The Princess In Black

The kids’ school had a literacy spirit week this week, and on the last day they were supposed to dress up as their favorite book character.  As expected, Jax dressed up as Harry Potter, just like he did last Halloween, but Em totally surprised me! I thought for sure she’d love a chance to dress up as Fancy Nancy, but instead, she chose another favorite female character–and one I love!–The Princess in Black!

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The Princess In Black is girly, frilly, and covered in pink from head-to-toe when she is Princess Magnolia, but when the monster alarm rings, she becomes The Princess In Black!  Em owns all three of the books in the series, and let me just say that when she chose to be a badass princess who doesn’t need protecting rather than some lame Disney princess, I couldn’t have been happier!

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Plus, the costume is way cooler.

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So proud of you, Em, for doing something different and for wanting to be like somebody that doesn’t need rescuing.  The world is yours, little girl!  Nobody’s going to stop in your way!

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Love my brave and strong (and silly!) Princess In Black!

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A Southern Comfort Photo Shoot

When one of your best friends since pretty much forever, who lives in some sort of suburban paradise in South Carolina, calls you to say that for the amount she would pay for a photo shoot down there, she might as well buy you a plane ticket, you just say, “Tell me when,” and you go.  Because friendships are important and her babies will only be this little for so long, and you’ve only met one of her three!  Time for some southern comfort and a photo shoot among the peach blossoms!

I got to meet her three wonderful children, who are so sweet and endearing, I really miss them!  Tom and Dawn, you are good parents, my friends!

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We knocked out a few family and sibling photos right off the bat while the baby was being cooperative, and while we were just warming up, I had a little model who was going full tilt.  In fact, I was changing my lens, looked up, and there she was, posing on her own, practically begging me to hurry up.  My pleasure!
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Not only was I able to hang out with my friend and her family, her parents live there as well, whom I have known for the past twenty-five years.  The whole experience was about as warm, loving, and nostalgic a shoot as I have ever done!

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And we had a bit of fun as well!

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Especially when Dawn and Tom decided to keep it real: candy for the big kids, beer for the grown-ups, and…what is the baby doing?  Ah, well, third kid.  That’s real life.

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After eleven years of marriage, it was great to see that these two are still as happy and make each other laugh as much as ever!

In the end, the shoot was magical, and worth ever minute of the journey.

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Thank you for hosting me, dear friends, and for trusting me with your memories!  It was a glorious weekend all around.

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I hope to see you all soon!

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An ABC Egg Hunt

I would say one of the hardest things about being a parent to more than one kid is the need to remember that your third kid needs just as much of your time, energy, attention, and patience as your first one (or second, or third…).  Because there are so many people around to entertain her–her days spent with me, afternoons with brother and sister or friends, bedtime with Em–she isn’t the best at playing independently, but she’ll get there.  Her constant need for attention sometimes has the undesired effect of me just throwing up my hands and saying, “Can’t you just go play!?” instead of encouraging me to dream up some fun activity for the two of us.  I have been working on renewing my teaching credential–a process which has kept the blog low on my totem pole of priorities–so I have been even busier than usual, fielding emails and requesting transcripts during time that I used to spend perusing Pinterest for fun literacy activities like I did for Jax or Em (cue the Mommy guilt).  I could have just as easily spent this morning encouraging Little H to keep herself occupied, but with the recognition that both she and my blog were being grossly neglected, I pulled out an old favorite to meet the ever-increasing needs of my very bright three-year-old.

Alphabet Egg Hunt Matching Game @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I have come up with many upcycling uses for last week’s plastic Easter eggs that help my kids with various needs–spelling, counting, rhyming.  Little H already knows her letters, upper case and lower case, but I thought this would be a good exercise in letter sounds.  First I wrote all the upper case and lower case letters on egg halves, like so, and spread them all over our front deck.  Hooray for a warm spring day!

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Then she and I hung out, matching letters, matching colors, talking and smiling.  Since she does already know her letters, we focused on the sounds they make.  She would find a letter, I’d point out what color it is so she could find the match, then we should brought it to me she’d tell me what sound the letter makes.

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For a three-year-old, she’s one smart cookie, my H.

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Last kids deserve all the love and enrichment and attention as the first ones.  I’m lucky enough to be home with her, and I need to make every day matter, in big ways or small.

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 It’s good for both of us.

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Winter Cell Phone Photo Dump

As the winter fades, so do these bright memories of quiet, indoor life together as a family.  That’s my favorite part of winter–the togetherness.  Soon, their excitement to spring out the screen door to explore the woods in the sunshine will outlast any tantalizing treat I could conjure indoors, and why would I try?  They’re growing, exuberant, vibrant, and can’t wait to have room to stretch and run and flourish outdoors.  Spring is here, and the quiet peace that comes with winter is fading fast.

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I hardly ever remember it while it’s happening, but there is a reason the Earth has a quiet season…to survive, to contemplate, and appreciate.  That’s what the winter is for me.  To huddle close, savor, and remember that every season is dear.  The quiet moments are just as important as the loud ones.  Grateful for our quiet season, but looking forward to see it go!

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Outside!

I could lament how inadequate this winter was, how short the ski season turned out to be and how we only made one snowman and went sledding as a family one time!  But when we are outside without jackets on, soaking up the sunshine, knee-deep in mud season, hanging out with JDubbs while he turns tree sap into homemade maple syrup, I find it hard to feel bad about anything.

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The day after Little H’s birthday party mud season was in full effect, with temperatures in the 50’s and the kids rocking their boots and sweatpants, light jackets on or none at all!  We played baseball in the side yard–in March!!–brought out the little playhouse, and generally relished the feeling of the sun on our faces.

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I can’t lament the sunshine, or not having a single snow day, or how our summer is going to begin the second week of June!  I can’t regret the months ahead of more time outside, less idle time inside, more fresh air and less TV.  With Little H turning three, they can all go out and play in the yard together, and although mud season can be awfully messy, I will take it!

Happy Spring!

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A Paw Patrol Paw-ty!

Little H had a pretty fabulous family birthday party over the weekend, if I do say so myself.  It had a lot to do with the guest list, with lots of family making the trek up north to celebrate us, but the birthday girl herself was pretty darn cute.  It doesn’t hurt when big sister takes the time to make sure you are party ready, from your fingers down to your toes.

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Thanks to Pinterest and the dollar store, I found plenty of easy ideas for Paw Patrol party food, including serving it in these over-sized dog bowls with silly pup wording.  I’m pretty sure the Chew Toys were gone before the party even started, and I may have made my kids addicted to Cocoa Puffs!

Paw Patrol Bday Party @ Rub Some Dirt On It

With the party set up, it was time to welcome family and enjoy the unseasonably warm spring weather.  What a day!  All of Little H’s cousins were there to celebrate, and because they range from teenager to not-much-bigger than H, I called in reinforcements.  Nothing brings cousins big and small together like bubbles, and nothing makes me happier than bubbles and sunshine.

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Indoors, nothing made Little H happier than an entire house decorated with the Paw Patrol everywhere she turned, filled with people who love her, yummy food, and awesome gifts.  It was the perfect day to be a three-year-old.  Or related to a particularly fabulous three-year-old!

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And cake!  Mmmm…an extra perfect day to be three.

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Such a glorious celebration, so much love!  So grateful to everyone and so proud of Little H.  Happy birthday little one!

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It was definitely a day to remember!

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And Then She Was Three

Over the weekend, something pretty wonderful happened.  This little one turned into a big girl.  Little H is three, and she has the spunky and silly personality to show for it.

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She had a lovely, fun-filled, delightful birthday morning.  We got a late start because we were so busy having pancakes before Daddy went to work, opening presents (two books and the Air Patroller from Paw Patrol!), and picking out the perfect birthday dress (not entirely a tomboy, after all!).  We went to Morning Garden and shared apples and buns with friends, Mommy finished knitting H her very own little kitten, and planted wheatgrass.  Then home for lunch and a nap so when the big kids were done with school, our adventure could continue.

After school (and many birthday hugs), we went to Lego Club at the library, where Little H continues to amaze me with her creations.  Apparently I need to let her use our Legos at home more often!  Then we went over to Pizza Chef where we met up with some friends (mostly Jax and Em’s friends from school, but they are such sweet kids, they make Little H feel like one of the gang).  She truly felt loved and very special!

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This was just day 1 of a three-day celebrating extravaganza.  An epic Paw Patrol party with family was up for the next morning, as well as a sunshine-and-fun-filled Sunday morning outside.  On her actual birthday, though, Little H felt the love from near and far, with family and friends.  We are lucky to have this precious little girl, but she is sure lucky to be so loved as well!

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Happy birthday to our darling baby girl!

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