looking forward to picking him up and hearing all about his stories from the day.  He’ll probably only remember lunch and recess.

Then the girls and I spent the morning doing errands, but I snuck in some fun things for Em to keep her mind off her 12:oo drop off, which was hovering over my head all morning (especially after last year’s preK experience).  I asked her if she would like to get a treat somewhere, so we went and got an incredibly sugary donut with pink icing at Dunkin Donuts and then we went and picked up her leotard for her ballet classes starting next week.  Suddenly it was time to head home, make lunch, feed the girls, and put Em in the car to meet Daddy for drop-off, take 2!

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She was ready (I think!).

Drop-off went fine, thanks to a familiar face in her class and a couple other girls who introduced themselves, with nothing and no one seeming too intimidating.  JDubbs and I left and she gave us a bit of a look on our way out, but then went back to her geoboard and I pray the rest of the day was so fun she didn’t have time to miss us.  We’ll see in a few short hours!

And now, well, I have this window of time that–dare I say–is mine?  Little H fell asleep on the way home from dropping Em off and transferred beautifully.  Then I was left with two and a half hours to do anything I like!  I’ve started the laundry, put away the dishes, made myself a lunch that was neither microwaved nor interrupted by whining children or greedy mouths.  I haven’t had to make a snack, pour a drink, change a channel or a diaper, or do anything that isn’t exactly what I want to do.  I have time to edit photos.  I may even exercise.  Every afternoon for the rest of the school year, I will have a window of uninterrupted time to do what I need to do.  I might plan ahead for dinner.  I might take a nap.  I might take a shower or mop the floor or write a blog post.  But I bet it will get done a heck of a lot more efficiently than it was getting done amid the hustle and bustle of getting two older kids situated so that they would be quiet long enough for me to get anything done while the baby napped.  Something incredible is happening here.  I can do what I want to do again!  It feels strange, but I think it’s coming back to me.

I think I’m going to like this elementary school thing!

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Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

On the way down to my parents’ in Massachusetts one weekend in July, we made a very special pit stop.  It was a great decision.

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The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is a slice of childhood heaven.  With illustrations from some of our favorite children’s authors like Mo Willems and Jon Klassen, the kids were thrilled to explore the exhibits as well as the grounds.

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Since we went on one of the Free Fun Fridays in the greater Boston area, there were tons of extra treats for the kiddos, like ice cream, live music, a Hungry Caterpillar parade, tattoos, and a scavenger hunt.  As the day was unfolding, I found myself grinning because it really was everything I could have asked of a family excursion.

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Speaking of hungry caterpillars, Jax found one of his own!

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Literally–it took a little bite of him!

It was pretty much the greatest pit stop of all time.

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Books, bubbles, and sunshine?  One of my favorite memories of this summer.

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Sunny Cell Phone Photos

We’re still on vacation in Maine, but these cell phone photos are too fun to miss!  I can’t help but share all this sunny happiness!

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Off to have some more fun in the sun!

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Knee Deep In The Water Somewhere

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We’re spending the week in a little house in Maine!  We’ll be doing a whole lot of nothing, spending a lot of time at the beach, just being together.  We get back this weekend and the kids start school on Monday.  So excited to spend these last few days of summer together.

See you soon!

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Taking Flight

Every summer we seem to head back again, but who can blame us for wanting to spend time at VINS every year?  The kids are growing and need some space to run, and with big cousins in town, it seemed the perfect spot to let the kids take flight.

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During the week Christian and Erika were here, VINS was high on their list of places they wanted to go (again), which is high praise for kids their age.

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Must have something to do with how learning, exploring, fun, and room to roam all come together in a really fantastic place.  With some very cool companions as well!

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And I love giving these kids a little fresh air, a little room to grow.

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Taking flight, all five of them (Little H included)!

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A Day With Baby D

How lucky am I, that I get to spend days with brand new babies like beautiful little Baby D?

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Actually, spending time with his whole family was a pleasure!  There’s nothing like new baby love!

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And being able to shoot outside (especially with a chubby, naked baby!) is just icing on the cake!

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Thank you to the C family for giving me the chance to capture this little guy!

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Not a bad side job!

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