Daddy’s Kind Of Craft

A week or two ago JDubbs came home from Home Depot with one of those elaborate jack-o-lantern kits that make your pumpkin look like one of your kids’ favorite characters or a really intricate Halloween scene.  I gave it one glance and decided I wanted nothing to do with that.  I figured he bought it, he could get elbow-deep in a pumpkin and then meticulously cut away at minute details of Elsa and Anna’s eyebrows.  So one evening, he and the big kids gave it a shot, while Mommy looked on from a safe distance from the pumpkin guts.

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Both kids were really brave about sticking their hands in the pumpkin, but I did especially love Em’s slightly squeamish expressions.

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Jax and JDubbs do a lot of things together, but I do love the bond that exists between JDubbs and Em.  She is a very girly four-year-old, but often she is the one who volunteers to help Daddy out with his projects, like boiling syrup and in this case, carving pumpkins.

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But after a while even she got tired of the process and abandoned JDubbs to his drudgery.  It took forever!  At one point I went into the kitchen and asked JDubbs how it was going.

Tedious,” he replied.

Yeah,” I said.  “I was surprised you wanted to do that.”

“Hey, leave me alone,”  he said with an air of self-righteous defensiveness.  “I’m doing a craft.”

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You sure did, babe!  Not everyone has the tenacity to stick with a project like that.  Well done!  Em loves her Cinderella jack-o-lantern!

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Normal

Is it normal to paint in your best purple crown?

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To wear a ridiculous number of necklaces?

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To snuggle on the floor on top of a pile of Duplos (with Mickey, of course)?

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To watch Super Why on Mommy’s laptop like a crouching tiger?

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I guess the answer to that question is that my girls are normally weird.

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I’m okay with that.

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Oh, Mickey, You’re So Fine

Little H has a new best friend, and the Mickey love runs deep.

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She drags him (well, one of the three Mickey dolls she has in various sizes) with her pretty much everywhere she goes.

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I really tried to get her to dress up as “Ditty” (as she calls him) for Halloween, but she refuses to wear any kind of costume.  And Mickey without the ears just isn’t the same.  But don’t be surprised if he makes it into a few Halloween shots–he’ll probably tag along in her candy bucket!

Her favorite thing to do with Mickey is drag him out onto the deck and chuck him in and out of the windows of our little house.  She laughs like crazy and runs around to get him, then repeat.

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It may seem like a random thing to write a blog post about, but Mickey is such a part of her at 19 months, that I don’t want to forget.  From now on, you’ll be surprised to see how often he makes his way into blog posts!

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Hey, Mickey!

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Foggy Fall Photos

This autumn, as glorious as it has been, has presented its share of photographic challenges.  Some morning photo shoots are below freezing, some (especially the ones near bodies of water) have been blanketed in fog!  I’ve never had much of a chance to photograph in fog before, but it was unique in that it is very reflective (which is good) while filtering the sun’s direct light (which is very good), but it also does funny things with color and light cast, which was new to me.  Turns out, I love the way it looks in black and white!  Luckily, these families were so fun to be around, the photos just came naturally and I didn’t have to overthink the logistical side of it; I just hung out and had fun!  So here are some of my best photos from a few foggy fall mornings!

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Such beautiful families and such great memories!

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Turning Six

Every year I take the kids out to take birthday photos of them, and usually I just go to any old spot where I can get some good shots that help capture who they are at this age.  This year, as Jax turns six, I asked him where he thought we should go and he suggested his school, which has become the center of our daily solar system and where he is so happy.  He is especially happy in his outdoor classroom, where he spends every Monday morning learning, observing, building, and being an overall great kid.  So that’s where we went.

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This is no measly campfire; this is a sophisticated civilization in the woods outside his school, complete with his favorite “sit spot,” shelters, climbing rock and even a bathroom!  I loved watching him as he explained to me what he saw around him, why he loves the forest, what he has learned.  It is an incredible opportunity for him to learn this way.

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It’s incredible for us as his parents to watch him grow into the boy he was meant to become.

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Before we left the forest, he picked up a bunch of acorns and acorn hats, which we used back at the school to make the number 6 outside his classroom door.

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It was the perfect setting to tell his story.

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This goofy, silly, smart, interesting, driven, happy, loving, darling boy, who blessed us six years ago as he joined our family, helping us begin to craft the story of our family.

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Loving learning, loving life.

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Ready to take on the world.

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Happiest of birthdays to my best boy, Jax.  The coolest kid I know.

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Apple Picking x 3

As the beautiful unseasonably warm autumn weather continued, so did my string of adventures with the kids outside.  What also continued was the tradition of taking the kids apple picking without JDubbs (who has a big deadline in October), but sadly I wasn’t able to join our friends on the big apple picking excursion as we have every year since Jax was little.  This year the kids and I braved a different path, went to a new farm and had a fantastic, fun-in-the-fall-sun day.

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This was the first time I had ever let Little H just eat an apple without slicing or peeling it.  This is a major milestone for me, who literally has nightmares about my kids choking.  However, she was a rockstar and now I would say that handing her a shiny red apple is probably the equivalent of handing a teenager the keys to a new car.  Possibly dangerous, but overall worth it to see how much they enjoy it.

Now on to my attempt to get a photo of the three of them looking at the camera and not making a weird face.  Fail.

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So back to candids, which I like even better.

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The original plan was to only pick as many apples as we could carry, because I had all three kids alone and I didn’t need to be bogged down with a giant bag of apples.  Jax, being the intrepid improviser that he is, dodged that problem nicely.

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T-shirts make excellent apple-carriers, and what was I thinking anyway?  We still left with $8 worth of apples, one jack-o-lantern-worthy pumpkin, 3 baby pumpkins and 2 squash.  I didn’t need to bring a bag; I needed a wagon.

And speaking of pumpkins, look what happened in the pumpkin patch.  The moment that made my Mommy heart explode.

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And…one more attempt a group photo.

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Well, I can’t have everything!

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Unseasonable Autumn

Unseasonably warm autumn days are like crack to me, and this fall has been glorious.  When the light is streaming through orange and yellow maple leaves and vibrant red leaves are like jewels underfoot, my hands itch to get my kids in that golden sunshine and start snapping photos.  Compound that with days that are so warm we don’t even need to bundle up?  I can’t ask for much more from this life.

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Cell phone photo of our front yard.

So on a very unseasonably warm day in early October, I took the kids to scope out a future photo shoot location.  The kids were being great, enjoying the day and each other, and I was free to just take photos and soak in the sun.  Basically, my cup was overflowing with autumnal happiness.

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See?  This equals heaven when you live in Vermont.

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We went down to the river to check out the vantage points from down there, and again, my kids didn’t need me.  In fact, when they needed help, they turned to each other, and that’s when I knew this was a day worth capturing.

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It’s days like this when I think we should never leave Vermont, when I look around at all the beauty and harmony in nature and I think, what more could I possibly need?  Then I recall that we don’t normally wade in rivers or wear sundresses in October, and I remember life here isn’t always this golden.  But on perfect days like this, it doesn’t matter to me one bit.  This is all I need.

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