A Great Photo Of A Great Daddy

Have I ever mentioned that JDubbs is the greatest dad ever?  Well, he is, but he’s extra amazing because he makes time for each of our kids individually every day.  It starts when Em creeps in our bed for snuggles way before we’re ready to wake up almost every morning, how he makes breakfast for the three of them, takes Jax to school every day, does baths every night and splits bedtime duties, putting Little H to sleep while I bathe the big kids, then coming in to finish reading them stories, and takes Jax and Little H to soccer on Saturdays while I take Em to ballet, just to name a few.  And then, when it feels like she needs it (like on this day), he cuts out during lunch to take Em to school or for a special lunch with just Daddy.  He’s a good one.

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We all know it.  I think it shows.

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The Sweetness of Summer

Father’s Day weekend has been one of my favorite of the summer thus far: family visiting from out of town, tons of glorious sunshine, cousins playing contentedly, and a hot air balloon festival to top it all off.  Add a cocktail or two, showering Daddy in as much love as we could muster, plus delicious homemade ice cream, and you have a quick overview of a very wonderful weekend.

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On the last evening, when Nana arrived home from California and we had already tucked Little H into bed, the wind that had been plaguing us all weekend died down and the hot air balloons finally launched!  So I ran upstairs, grabbed the baby and we all went out on the porch to watch them sail serenely by.

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It was totally worth it.

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What a wonderful weekend, and a fantastic way to celebrate the men that we love!  A blessed, happy Father’s Day!

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Run, Daddy, Run!

We spent a bright, spring morning counting the minutes and getting prepared for Daddy’s big arrival, celebrating yet another huge accomplishment as he ran his second half marathon in two years.  The kids were fired up and happy to be playing a role in their Daddy’s big day, writing chalk messages and drawing pictures to cheer him on, hopefully giving him that final push toward the finish line.

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The kids were decked out in homemade t-shirts, with signs they had painted (with encouraging words of their choice) and a complete lack of understanding that Daddy was not going to be the first person to run past us, nor the second nor the third.  Or tenth.  After the first group, Jax was completely frustrated, asking every two minutes when Daddy was going to run past, no matter how many times we showed him how far away he was on the Map My Run app.

Not that JDubbs was slow, by any means.  He was running at a quicker pace than the year before, but they had been looking forward to this day for so long that they just couldn’t wait to show him how proud they were of him!

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We killed time by playing with family and toys, taking photos and cheering the other runners on.

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I was actually able to get in the photos myself–a miraculous feat in itself–but of course they are less than amazing, as Jax looks like he’d rather be shot and I look like I’m giving H the Heimlich maneuver.

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But none of that mattered when around the corner he came!

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The kids were so thrilled, and in light of our sign and the funny conversations it spurred between the grown-ups, Jax ran to the cooler and grabbed Daddy a beer–which he knew is his Daddy’s favorite way to kick back.  Nothing Daddy would have liked better, but there was still 1.8 miles to go!

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He finished with a fantastic time, looked great, and felt awesome.  The kids were so proud of him and, as always, he was the perfect role model to them–showing them the benefits and pride that comes from accomplishing a long-awaited goal.

You’re amazing, Daddy!  We sure are proud of you!

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A Very Special D-A-D

This year, as for the past few years, I made a photo collage of the kids holding letters that spell out the word “DAD” as a Father’s Day gift for JDubbs.  This year I didn’t overthink it, didn’t coordinate their outfits, just handed them a letter and hoped for the best.  I think the low pressure situation worked out just fine and helped capture a bit of who they really are!

Here are some of the outtakes:

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D-A-D for Father's Day gift

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Until I got the ones I wanted.  Real expressions, beautiful kids, all grateful for a very special Dad.

Father's Day photo Collage with letters D-A-D

We love you, JDubbs!  Hope you had a wonderful Father’s Day!

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The Cook And His Assistant

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JDubbs has been hard at work collecting sap and boiling away to make maple syrup for us this winter, and to my surprise, his number one assistant is Miss Em.  She loves to watch the process and keep him company; she’s the Jesse Pinkman to his Walter White while he “cooks.”

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JDubbs built a firepit by our driveway and has his gear (and some of our firewood) ready to go for stage 2 of the syrup-making process.  Boiling, boiling, and more boiling.

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I don’t know how he knows when to stop, but it takes something like 30 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.  In other words, they’re out there for a long time.  If the weather is right, he’ll be out there all day, with Em coming and going when she gets too cold or hungry.

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 They’re actually a lot alike, JDubbs and Em, a bit more quiet and observant than Jax and me, and just enjoy each other’s company and the country music that JDubbs plays as loud as he wants, with no one to hear but the deer and bears.

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Even as I write this, we are all over at my in-laws’, hanging out while JDubbs is at home boiling away.  We’ll have his syrup through the spring and hopefully into the summer, and they’ll both have something to be proud of.

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And lots of great memories to go with it!

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Getting Sappy

This is JDubbs’s second year making his own maple syrup from the maple trees in our yard.  Last year I was either too pregnant or too busy with a newborn to pay much attention to the process.  This year I’m a bit more attentive, if only to capture these Daddy-daughter moments that only Vermont families understand!

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Em was helpful throughout the entire process of tapping the trees, and is the first to volunteer when Daddy is heading out to empty the buckets.  Jax is a bossy little scientist, but Em is also a quiet observer of her world.

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I love the expression on her face; there is so much wonder to be found around children!

Jax was doing a little bit of learning as well–about gravity.

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His expressions are equally priceless, but in more of a Let’s Do It Again! variety.  Another attribute of childhood–being impervious to be exhaustion and freezing cold!

This was day one of the syrup-making process, and it has only just begun to get warm enough during the day for the sap to run.  I will continue to document the process, if only to get more photos of these priceless faces!

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Don’t forget the furry one!  He loves being out there romping around in the snow even more than the kids!

Living the Vermont life!

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A King, A Queen And A Rescue

This winter has felt never-ending at times, but it has also given us the opportunity to make some really great memories together as a family, outside enjoying the world around us.

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Man, how much do Jax and JDubbs look alike in those pictures?

The kids LOVE playing king (and queen–don’t forget Em) of the mountain with Daddy, which is fine with me since I don’t mind being an observer with the baby and my camera.  Between the snow from our road and our driveway, there is quite an epic battle to be waged over who is the ruler of the mountain at the end of our street!  To the battleground!

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Baxter was thrilled for the excuse to run circles around us all, and chased after the kids, up and down the mountain until JDubbs started throwing him snowballs into the woods to tire him out.

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Mission accomplished: tire out the dog he did indeed!  I had to send JDubbs in to save our poor pup from certain death (slight exaggeration there but JDubbs deserves the residual guilt).  Baxter was absolutely stuck down a little valley across the street and try as he might, he could not get back up again.  JDubbs had to go to his rescue!

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It was quite entertaining for us all.

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And then back to the fun and games!

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Em is thrilled to be big enough for King of the Mountain this year, and Daddy doesn’t pull any punches on either of the big kids.  They come in elated and exhausted, ready for hot chocolate and a TV show while their clothes dry off in front of the heater.  Winter can be fun, especially when Daddy is home!

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