Small and Special

Our life is so full of transition right now–transitioning to our summer routine, later bedtimes, less structure, more spontaneity–that picking up my camera has become a bit of an afterthought.  It takes a momentous occasion, like our trip to Maine last week (photos forthcoming) or Father’s Day weekend for me to remember, Oh yeah! I should probably bring my camera!  But some days, when the moments are not so earth-shattering, but small and special, taking a mental picture just isn’t enough.  I need to remember the light and the moment and everything about them forever, without trusting to memory.  After all, a girl is only six once.

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I was walking out to the front yard and stopped dead in my tracks.  Maybe it was the light behind her, dappling the newly sprouted leaves of the magnolia tree.  Maybe it was her hair or her skirt or something about her expression that made me think of the older girl to come, but I couldn’t just walk on by and a cell phone photo just wouldn’t do.  Lashes and tendrils like those deserve the big camera.

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Now the question becomes, better in color or black and white?

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My big camera may not always be in hand these days, but with moments like these, it’s worth stopping to commemorate the small and special.

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Game On!

Here it is, for those of you keeping the book.  Playing first and second base, owning the right side of the infield, Jackson and Emerson! (the imaginary crowd goes wild!)  The reason we kept Jackson down in t-ball was for this very moment.  He and his sister as teammates, Daddy as the coach, gray baseball points on and rocking ready position.  Game on!

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I’m not saying I don’t look forward to the increase in pace that coach pitch will bring, and Jackson cannot wait for some real baseball action–he claims he stole home when the last batter of the inning was up and he was able to score from second.  He doesn’t realize that everyone on the field was allowed to score; to him, he is FAST and he loves to slide!  Em doesn’t attempt to go after any balls, even if they are hit directly in front of her. But she is a cheerful little thing and reminds me a bit of myself–not necessarily an athlete but having fun nonetheless.

PicMonkey CollageIMG_8177Next year we will start the brave new world of afternoon team sports–practices at 5 pm and husband/wife juggling of multiple kid schedules.  I’m glad we had these fond Saturday morning memories, even if it was only for one year.

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Love my little Leopard Frogs!

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The Last Day

Today marks the end to a very cherished period of my life, the value of which I will never precisely put into words.  Almost exactly eight years ago to the day, Jason and I arrived in Vermont, ready to make our life here and start on two pretty grand new adventures: the arrival of baby Jackson and a brand new career for Jason.  Ever since that day, I have spent every waking moment of my life putting my children first, building a life for them that was happy, healthy, well-rounded, exciting, safe, and loved.  I created this blog to document all the little details I knew would escape me as I got older, and as a place to share my photos.  From it grew my photography business, which kept me up late and busy on weekends, but every weekday from then to now has been about me and my three amazing kids.

This period isn’t about to end, not exactly, but the period of my life as exclusively a stay-at-home mom is.  I have always missed being a teacher, even while I knew that the three most important students I would ever have were right here in my home, and that providing them with a strong love of learning and school and books was the greatest foundation I could ever give.  Now, however, when Hannah is heading to preschool in the fall and my days at home with kids would be decreasing every year, I felt it was time to think about myself, and my career, again.  I am an awesome stay-at-home mom, but I’m pretty lousy at the domestic side that comes as a stay-at-home wife.  I don’t like (and also basically can’t) cook, and I have no interest in learning.  I have two degrees that are collecting dust in my storage unit, and it’s about time to dust them off.  So when the opportunity arose to apply for a job as the librarian at my kids’ school, I jumped at the chance, even though it means going back to grad school and the end to my days home with my babies.  And (alas!) an end to this blog, which I think will bookend nicely, starting with the days awaiting becoming a mom up to the final days at home with my kids.  Because even though I have loved being home with them more than they will ever know, and am so incredibly grateful to Jason for making the sacrifices necessary to make that happen, I have a need to be more than this.  My girls need to see me in the workplace, need to know that not only am I fun and loving, I am also educated, brave, and smart.  They all need to see me following my dreams and working hard to achieve them.  And they get to see me, literally, once a week (if not more!) at the library at school!  I get to continue teaching my own kids, and get back to teaching others’, in one of my favorite places in the entire universe–the library.  The manner in which the stars aligned for all of this to work out is astounding, and again, I am thrilled it worked out so well.

But….there’s one thing that I forgot to mention.  My baby, my girl.  My last little one, Hannah, will not get her full allotment of time at home with Mommy, and even though I know all of the zillion great reasons why it’s okay for her to be in preschool (She’ll be three and a half! We love her teachers! She’ll be in the same building as me in the afternoon! She’s ready!) my heart does ache a little thinking that today is literally the very last full day that I will spend home with my baby, ever.  After tomorrow the two biggest wild things will descend upon our house for summer vacation, and this blessed time for just us two will be over.  I had more than most and those days meant more than I ever dreamed possible. They taught me how to be a mom, and how to love these little people and show them that nothing matters more to me than them, no matter what.  I would only have taken a job if it meant I could still be supremely involved in their daily lives, but the small, quiet, comfortable, moments of my everyday life with them as babies is over.  Tomorrow is the last day of school and I am helping out at field day, then Jackson and Emmy will be home for the summer.  Today is my last day at home with my girl, just me and her, and after the summer, life as we know it will have changed.  All of this is for the very good, but I cannot believe that this time in my life is done.  It makes me want to run upstairs and go snuggle Hannah as she naps, and just breathe in every precious reason that she is her.

So you know what?  That’s what I’m going to go do.

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A Springtime Thaw, In Cell Phone Photos

Ah, the transition from winter to spring, from snow to grass, from cold to warmth, from darkness to light.  After a Vermont winter, there is nothing more delightful than glorious spring, and around here there is more changing than just the plants.  Don’t forget my two big kids, who have nearly completed the transition from kindergartener and first-grader to the first and second grades. Our lives have changed since the days have gotten longer, and whether it’s the end of diapers, the end of homework, the end of our first year with two in school–our last with me at home full time–I am more aware than ever how blessed we are with the small, everyday things.

PicMonkey CollagePicMonkey Collage1PicMonkey CollagePicMonkey CollagePicMonkey CollagePicMonkey CollageAll these green grass and blue sky photos make my heart so happy.  I feel like I am coming out of my winter slumber as well!  Four more days of school and then a summer to remember is just around the corner, I just know it!

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On Artistry and Understanding Em: Pablo Picasso

“Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

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“I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.”

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“Everything you can imagine is real.”

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“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”

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“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”

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“The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.”

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Thank you, Mr. Picasso.  I never understood my daughter so well.

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Saturdays

Saturdays for me and Little H look a lot like this…

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…while the big kids and Daddy spend their Saturdays like this.

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JDubbs is coaching both the big kids in t-ball, the reason why we held Jax back to play t-ball one more year rather than go on to coach pitch.  We wanted one year where both Jax and Em were on the same team with Daddy coaching them, in case Em didn’t take very well to baseball.  So far they’ve both been pretty good about it, and I hope they continue on, but if not we always have memories of this year!  Em is always trying her best and Jax does his best to boss everyone around, even kids on the other team!

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They both have the potential to be good enough to play, at least for fun, and I’m glad we will have these memories to start them on their baseball career.  Not all kids enjoy the slower pace of baseball, but playing is in their blood, on both sides.  I think with Daddy there to guide them and Little H and I there to cheer them on, they will continue on long enough to experience all the fun and camaraderie being on a team and baseball/softball has to offer.  There are too many fabulous memories for both JDubbs and me to look back on to hope that our kids don’t at least give baseball a try!  So far, so good!

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I could get used to Saturdays like this.

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Both my big kids have had a great start, thanks to their Dad!  He has had lots of patience and given up his weekend mornings to encourage them and help them feel successful and proud!

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They make quite a team!

 

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A Tale of Two Parties

My darling creative, sparkling, wonderful Em turned six last month, and she is so loved it required two parties!

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The first party was for three of her friends after school on her actual birthday.  Em is an artist through and through, and to celebrate that each friend celebrated her inner artist!

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We got a little excited about these invitations…there was a little extra glue going on.  But it was all Em’s idea and she was super creative with how she wanted to decorate them!

When the girls arrived after school, there were art supplies waiting for each of them at their seat.

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Each girl painted her own picture on her canvas, and then we filled cupcake necklaces with sand art.  They all loved it and the time flew by!

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And of course, colorful cupcakes!

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It was a really fun way to celebrate her actual birthday and she felt super special.  She felt even more fabulous that weekend, when all our family came up for her family party, this time an animal theme she designed all her own!

The cousins loved the animal masks, and the girls all wore matching dresses made by Nana.  It was so adorable to see them all together!

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Em used our many Schleich animals to decorate her cake and Nana and Papa’s house, and there were plenty of “party animals” to go around!  Her ideas for animal touches were so fun! I’m glad I let her help decorate this year instead of trying to surprise her as usual.  She really knows what she wants, and her vision is always great!

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Including these creepy-eyed stuffies (not my favorites but my kids LOVE them) in lieu of goodie bags for the kids!  They were such a hit!

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Em knew exactly what she wanted for food as well, and with some creative wording, she was able to get all her favorite foods at the party!  Such a smart lady.

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Em remembered how Papa orchestrated a scavenger hunt for her presents last year and made a request for another go round.  He obliged and she tracked down all the amazing gifts bought and made for her, including a professional easel handmade by her Auntie Amanda.  What a lucky lady to have such a beautiful day!

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Mmmmm….and a yummy cake made by Auntie Jenny.  Loved by so many, this precious girl.

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Happy birthday, dear Em!  You deserved every minute of happiness from your celebrations!

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