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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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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Batting Practice

The minute the sun decided to come out of its slumber, and the grass turned the slightest bit greener, the kids, JDubbs and I were ready to stop hibernating and start living again.  With t-ball right around the corner, Jax started growing antsy to start practicing his skills.  So we took the kids to the local baseball diamond and savored every second of it.

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At first the girls were more interested in being cheerleaders than participants, but we eventually won them over.  Life isn’t about being a bystander, after all.

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This particular boy is so no bystander; he is always eager to get out there.  Always eager to get better at everything he does.

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And he’s getting pretty darn good!  Come on, girls, your turn!  Batter up!

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Em might be a pretty good hitter, but she frolics along the base path like the ballerina she is.  It’s a joyful sort of way to move, and I hope she never loses it, no matter how many outs she makes.

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Little H doesn’t dance around the bases; she has and always will hustle.  She hustles through life and knows what she wants.  Two different girls, one crazy boy, and a life that is full of practice for all of us.

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 We just have to keep on hustling, keep on dancing, and stay eager for every season.  Play ball!

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Sunshine On My Shoulders Makes Me Happy

Spring appears to have finally arrived in our corner of Vermont, just in time for a lovely, low-key vacation wrap up.  Sunshine has two possible effects on me: complete and utter laziness or a compulsion to get out and explore.  This weekend we had a little bit of both.

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I finally found the motivation to get out for a run (see the good effects the warm weather has on me?), and when I came back, all I wanted to do was bask in the sun’s rays.  The kids thought that was the perfect way to spend some quiet time, so first we pulled out a blanket and a basket of books for some independent reading time, and then moved on to “cooler” activities.
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A bowl full of water that they get to refill with the hose, some paint brushes and a dry deck as their canvas.  Instant art with no clean up!  Plus I was still able to supervise in the sunshine.  Ah, glorious spring!

The next morning we had a bit more motivation.  I had run the day before past Dewey’s Pond and by the scene of one of my kids’ muddiest adventure and thought it was a good excuse for the kids and I to get out and explore.  I loved listening to their words and observations, and it was clear that they have learned so much in school about the world around them.  Jax was comparing the ripples the rocks thrown in the pond to “sonic waves” and they both were looking for signs of springs and animals.  It was a slow walk, stopping to look and consider and explore, but it wasn’t about cardio that day.  We were all about being out in the world in the sun.

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One thing I couldn’t help but notice about my little Em was her constant climbing! She climbed every rock and tree, even in her new dress! I think it has a lot to do with her forest classroom where she spends one day per week.  She is definitely not timid about being outside and testing her limits!  I was really proud to see my almost six-year-old blooming.

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Don’t let this guy fool you, either, though.  He had plenty to say and share–he loved looking for birds, and even insisted on calling Papa to figure out what species of bird was all around us.  Of course, Papa knew–red-winged black birds!  They followed us along on our walk.

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That afternoon was spent grilling dinner at Lake Pinneo, spending our first day of the year at the beach.  Even though we knew the water was going to be freezing with snow runoff, I brought bathing suits, just in case.  Good thing I did because the kids couldn’t resist the call of the water, and we made it home just in time for baths and bed to recuperate from a busy week!

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What a weekend!  What a week!  What a summer we will have!

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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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