Who Has Time For The Big Camera Anyway?

This summer is absolutely flying by.  The girls embark on their first week of camp together today–Hannah, at camp! How is that possible!?–while Jackson and I have one week of mornings together, just the two of us, for the first time since he became a big brother.  A delightful chance, amid the chaos of a whirlwind summer, and three kids growing up faster than I would have imagined possible during my first few years getting to know my life as a mother in Vermont.

Now I look back on those long summers at home full of small moments and happiness with bittersweet nostalgia, especially since preparing for my new job and enduring two graduate courses are enough to keep my every spare moment occupied. I have had some really great adventures, including spending the better part of two days alone in Boston while Jason was at a conference, meeting up with dear friends, shopping for my new professional wardrobe, sleeping, reading, and relaxing.  Jackson spent a wonderful week at a new camp that he really enjoyed but left him quite exhausted, taking the girls strawberry picking and last but not least, Emmy has learned to swim!  All in a busy summer month’s work!  I cherish these smiling faces!

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Even though I barely have time to remember my name, let alone my camera, I am ever the more grateful for the tiny little camera in my pocket at all times in my cell phone, if only to record the fleeting memories of the fastest-flying summer I can remember!  Fast or slow, every summer with these three is memorable, and I’m glad I have the pictures to prove it!

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Family Love

What started out as our annual Father’s Day photo gift showing how much we love Daddy, which is just shocking when you compare it to years past (who are these children and when did they get so darn big??) turned into a fabulous family-filled Father’s Day weekend with cousins and memories galore.  I hope our very favorite Daddy of all enjoyed his celebration!

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They spent days at the pool and evenings laughing and riding bikes in the driveway with cousins, and with all five of them at Nana and Papa’s house, it was a bustling, funny weekend to remember.  Who brought the Nerf guns??

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I tried desperately to get all five of them to take a decent photo together.  But when you are nearly 8, nearly 7, just six, almost 4 and just 3, following directions can be a bore.  A for effort, though, my loves!

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I could show you the two photos I took at the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival, before all hell broke loose and we left with two girls absolutely losing their minds and crying their eyes out over sand art and lemonade, but that wouldn’t be the real story.  The real story is that Jason and I high-tailed it out of there as quickly as our exhausted children could follow, crashing from late evening fun with family and long days in the sun.  This wasn’t the year for portraits, but these kids sure do love each other, as we love the best Daddy in the world, JDubbs.

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We’ll just keep those memories in our mental memory boxes this year, shall we?

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Jumping For Joy! The Way Life Should Be!

Boy, do our kids love Maine!  We do, too, and when we surprised them with an unexpected trip to celebrate my birthday/Father’s Day/the end of the school year, they couldn’t contain their excitement.  They were jumping for joy!

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We all love the glorious family time that comes when arrive in Maine–cell phones suddenly don’t work, Daddy gets a couple extra days off, bedtimes get thrown to the wind.  Plus there’s a big old ocean that we don’t get to see very often.  If you have been to Maine in early summer, you know that ocean can be COLD!  But these little Vermonters are not afraid of a little chill, and nothing can keep them from exploring and leaping and frolicking from the moment we get to the shore until we drag them away.

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Little H was not a fan of the ocean last year.  She kept her feet firmly planted on the sand.  All winter, when we talked about our upcoming trip to Maine, she would say, “But I don’t like big waves, right, Mom?”  I kept suggesting that maybe she does like waves, perhaps just the little ones, and she was willing to be brave this time around.  I was proud of her, my little sassy pants who doesn’t back down easily.

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Maybe the joy of the older two was just too contagious to resist.

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I haven’t had my big camera in my hands for this long in months.  I was enjoying myself as much as them.  There’s nothing like the ocean and my kids to inspire me once again.  Oh, yes, and Jason is pretty darn great, too!

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Even I got in the photos every now and then, thanks to Jason and the kids!

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I can sit on the shore and watch the tide bury my feet for hours.  Hannah was happy to join me.  I think we started a trend!

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Maine! The Way Life Should Be!

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We all certainly think so!

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Photo Jun 16, 8 14 58 PM

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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.

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