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.

untitled (197 of 224) untitled (200 of 224)

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.

PicMonkey Collage untitled (203 of 224) untitled (216 of 224) untitled (220 of 224)

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!

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email

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.

untitled (64 of 224)

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.

untitled (75 of 224) untitled (78 of 224) untitled (109 of 224) untitled (113 of 224) untitled (117 of 224)

untitled (103 of 224)

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!

untitled (122 of 224) PicMonkey Collage untitled (153 of 224)

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

untitled (158 of 224) PicMonkey Collage

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

PicMonkey Collage   untitled (194 of 224)   untitled (190 of 224)

It was definitely a day to remember!

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email

Studio Fever

This weekend we had such an incredible opportunity, provided by the Artistree Community Arts Center in Pomfret, Vermont.  Jax, Em, and I attended Studio Fever!, where we had the opportunity to literally paint on the walls of an art gallery!  They covered the walls in fresh canvas and welcomed the public to create their own art using various media and decorate the space.  It was absolutely beautiful and inspiring!

PicMonkey Collage

Em and I had been planning on attending since I heard about it, but Jax was a harder sell, not considering himself an artist naturally.  He eventually agreed to come, somewhat with mixed feelings, but once we arrived, he was as enthusiastic as she was.  My little brain became an artist for the morning; it was quite a change, and nice to see.

IMG_5133 IMG_5135

The kids didn’t have a plan, and for once, I didn’t try to overthink it.  Here are your paints, here is your canvas.  Just go.

What do I know about art anyway?  It was far better to watch my kids explore their own creativity.

IMG_5162

IMG_5154

IMG_5142

Watching their styles was interesting, too.  Jax was definitely abstract random, all about shapes and colors and broad strokes.  Em still let things fly, but with a bit more of a focus–random garden imagery.  My favorite was her hand print flower leaves.  Her imagination is extraordinary and lovely.

PicMonkey Collage IMG_5152

IMG_5168

It was such a wonderful, creative, thoughtful morning.  I loved watching them work, and creating art together.  My birds, an outline of a tree, her flowers and leaves.  All of us spending a morning making the world more beautiful.

IMG_5158

IMG_5156

Even a reluctant Jackson Pollock, who eventually put down his paintbrush to read a book about fifteen minutes before Em was ready to go, but for the hour that the three of us were there at Artistree, I saw brave, bold artists transforming their world.  What a way to start our weekend!

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email

The Littlest

Two weeks! In just two weeks, she will be three.  And there will be no more babies in this house.

IMG_4951 IMG_4955

I don’t feel any pangs of sadness that she is my last baby; in fact, this new stage, where they can all play together, stay up a little later, go to the bathroom without diapers, sleep without Binkies, and even (gasp!) swim together (with puddle jumpers!) without me actually IN the water…well, that’s like a breath of fresh air after almost eight years of hyper-vigilance.  Small steps of independence actually feel amazing, because even though I have tried to cherish these small stages, getting to take a step back myself feels pretty darn good.

But that doesn’t mean that I like the idea of my littlest about to be three.  How is that even possible.  Not a questions, just a statement.  It doesn’t even remotely feel possible.

IMG_4992 IMG_4997 IMG_5005

This little one is so full of contradictions–so very much a tomboy, with her Rescue Bots and Paw Patrol vehicles–and still can’t wait until it’s warm enough to wear her hand-me-down dresses from her sister.  She’s pink and blue and dolls and trucks and the perfect blend for the last kid because she is just so FUN.  The perfect companion.

IMG_5039

93

Her eyes are turning greener, her hair is getting longer, her sass is undeniable and she is full of shenanigans.  But no matter what, she’s pretty darn amazing, and I will take shenanigans every day of the week to just hear her say, “Will you tell me a story about school?” and “Where are you going?  You come back?”  Yes, baby girl, Mommy always comes back.

IMG_4377

IMG_5089

Her smiles and laughs and yes, even whines, keep me going every day.  Thank God we had three.  Thank God for Little H and how she fills my soul and completes our family.

IMG_5067 IMG_5072 IMG_5076

The world, our world, my world is a better place because of that smile.

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email

My Valentines

I am the kind of mom who savors every moment of my kids’ childhood, knowing as sure as I look at my seven-year-old son that these moments are fleeting.  That’s why I love Valentine’s Day and the opportunity to stop and tell my children (and yes, my husband, too!) all the marvelous things about them that I adore, and celebrate our love as loudly and as joyfully as I can.  Because these four people are my heart, and I’m not afraid to show it.

Like when JDubbs and Em go to the Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day dance.  The look on his face as he hugs her tells me that he’s not letting these moments go by unappreciated, either.  He knows this love is gift.
PicMonkey Collage

And the next day, when I got to take these two goofballs to apres ski, just us three (which hardly ever happens anymore), I just had to stop to appreciate the moment…and take a silly selfie.

Photo Feb 13, 3 55 21 PM File Feb 16, 8 25 53 PM

And of course like that night, after the kids had gone to bed, when JDubbs and I pulled out our bag o’ hearts from Valentine’s past, love notes from us to the kids telling them individually and collectively how very loved they are, how proud they make us, and what makes them special.  I know it looks like a serious undertaking, but saving them every year just means we add a few more and by the time these kids are teenagers, our Curtains of Love are going to be more like a forest!

Curtain of Love @ Rub Some Dirt On It
Valentine’s morning is outdone only by Christmas as the day I cannot wait for them to wake up and see their happiness.  Little H, who doesn’t remember seeing them before, gasped at the sight of all that love.  The big kids squealed with delight and I could hear them exclaiming, “I forgot about this!” and “Look at this one!” as they read them to each other and pointed out especially favorite memories.  This will always be worth it, every time.

A curtain of love to show your kids how much you love them. Put love notes outside their bedrooms every Valentine's Day that tell them why they're special. Keep them and repeat every year! #valentinesday

Valentine’s Day may be a super-commercialized holiday with cards at $5 a pop, but the spirit behind it, to let the people you know hear how much you love them, is very much who I am and want to be as a parent, friend, wife, family.  My heart is happier with days like this in it.

IMG_4968

(thanks to Little H’s dear Miss Kelly for this lovely little Valentine for her as well)

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email

Small Moments

Starting up my daily photo project has reinvigorated my appreciation of small moments in our everyday lives: the way Em looks in the window light, Jax’s big boy swagger on the playground, Little H’s continued obsession with sniffing her Blankie and the kids’ love of learning and art.  Taking time to notice the tiniest things that make them who they are–because they’ll never be this age, at this moment, on this day again–is what brings me back to lifestyle photography every time.

Loving window light and small smiles.

IMG_4464 IMG_4467 IMG_4478 IMG_4479

Looking bigger every day.

IMG_4516 IMG_4521

Not too much longer with that Binky!  Stopping to smell the roses…literally.

IMG_4535 IMG_4541

Doing what she does best.

IMG_4545 IMG_4551

Savoring these small people in their small moments, capturing it all before its gone.

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email

On The Clock

  Monday afternoons are a testament to this busy mom’s ability to juggle schedules and various after-school personalities, as we begin our foray into dragging siblings along to one child’s extracurricular activity without the other two losing their damn minds.  I know I am just dipping my toes into the sea of insanity, so I’m glad we’re taking baby steps, but the pressure (to remember all the gear, to bring food no one hates or already ate that day, to bring books, toys and my cell phone charger for all manner of distractions…) is real. On Mondays, Little H and I peel into the elementary school parking lot, grab the big kids and head south to make it to Em’s ballet class just in time.  Their school teachers and I barely make eye contact before the kids are dragged out the door by the handle of their backpacks and herded through the parking lot to the van I left running so we can get in and go (if I haven’t even just parked illegally in front of the school and left Little H in the car to shave precious seconds off our time).  There are updates on our days to share, Purell to be passed around and snacks to be desperately devoured (do these children eat at all during the day at school?), and various forms of entertainment to be doled out to the biggest and littlest once we arrive at the dance studio, all before my attention turns to my tiny dancer, because we are on the clock.  Costume change, bun in place, ballet shoes on and she scurries upstairs to take her place at the barre before I have even had a chance to take off my coat.  Half the time I am still stabbing bobby pins into her hair at random as she is halfway up the stairs, Jax’s voice already echoing behind me that he is bored.  The only thing that gets me through it all are glimpses of this through the classroom window, that make it worth the sweat and tears (mostly mine).

IMG_4459

Once back downstairs, the natives have already begun to grow restless, and beyond Little H’s willingness to play PJ Masks for hours on end (“To the Cat Car!”), I usually come to ballet armed with a bag full of new library books to appease Jax and all manner of distractions for Little H.  This past Monday I knew was going to be unseasonably warm, so Jax, Little H and I took a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy some February fresh air and earn me a breather from little people begging to use my cell phone.

Photo Feb 01, 3 51 13 PM

The sky was gray with no sunshine to be found, and even as the sun sunk lower to the horizon and the chill began to penetrate my wimpy bones, Jax and Little H were having a blast.  Could outside play be the key to my Monday afternoon survival?  Since the two of them have only finally begun to find a middle ground–mostly centered around a shared love for Transformers Rescue Bots–and it’s freaking winter and freezing dark outside before ballet is even over, I have not really attempted this tactic before.  I forced myself to man up and stay outside as long as they wanted to see how this experiment would play out.

Photo Feb 01, 3 54 25 PM

The playground was a soggy mess from all the rapidly melting snow, but to my kids, all the world’s a stage, with plenty of imagination at their fingertips, With Jax in rare Patient and Engaging Older Brother form, and Little H not telling him to take a hike as per usual, these two didn’t need me at all.  When they discovered an actual stage, just perfect for an elaborate performance of Rescue Bots: The Dance Party Variety Show, I was in for quite a treat.

Photo Feb 01, 3 57 26 PM

Jax was born to emcee.

Their play was so elaborate and Little H’s dance moves so comical, I actually was sorry for it to end, even if I was shivering.  Stupid winter.  Never fear, I assume I will be attending Part II of this epic saga next week at about the same time, and will keep you posted on the dramatic conclusion of Which Bot Is The Fastest and What Will Boulder Paint This Week?  Ah, the fleeting joys of motherhood.  Cue the nonstop whining that they are hungry for dinner in 3…2….1…

Such is life in this slushy part of the year, with three kids all on the threshold of big extracurricular things.  Mud season appears to have arrived early, and I will attempt to appreciate these wintery afternoons while I have them, while dreaming of green grass and picnic dinners after ballet (even if that would require one more thing for me to remember to pack!).  I’m glad to have found a bit of a key to surviving the Extracurricular Activity Chaos Black Hole, and will try to look on the bright side and appreciate the chance for Jax and Little H to carve out some time together…at least while they’re getting along!

Pinterest Facebook Twitter Email