Category Archives: photo of the week

Everyday moments

Behind on blogging, so I’m posting a few photos to catch up.

Here’s a photo from our spring break “staycation”.

family outing

Honestly, it is one of my favorite family photos ever because it is completely unstaged.

The backstory:  On a random Saturday afternoon over spring break, we decided it would be fun to let the kids ride their bikes and scooters over to our community courts to play basketball and tennis.  We saddled everybody up, slung the baby bjorn, tennis rackets, water bottles, and a bag full of tennis and basketballs over the stroller handles and headed out.  En route, we paused at an intersection where a friend just happened to be driving by in her car with her husband and three kids.  She leaned out the window and said, “y’all look like you’re headed out for a fun afternoon…let me take a picture of you with my cell phone so you can have a record of it!”  She snapped the photo, and viola, an everyday moment captured.

(and unlike me, the person who lets photos languish on her cellphone forever, she was amazing and e-mailed it to me the next day…I know, she is incredible!  She later told me that, as a mother, she knew exactly how much work had gone into getting everyone and all that gear organized and couldn’t resist letting me see, from a different perspective, how smiley we all were about our outing)

Don’t you just love pictures that capture those precious everyday moments?  Just a Saturday afternoon, out for some good family fun.

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Things to remember

Today is my birthday!  Two years ago today, my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said “three hours in a coffee shop by myself to write something other than a to-do list”.  He granted my wish, and I emerged three hours later with an essay about my Grandma J and an idea to start a blog.

I haven’t been great about writing recently…I could write an entire entry that was just a list of excuses and explanations (and I might write it soon!), but today, I just want to spend an hour on my birthday making a list of things I don’t want to forget about the last few months.

(1) My grandmother/G.G.  She passed away recently, and I don’t want to forget what an amazing person she was.  Future blog posts need to include how she insisted I keep looking for the right guy…”one who will dance with you, K” (a long story, not a judgment on guys who don’t dance : ), how she struck a deal with that right guy when he came along…”I’ll tell the family I like you if you’ll tell them I’m a good driver”…and how she taught me much about life and cards.  In the meantime, here she is pictured holding H during her one time meeting him and my last time seeing her.  This photo was taken at my sister’s baby shower, where there were lots of friends present.  GG, in the nicest way possible, said to one of them who was sitting between us, “Could you sit back while you talk?  I’m trying to look at that baby!”  Ha!  Love you GG!

GG & Hudson

(2) My excitement over the arrival of my new nieces and nephew!  Oh what joy to be an aunt, and to such precious bundles.  Can’t wait to spoil you cousins O and J and G!   And happy early mother’s day to their mamas!   I will think of you as we’re all up at 3am feeding babies!

(3) How my own kids are growing and changing.

– Precious moments like E lying on the ground one day curled in a tiny ball and looking around.  My question, “What are you doing, E?”  Her response, “Pretending to be an ant!  I was just thinking about how the world must look to them from our sidewalk…”   Love that…

Also love this Valentine’s essay E submitted to her teacher.

E's Valentine essay 2013

If you can’t see the words in the photo, it reads

“Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!  I love my family.  I love tem because taye are so nis to me.  My mom is so nis because she makes diner for me.  My babby brother dosn’t spit up on me.  Taye are so nis because I am nis to tame.”

I especially love this because E references the fact that H spits up on everyone, something that is such a regular part of our routine but that I will likely forget down the road.   Honestly, it is the kids in my life that get the brunt of it, since they stand near my legs while I’m holding H, putting them right in the line of fire. I hadn’t realized until I read this that E has not only emerged unscathed, but has also taken it as a sign of great affection from her youngest brother.  May you always feel the love, E!

– S becoming such a big girl…after a lot of love and work as she struggled with some separation issues (wanting mama all the time), seeing her happily heading into school and playdates.  I cannot emphasize how huge this is in our world…or how that big smile warms my heart.

S riding carousel 2013

I’m always here if you need me, S.  But I love watching you embrace the world too.   (As a side note, S enters the world with her favorite lovey – her “Angie” doll – always in her backpack.  That doll makes S so happy that I love Angie too.  Honestly, it sounds silly, but I have spent years caring for and protecting Angie…you would too if she were your ticket to sleep-filled nights and happy-child days!…Anyway, I didn’t realize how much it had affected me until I recently saw a different “Angie” doll in a ziploc bag on a table at a consignment sale.  Honestly, I had to restrain myself from tearing the bag open so Angie could breathe!  How’s that for a visceral reaction to a doll that has been big in the life of my child?!  I wanted to buy that doll so badly, but stopped myself because (1) we have over a dozen backups at our house already and (2) I kept thinking about the little girl who might come along next and be delighted  to take her home and love her.   I realize this story makes me sound sappy, or crazy, or both, by the way.  What can I say?  I pray that all of my kids will find a real life “Angie” that will bring them as much comfort and happiness as this doll brings S!

– T becoming such a big boy…potty training and transitioning out of his nap (heaven help me!)  I love the pride he takes in his accomplishments…proudly giving everyone in the family a marshmellow after a successful trip to the bathroom (“this is for you, daddy, because I went in the potty!”)  And speaking of pride in accomplishments, check out my boy after he defeated Donald Duck in arm wrestling : )  (more on our trip to see Donald in a future blog post!)

T defeats D Duck

– H growing at warp speed, but still in that precious baby stage.  He’s not even close to sleeping through the night, but will fall asleep in his crib as long as I rub his head and hold his hand.  I managed to snap one photo of him holding my hand while he was in his carseat.  Note the tiny grip on my thumb in the lower right corner of the photo…

.  .photo

Oh what a fleeting phase of life, when holding mama’s hand makes it all better.  Wish I could comfort all my kids so easily forever!

(4) Lots of other things to remember too…maybe someday I’ll write about our “staycation” during spring break, our week playing “hookie” when we pulled all the kids out of school and went on a road trip, Grammy and Grandpa’s amazing presence as they joined us on our last minute travels, my technological craziness (as my computer and phone both recently died), our constant barrage of minor health issues (fine, as long as the big issues stay away, please!), and so many other everyday life moments I want to remember….

but in the meantime, I’ll simply say that it’s nice to have a few minutes to type : )

Hugs,

K

Photo captions

Some photos recently uploaded from my camera…

(1) S is constantly seeing things around the house (including in the recycling bin) and asking, “can I use this for something?”  Here’s “something” she made recently… things like this are on display all around our house.  On a related note, we go through a bottle of glue, a roll of tape and a line of staples just about every week.

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(2) This is how you make a snow princess in the south.  You make a snowman with a bucket, a soccer ball and a hat, but I forgot to take a picture of that.

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(3) E & S received a sewing machine for Christmas (thank you Nana!)  Although Santa surprised them with several projects (small squares of fun fabric to sew quilts, simple apron patterns) and I have asked them to complete several others (“decorating” H’s burp cloths with stitches), S really wanted to make a dress.  Poor thing…her mama needs a sewing lesson!  But we did the best we could (with no pattern and the little fabric we had on hand), and yes, she wears this dress out, including to preschool.  Hey, she’s thrilled with it.  With that smile, who’s going to notice the stitching?!

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Lookin’ fierce in the photo below…

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(4) Catching snowflakes in bowls (while still in PJ’s…when it snows in the south, you best get out there…if you take time to change, you may miss the only snow of the winter!)

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(5) E came downstairs with this one day.  I may have to buy a new dry erase board because I never want to erase it.  We love you too, E.  So much!

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(P.S.  It reminds me of the dry erase board Nana kept in her kitchen that had “To Do” written on it, awaiting Nana’s next “to do” list.  My sister wrote “(1) Hug A” on the list and my mom could never erase that either.  Probably all our “to do” lists should have “Hug someone” at the top, don’t you think?)

(P.P.S. My sister is expecting a baby and I wish I could rub her belly today and hug her!   Love you, A!”)

(6) E’s door.  I love this stage of childhood.  All “rainbows and fairies” just like she’s printed on her sign.  Since I can’t freeze time, I’ll take some timely photos and try to treasure these moments.

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(7) This is S’ door.  She decided she wanted to be a doctor one day and made all these signs representing the different body parts to hang on the entrance to her “office”.  Patients can point to the body part they would like her to fix.  Worth clicking on this photo to enlarge…

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The empty spot on the door is for her favorite sign, which she had posted on a different door on the day I snapped the photo (because she loves it and wants to show it around!).  That one said “but cks” (for “butt cheeks”) until I made her rephrase.  It now has a sticker over “but” and reads “vny cks” (for “fanny cheeks”).  So if you have a fanny cheek problem, the doctor is in.

(8) I’m going to make my millions by selling this photo to the makers of the “Leap Tag” system and suggesting the tag line: “It will either teach your child to read or make bedtime super easy.  Either way, it’s worth a few bucks.”

-9

We actually gave S this Leap Tag pen for Christmas because E (1st grade) is now required to read to us every night, and we wanted S (preschool) to have the option of reading us stories too.  However, S is great about sharing the pen with T, and since I found this one train book on sale ($4!), T reads it with his pen over and over again.  (He can actually say the words along with the pen now.)  We hear him through the monitor reading the book until he falls asleep, and have been awakened more than once in the middle of the night to the sound of his pen reading the book again.

(9) A project from the 4’s class at preschool.  This is actually a photo of E’s from long ago, but S’ brought hers home this week, telling me “you have two S’ now, mom!”  (I need to get a photo of it.)  The life size replica of the child is part of a unit on the human body.  The stomach is a bag of cheerios, the lungs are bubble wrap, the heart is a balloon, etc.

Well, the brains are packing peanuts on the back of the head and when we were unloading S’ one of the peanuts fell off.  S picked it up and said to me, “here you go, Dad”.  I said, “I’m not Dad!” and she responded, “I called you dad because I’m going to make mistakes, since part of my brain just fell out...”

Pretty sharp, that one.  Is it a problem that my children are outpacing me when they’re still in preschool?

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We made the mistake of storing this inside E’s closet once and forgetting to warn a guest who stayed in her room that it was in there.  It’ll scare you to death in dim light, I tell you…

(10)  E is learning subtraction and her homework assignment was to do unit 7, section 1 in her math workbook.  Check out the upper right corner for some classic E perfectionism.  Practice Unit 7-1 has become Practice 7-1=6.  Well done, E.  :  )

(and what are the chances that the sample problem would be 7-1 also?  Go figure…)

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Anyway, more random photos later.  Just a few snapshots of life around here : )

“Does this mustache make me look distinguished?”

I don’t usually post full images of the kids, but since H is in disguise here…

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If you can’t see what I’m talking about, click the image to make it larger…

(I couldn’t resist!  We have to document the perils of having 2 older sisters!  : )

I won’t eat it, and you can’t make me. (alternate title: photo of the week)

I call this photo: “I won’t eat it, and you can’t make me.”

Yes, he has THREE pacifiers in his mouth.

This was a failed attempt at going sans high chair.  He took one look at his plate, hopped up to get his pacifiers, then staged this little sit in. Of course, it was so cute that I couldn’t be too upset.  (His mama is a softie, after all!)

Two additional notes:

(1) We are back in the high chair now.  No more hopping up to get pacifiers at dinner.

and

(2) This is with ham, mashed potatoes, and bananas in front of him…all things he will supposedly tolerate.  You should have seen what happened when I added a green vegetable to his plate!

Love you, T.  Even when you spew half chewed peas onto my dinner : )

update on the past month, part 2

Other things we’ve been up to this month…

(1)  Exploring!

Here we are at NC State’s “farm day”.  Note to self: pack vegetarian lunches next year.  Otherwise, S may look at the animals walking around in their pens and ask questions like, “Is that turkey like the turkey I just ate for lunch?” and you will have to field panicked looks from nearby families until you say something misleading like “NO ONE is going to eat THAT turkey!!!”  (and at least one mother will mouth the words “thank you” as you’re leaving.)

S milking a pretend cow. There were also bunnies to pet, calf statues to lasso, and free ice cream. I thought T would like the “touch a tractor” section, but he just yelled “Big Scary Truck!” as we moved away.  I guess he’s used to the matchbox versions.

We also visited the big museum about 40 minutes away (a special outing for us!).  Friends gave us passes they weren’t using (thank you!), and we had an absolute blast.  T fed his train obsession in this exhibit.

T could have happily played here for the entire day.

And how about this sign at the exit of that exhibit?

It’s like they knew T was coming…

(2)  Celebrating!

Our cousins had lots of birthdays, so we have been to their house for a “Tangled”-themed treasure hunt, to a park near their house for their one-year-old’s cake smashing soiree, and to a pasture within that park to just admire the horses and views.  (Thank you, cousins!)  One photo, from my brother, who is by far my favorite photographer (as long as he’s not taking “work photos” of my children, i.e. “X-rays”…)  Can you believe this photo was taken by someone who just plays around with the camera during the off-time from his Orthopedic Surgery practice?

S in the white, E in the green, cousin G with the long ponytail and cousin E in his superman cape.  Childhood captured in photo.

(3)  Hanging around

Check out E on the swing in our backyard.  Photo credit to my brother again.  How much about spring and childhood and E is captured in this one photo of her muddy feet?  Volumes, I tell you.

(4)  Fishing!

Nana got the kids a fishing pole AND managed to disassemble the pole and fix it after I broke it (thank you, Nana!).  Since I clearly don’t know how to handle a rod, dad took over the casting lessons, and the kids had a blast.

Noteworthy: the kids will spend an hour catching minnows and tadpoles in their nets at the local pond and collecting them in a water filled bowl that we pour back into the pond before we leave.  Here are E & T inspecting their catches with Nana…

Also noteworthy: the girls “fished” for an hour with dad with a plastic stopper on the end of the reel (i.e. no bait or hook) and were thrilled with the experience.  I can’t imagine what they will do when we actually introduce the idea that you could use the pole to catch a fish.

(5)  Trying to keep our heads above water in terms of housework

With this much fun going on, mom has had to work overtime to simply keep our familial feet underneath us.  Exhibit A: every few weeks I have to go through a pile that looks like this to pull any artwork or projects we want to save.

This process deserves a post of its own.  Stay tuned.  Then there’s the normal stuff.  I mentioned before that I lost the battle with the laundry.  I fared only slightly better in the kitchen.  And Nana saved me with regards to everything else.  (see below)

(6)  Spent time with Nana!

Nana’s visit was devoted to catching up, hanging out, and pitching in. In addition to fishing, playing, taking the kids to several museums (T was adorable riding the train at the local science museum and still asks to “go ride James” again at least every other day), Nana just rolled up her sleeves and help me get some things done.

More detail?   I am just out of the first trimester of pregnancy, which means I am still exhausted, but also feeling my version of a nesting instinct.  Much to my husband’s dismay, I have no desire to clean, but an overwhelming urge to organize and declutter (my normal instinct, but taken to a fever-pitch during pregnancy).  The end result: During pregnancy, I am desperate to get organized but too tired to actually do it, which leaves me very frustrated.  While she was here, Nana helped me sort through the kids outgrown clothes and she watched the kids and took care of lots of everyday things (the kitchen! the laundry!) while I tackled the attic, my desk, the bankbook, and several projects that have been languishing on my “to-do” list literally for years.  Thank you, Nana!  We loved playing with you and are so appreciative of all the help.  (I haven’t listed everything you helped me catch up on because I am embarrassed that I was that far behind!)

More updates coming…have I mentioned that it’s been a busy month?!

A Fun Announcement!

We’re expecting a baby in October!

We already love this little guy or gal!  So far, all we know is that baby likes cherry koolaid (seriously, I can’t get enough of it), and that the family loves baby.

We told the kids one night earlier this week, and they were screaming with excitement.  The next day, E left this note for us on the counter…

It reads (letter for letter): "Dear Dad and Mom. I am so Gld that you Hav an now baby In your tny. Love, E" Which translates: "Dear Dad and Mom. I am so glad that you have a new baby in your tummy. Love, E" How awesome is that?!

And this morning, S drew this picture (our camera started acting funny this afternoon, so I had to use my phone for this photo…)  She told me it was a picture of our house, with a new room in it for the new baby.

Can you see the dark roof, with the house underneath, subdivided into rooms and filled with the circle faces of a happy family? Again, fantastic! I'll get a better picture of it when we figure out what's going on with the camera...

And if you ask T what’s in mommy’s tummy, he will yell at the top of his 1 year old lungs: “a BABY!”

So there you have it, little guy or gal.  Your siblings have thought of – and are celebrating – everything.  Hope you’re feeling loved and cared for already, because you are loved and cared for already – with cherry koolaid on top : )

The Kids-eye View

What most of us see:

a pile of weeds just removed from our overgrown flower bed

From a child’s perspective (E):

the perfect ingredients to make a giant bird’s nest (E's vision, but S helped and is pictured here as the bird)

 

 

What most of us see:

A hole in the yard, created with plastic shovels, made muddy with a cup of water, and likely to cause a twisted ankle next time we’re playing out back.

From a child’s perspective (S):

a pool for the caterpillars, (this time it was S' vision, but E helped, and the pool included small leaf boats in case any caterpillars didn't want to get wet

 

 

What most of us see:

a tree at the playground (stock photo, because I didn't have my camera at the park yesterday, but this is exactly what the base of the tree looked like)

From a child’s perspective (T):

a tunnel for a choo choo train (T doesn’t know that many words at this point, but “tunnel” and “choo choo” are among them…credit to my friend A who saw him all excited about the discovery of this particular tree at the park and called me over to provide T-to-English translation and enjoy the moment. T just kept saying, in his 1 year old dialect, "Tunnel! Tunnel, for choo choo!")

 

 

What most of us see:

my messy kitchen after snack time

What I hope my family sees & remembers:

a mama who took them outside to play instead of cleaning up! (what?!? some mothers do both?!? don't tell my husband...)

Kite Photos/ Day Brighteners/ Capturing a Moment in Time

I’m just posting these because it makes me happy to look at them, and I thought it might make you happy too : )

A favorite photo, because, well, how could it not be?!?! Click to enlarge and just look at the joy on that face. The picture also captures so much about S at age 4: so PLAYFUL and PASSIONATE (that's a twinkle AND a fire in those eyes; don't limit her to just one, folks), in her outfit of choice (a dress paired with sneakers), that little arm up as high as she can get it (so determined to be big and already so powerful that I have to keep reminding myself how little she still is), and a smile so beautiful it almost distracts you from that WILL OF STEEL that makes her almost unstoppable once she decides something (she was going to get that kite up RIGHT THEN, despite the fact that there was NO wind at all at that particular moment - and by golly, by running fast enough, she did!)

and E …

A favorite photo because, again, joy joy, joy, and also because it typifies E at age 5... a JOYFUL (it bears repeating and capitalizing here, folks), LIFE-LOVING, running, leaping, twirling, bouncing little lady, who is here flying a kite she made herself by cutting Sunday School coloring pages into heart shapes, stapling them together to make a butterfly shape, and adding some ribbon so it could fly. A creative, captivating, carefree spirit that oscillates between (1) celebrating the wind (that hair is always down and blowing) and (2) creating ways to harness it to make the world (and even the wind, it seems) happier and more beautiful (homemade kites or ever-blowing dandelion gardens, anyone?)

Just moments in time, of course (i.e. not pigeonholing either personality and eager to emphasize they both have all the elements I listed for the other…be whoever you want to be, ladies and don’t let anyone – even/especially your mama limit you with images or captions!)

But in the spirit of celebrating who they happened to be last weekend, I had to share.

And isn’t capturing that brief, precious, will-this-last-or-pass? (and-let-me-declare-now-that-I-will-love-them-regardless-and-forever) moment what makes photos so fantastic?

OK, I won’t send the photo…but I’m going to have it in my backpack during the next teacher conference (you know, just in case…)

I volunteered in E’s class today, helping the Kindergarteners during their “writer’s workshop”.

In a variation from my normal volunteer routine, I was instructed “not to help E” during the first half of the class, as she was completing “an important writing assessment”.

I was able, however, to catch a glimpse of her work and overhear part of her conversation with the teacher as I helped a few other kids.

E’s assignment was to write and illustrate two sentences about a real-life event.

Of course, E wrote (in her Kindergarten phonics), that just last week her sister rode on a swing that did loops around a clock in a big mouse’s house.

And then she drew exactly that in the space designated for the illustration.

I have decided NOT send the teacher this picture (of E’s sister, taken at Chuck-E-Cheese, exactly one week ago this evening…not pictured: the mouse mascot…).

I think sending it (while intended to convince the teacher that E does have a grasp of reality), might have the opposite effect of convincing her the whole family is nuts!