After this weekend, I am thankful for so many things.  I’m thankful for my husband, who spent his entire Thanksgiving weekend with my family without even a grumble.  My husband who has embraced my family, with all its quirks and nuances, as his own.  My husband who watched our kids on several occasions in the past month so that I could take photos or edit them, and who did not even give me one iota of grief when I dropped my 50mm lens and therefore needed to spend much of my photo shoot profits on a new one.  My husband who let me sleep in this morning because I worked hard all weekend, and have been sick, without me even asking.

I’m thankful for all my friends and family who have supported me during this photographic adventure, be it through actually paying me to take photos of your family, to watching my kids while I work, to listening to me complain/fret/overanalyze every step of this process, to supporting me with your praise.  All of it means so much to me, and I appreciate it often more than I say.

I’m thankful for the wonderful food we shared this week and everyday, and for the occasion to bring extended family together (all 20 of us for Thanksgiving dinner!).  I especially love watching the cousins who get along so well no matter how long it’s been between visits.  And I’m grateful for the health of my family gathered together and for those who were not present on this day.

I’m thankful for this blog and my readers, whose support I so appreciate, without which I would never had had the courage to begin taking my photography to the next level.  Even when it takes me away from spending my time here, overall I look forward to being back as soon as I can.

I am forever grateful for these two little monsters, and the joy they bring me on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis.

I took a bunch of the two of them together in their fancy clothes, but I may use one for our holiday card, so I can’t share any of the cute ones.  But as you can see from this silly shot, they did look very cute!

And lastly, I’m thankful for this last photo, inspired by a similar shot taken by my friend Amy of her daughter Nia, which I cannot get into a frame fast enough.

Ever since my ultrasound technician told us we were having a girl, I have been anticipating moments like this.  Even better than I imagined.

For all the many reasons, listed here and in my mind and heart, I am so very thankful.  I hope your weekend was just as blessed.

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A Crafty Celebration

Em’s first Thanksgiving celebration began with crafts.  I was inspired to commemorate this special occassion and spent Wednesday in full-blown craft-mode.  Jax and I made pinecone turkeys (as seen below) with a little help from Nana and input from Em, and I also made little felt turkeys out of her and Jax’s handprints.  I’m only just beginning to understand how fast they grow, and I worry that if I don’t do it now, their hands will soon be too big for such things.
Luckily my children were neither too big nor too young for these kinds of crafts.  They were “just right,” and we had our first trip in the new mini-van when we jaunted off to JoAnn Fabrics for the necessary tools for the trade: felt, pompoms, new scissors, sequins, stickers, glitter pens, etc.  Very reminiscent of making posters for pep ralleys and decorations for dances, so I didn’t feel too far out of my league.  I was a Nancy Kelly dancer, after all 😉  Sequins and I are old friends.
This was Jax’s first craft, however, and he was pretty impressed.  I feel many a rainy day crafty improvisation coming on now that I’m all stocked up!
The final products were so darn cute, they graced our Thanksgiving table.  Thanks for your help, Nana!
While the pinecone turkeys were drying, I quickly traced my kids’ handprints to make felt turkeys of them later.  I have to say, I’m really really glad I did it and am pretty proud of how well they came out.  I couldn’t believe Jax’s hand was almost too big to fit in a 5 x 7 frame.  Big boy!
Other than the decorations, Thanksgiving 2010 was very similar to our weekly Sunday night dinners: great food and family and football.  I did harass my family into taking a group shot; they mostly came out blurry, which looks less obvious in black and white.  This was the best of the bunch, which isn’t saying much!  Jax was not feeling photo-friendly this day.
Actually, Jax wasn’t really in that great of a mood for the entire day.  Woke up on the wrong side of his nap and stayed grumpy until bed.  This is pretty much how he was all afternoon and evening…
…which, as you can imagine, was really fun for me.  For some reason, he wanted all Mommy and no one else, and was closer to me than my shadow.  It was sweet at first but then exhausting.  I can’t say I was sad when Daddy put him to sleep!
Em was feeling much more social, and thus, more fun.  I am equally thankful for them both, but I was very grateful to have a smiley little one to play with instead of Grumpy.
This is much more my style.
Well, even a grumpy toddler monster couldn’t take away from the joy of family and conscious gratitude on a day like Thanksgiving.  This time last year, Em was still a little bean in my belly.  Now she’s a roly-poly ball of fun.  Jax was saying, “Cheers!” for the very first time and now he talks in full sentences (his latest favorite–“Move it!”  What a peach).  But through it all, I am forever thankful for our family, our health, our situation, our freedoms.
Our blessings are plentiful up here in Vermont.  Our lives (and our bellies!) are full.
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Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is Thankgiving, and I know my fingers will be too full of delicious food and my brain will be too sleepy and full of football to give thanks properly for the myriad blessings in my life.  So I’ll do it now.
* I’m thankful for my beautiful and healthy family.  Yes, my family, like all families, has its members with aches and pains and twinges and discomfort, but there is no one suffering from a terminal disease or lying in a hospital bed, and for that I am especially grateful.
* I’m thankful for my beautiful and perfect children.  For my chubby little Em who could not be a better snuggler if she tried.  For my sweet Jax who today called me “Mama Bear” and when I asked him what that made him, replied, “the baby bear.”  I love them both beyond words.  Oh, and don’t forget Baxter.  I am grateful for how comfortable I am that he will always be there for my kids, as protector or pillow.  He doesn’t seem to mind either way.
* I’m thankful for warmth.  For my warm house, our confidence in warm water and warm food, and for our fireplace where there will soon be stockings hung with great care.
* I’m thankful for our house and the home we have turned it into.
* I’m thankful for JDubbs’s job and its ability to let me stay home with my kids while they are growing and soaking up every new thing that comes their way.  I wouldn’t change my situation for anything.
* I’m thankful for my friends, near and far.  Wherever we go, JDubbs and I seem to find our perfect matches and create a great circle of friends worth having for years to come.
* And of course, I’m thankful for my incredible thoughtful husband who always knows what I need, be it space, sleep, quiet, wine, Glee, a new lens for my camera, or a hug.
Or the car of my dreams.
My early Christmas present from my spontaneous and incredible husband.  The mini-van I’ve been needing, waiting and pining for.  Not many men would trade in their rugged SUV for a mini-van, knowing that their only other cruising option is a 7-year-old Jetta.  He will be a man with a mini-van.  But apparently the mockery that comes with that isn’t bad enough to keep him from making his wife unbelievably happy.  And for that, and him, I will always be so very thankful.
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