long overdue photo dump

i've been sitting on some images for awhile now, making them wait until i had some free time to drop them into a blog post along with a nice story so they could finally be free from the confines of my hard drive to roam the big wide world that is the internet.  or at least this tiny little corner of the internet.

but, i don't have free time.  not anymore.  i don't think i've truly had free time since the moment my first made his appearance in this world, but what i did have has continued to shrink with each passing day.  even when i do allot myself some time off to watch tv or go to bed early or actually hang out with my husband, it's not really "free" time.  it's just me deciding i need to switch my brain off from kids or social media or my camera or editing or meal planning or budgeting or lame attempts at homeschooling or the other million things that keep me awake at night.

so, instead of a nice little story or two, tonight you will get a ton of pictures dumped in here and left for you to sort through with your own beautiful and lovely imaginations.  sometimes it's more fun like that anyway.  like one of those picture books with no words where the story can be just a little bit different every time you look through it.

happy imagining <3

/\   that was over a month ago 

\/   this down here was a little more recent ;)

and these next few are just completely random, but i like them so here they are.

personal photojournalism: another walk in the woods

we love walking through the woods over here.  or at least i do, and the men in my life love me enough to humor me every so often with a trip to the forest.

on this particular day, we were all a little tense and grouchy.  the kids were volleying meltdowns between one another and my husband and i were volleying short retorts and frustrated words muttered under our breath.  what i had hoped would be a few hours of time spent bonding as a family was quickly turning into a public display of irritation.

but then, right around this point in our trip, something changed.  our big kid chose a path for us to follow, and suddenly he was invested in our outing, instead of an unwilling participant of family un-happy hour.  seeing his brother perk up, the little decided he'd better follow suit and suddenly insisted on being set down on the ground instead of insisting that he be carried.  and, as is often the case, as the kids became easier to manage, my husband and i were able to relax into the afternoon a little more.  less worried about maintaining control of 2 kids with behavior threatening to careen out of control and more worried about keeping up with 2 kids eager to explore, we were finally able to set off into the forest and just be.

be together.  be a family.  be out in nature and breathe in the air and the woods and creation.

and what better way to end a walk through the woods than with a leaf fight in a beautiful patch of light?  it was the perfect way to wrap up what turned out to be a wonderful family outing.  once you finish scrolling through these images, be sure to circle around and check out  Joy Huber- Lancaster PA Children's Documentary Photographer-  to see what she was up to in October!

on rearranging furniture

i grew up in a house that was often rearranged.  every few weeks, my mom would pile us on the couch and let us "go for a ride" as she pushed it into a new corner, with the coffee table and tv stand not far behind.  as a kid, i thought it was just another silly, fun thing my mom did, and i enjoyed it because it gave my brothers and i new "hide and seek" material, new fort building opportunities, and a new angle on our favorite cartoons.  as an adult, and now a stay-at-home mom myself, i'm seeing the whole rearranging thing in a completely different way.  it's not just another activity to fill the time- it's a straight up survival mechanism.  when you're home all day everyday, you can't help but start to notice every little tiny thing that's wrong with your house.  and when you're home all day everyday with your children, who like the do the same things over and over again, you guessed it, all day everyday, the monotony starts to become a little bit oppressive.  there are a lot of different ways to handle this monotony.  some people plan fun, educational things to do with their kids.  some people take lots of field trips.  some people put on headphones and listen to music while they work and pretend their house isn't actually there.  

my mom and i?  we're re-arrangers.  it drove my dad crazy, and now it drives my husband crazy, but it's who we are and sorry guys but it's never going away.  so last week when i started to feel the urge to switch  things up, my frantic brain, in desperate need of change, landed upon our bedroom.  untouched since we moved in 7 years ago, i knew rearranging our bedroom would be the change that i needed to break up the sameness of our everyday and rejuvenate us a little bit.  and, while i didn't admit it at the time, i knew exactly where i wanted everything to go because of the way the light falls in our room.  we get the most ridiculously beautiful afternoon light in there, but i've never been able to really capture it because of the way we had things set up.  but now, well... here's a few (okay, more than a few.  i really like how these turned out) examples of why i'm loving our new bedroom arrangement :)

looking forward

it's been two weeks since i've had the chance to pop on here.  two.  weeks.  that's too long.  like, way too long.  when i started my second project 365 at the beginning of the year, i knew it would be a good idea to step back from daily blogging because truly, it becomes time consuming.  but i also knew i should proceed with caution because if i give myself an inch, i really will take a mile.  case in point, it's been two weeks since i last blogged.  two weeks.  i'm not thrilled about it, if you can't tell.

the truth is though, my proverbial photography plate is much more full this year than it was last year.  last year, i had one main goal- get good at taking pictures- and a bunch of little goals that fell under that umbrella, like getting featured on a community page, shooting a documentary session for humans that aren't mine, etc.  i was fortunate enough to meet all my little goals last year, and i'd like to humbly say that i think i got pretty close to hitting my main goal.  so, i started the year cautiously, hoping to continue to improve but with a lot of other vague ideas of what i'd like to accomplish.  as the year has progressed, i've established some concrete objectives for myself, objectives that are considerably bigger than what i reached for previously, which means they take considerably more time and effort.

this is a good thing and a bad thing.  it's good because it means i'm moving forward.  it means i'm still pushing myself and refusing to become stagnant.  it means i still have the fire and the passion and the motivation and it means i still have the desire and ability to go big or go home.  but it could be bad if i'm not careful.  i don't want to lose sight of where i came from.  i don't want to forget the habits and the discipline that lit the fire and fueled the drive.

the time has come for me to start looking forward to next year- what i want to do day-to-day, and what i hope to achieve throughout the year.  the truth is, i'm going to need to free up some time to work on the bigger projects and goals i've taken on, which means stepping back from my smaller projects.  i haven't decided yet if i'll be doing another project 365 or not.  shooting and/or editing daily is something that i really value, and i think it's important to do, but from a practical standpoint (and for my sanity), i'm not sure if it will be a viable option again.  as a contingency plan, i've decided to join in with a group of (ridiculously talented) women who are doing a  project 52 with a really cool concept- you shoot only for 5 minutes.  today, in the hopes of reducing the number of images to cull through and edit once the kids were tucked in and snoozing, i decided to give it a shot.

i love the results.  whatever else i decide to do, i think i'm really going to enjoy this particular project next year, and the growth it's going to bring.

i'll be back- in less than two weeks :)

baby henry

it's always an interesting thing, seeing the people you knew before kids step into the role of 'parent'.  my husband met our friend jordan in one of their computer courses early on in college, and he quickly became a part of our group.  we would all hang out on the weekends- grilling in the shared yards of the little off campus townhouses they lived in, bar crawling, and in general enjoying a life of few(er) responsibilities.

when we met aliena a few years later after she and jordan started dating, we were immediately struck by how perfect she was for him- sweet as could be, down to earth, but with the perfect amount of lightheartedness to match jordan's goofy, fun loving nature.  their wedding was full of joy and laughter, because they're two people who are full of love and laughter, and when we heard that aliena was expecting, we knew their home would be full of joy and laughter, too.

even still, i couldn't help but be a little surprised when jordan greeted me two saturdays ago with 8-day-old henry curled in his arms.  it didn't take me long to move past that surprise though- these two are such natural parents, it's like they'd had henry all their lives instead of just a week and a day.

they worked seamlessly together as mom and dad- grabbing diapers or socks, checking his schedule with one another, passing him off so they each had a chance to get some baby time and some coffee time.  watching them as a family of three was like watching a scene in a movie where everyone breaks out into song and dance at the same time- there's no way they could have rehearsed it, but still everyone knows the moves and works together to create something beautiful.

that was this sweet family- following each others' leads and making it work moment by moment in beautiful harmony, with henry soaking it all up with the bliss that only a newborn can have.

(many thanks to melissa hines photography for being the inspiration behind the above shot.  it's one of my favorites from the session, and it allowed us to incorporate a meaningful item into their photos, too)

my heart is so full for these friends of mine.  it's such an honor to have been there to document the early days of this transition for them into this wonderful new stage of life.  i'm so excited for all of the amazing things they have ahead of them <3 

personal photojournalism: fall arrives

i'm going to keep the words brief and the images plentiful for this month's blog circle.  as much as i'd love to talk about the fabulous tree at the top of our street that drops its gorgeous yellow leaves several weeks before the rest of the trees in the neighborhood, i think it would be a lot more effective just to show you.

the best part of this tree is that it's right by the special secret spot in our neighborhood where you can almost watch the sun go down instead of just losing it behind the tree line, so there's usually some really yummy light up there at the end of the day.

so when i still needed a picture for my 365 after a long and busy day, and dinner was finished but bedtime still hadn't arrived, and the kids were rammy, the tree and the sunset were calling to us.

it ended up being the most perfect 30 minutes.  the weather was beautiful, the kids were in their element, and the rest of the world just kind of fell away from us as we played and i clicked away.

happy fall :)  be sure to follow the circle around to amanda's post see what she's been up to as the seasons change! Family Photographer in Gwinnett County

monday morning bubble bath

we had a busy, busy weekend where we were driving all over the place, playing hard with friends, and falling out of routine left right and center.  it was fun and amazing, but my kids (and i!) woke up with a weekend hangover this morning that could only be cured with a bubble bath.  

it's a cloudy, gloomy day that has me feeling creatively uninspired, so i decided to take advantage of our time tucked away in our closet sized bathroom to get some practice in with my speedlite.  in general, i really don't love the look flash creates, even when it's bounced or diffused, but that's most likely because i'm still not very skilled at using it effectively.  however, i've found that i do kind of like it when i use it in our bathroom, probably because the space is so small that when i bounce it off a side wall, it actually helps create some dimension where the light would otherwise be pretty flat and boring.

all that to say, i ended up with a handful of images of my boys this morning that i really like.  in fact, i think i might eventually print a few of them to hang in the bathroom :)

my friend's baby is beautiful

remember that birth session i shot back in march for my best friend?  well, it's been 5 1/2 months since then (not sure where that time went), and her little newborn has grown into just the most gorgeous baby girl.  they had a rough start to her journey earth side, but her momma has fought for her in ways that only a strong and dedicated momma can, and now the joy that glows from this sweet girl's face is nothing short of brilliant.  but, since her early months were somewhat unpredictable and required a lot of rocking, snuggling, and babywearing- and since most of the times we were together i was corralling my own herd of children solo- there wasn't much opportunity for photographing her.

today, however, we had the rare opportunity to hang out, just us girls, so for a few minutes as we chatted and reconnected, i pulled out my camera to document the sweet person she's growing into.  i had originally intended to only share a single image on my facebook page, but truly there's no way to choose just one shot of this kiddo.  she's just too darn sweet to keep them all to myself :)

personal photojournalism: dinner from the snack bar

september is here, which means that summer is officially on its way out.  because my heart is breaking a little bit over the loss of extra sunlight and balmy evenings, sunscreened skin and chlorined hair, and fresh fruit picking and corn on the cob, i decided to dedicate this post to what will probably be our last evening of the year at the pool.

a typical afternoon spent at the pool for us involves me hauling two huge bags in along with myself and the kids- one bag for our towels, toys, and clothing, and another bag full to the brim with food.  granola bars, pretzels, veggie straws, grapes, apple slices, water bottles, you name it, i throw it in.  my kids love to eat at the pool.  and who doesn't? i remember hitting up the snack bar every half hour during our trips to the pool as a kid as my mom's stash of quarters quickly dwindled.  unfortunately, we've got some fun food restrictions to contend with, so we've avoided our pool's snack bar all summer to simplify our lives.  the other night, though, we had had a long day and knew the boys needed to blow off steam- and so did we.  so we grabbed a few bucks, packed some applesauce pouches, and promised the boys hot dogs for dinner.

they loved it, and so did we.  it was the perfect family evening, and i couldn't have asked for a better way to end the summer.

keep circling around and visit christine hurla's blog to see how she ended her summer: Kansas City Family Photos

a monday morning hike

my attention has been divided into so many pieces over the last few months that most of my 365 shooting has been aimed at getting a single great (or, honestly, good) shot each day.  and that's not necessarily a bad thing- it saves me time at the computer in the evenings, it helps me focus on refining my ability to shoot in specific types of light, it gives me a chance to try out new techniques, etc etc etc.

but.

i love telling stories.  a lot.  i love reading them out loud, i love relaying them to friends, and i love using my photos to create them.  so when one of my favorite photography groups on fb had a bit of a revival last week to draw it back to its roots of documentary, storytelling photography, it made me realize that i need to have a bit of a revival myself.

so today, instead of trying for one single great (or good) shot, i dusted the cobwebs off my mental checklist for shooting to tell a story and captured our morning hike through a local forest.  enjoy :)

the first time we visited this forest, this staircase was precarious, at best.  the last time we visited, there was no staircase (but there was plenty of caution tape).  so this time, all three of us were excited to check out the new stairs leading to the hiking trails.

the boys wasted no time, and immediately took off down the trail where they each weaved in and out of the dappled light as the sunshine filtered through the leaves onto the treasures they found less than a minute after our walk started.  and so of course, as they were collecting leaves and sticks, i was collecting a frame or two of the little yellow flowers lining the entrance to the woods.

one of the things i love most about these outings i take with my boys is to watch them as they explore and discover.  they both have such different ways of approaching the world, and they both notice and value different things, but they always look to one another for guidance and encouragement just the same.

and then, of course, we had to stop for a snack break- followed by a hit of the paci and a momma snuggle for the little, who i think was starting to feel a little overwhelmed and certainly a little tired.

now that he had refueled, my big discovered that the forest has a lot of rocks.  first he found the big ones that had collected around the benches where we sat to eat, and after throwing them onto the ground (his favorite thing to do with rocks), he noticed that the path we had recently turned onto was literally made of small rocks.  which meant the rest of our hike consisted of him stopping every 10 steps to dump his current fistful of rocks to replace it with the new, clearly superior rocks now beneath his feet.  and sometimes stash a few in his pocket.  meanwhile, the little imitated him for awhile, and then moved on to his own personal forest favorite- the stick :)

once the initial excitement of the rocks died down a bit, i got us walking again and shortly thereafter we came upon a bridge over a small creek.  in case you didn't know, creeks are the ideal place for chucking rocks, so of course that reignited the need for rock collecting and tossing.  luckily, there was no one else around, so i left them to their devices and took the opportunity to shoot a few details shots, including this massive spider whose web was hanging directly at my eye level smack in the middle of the trail.  i'm just grateful he didn't end up in my hair.

with a little (or possibly a lot) of persuasion, we ended our rock throwing and headed back towards the car.  our last discovery for the day was these cool little pine cones that we found littered across one section of the trail.  unfortunately, they held our attention just long enough for both kids to hit the "i've waited too long for lunch" threshold, and i ended up carrying one most of the way back (until we got back to the stairs and suddenly his legs worked again!) and the other one got a stern talking to once we reached the car.  

the downside (or possibly the upside) to being your own family documenter is that you miss out on catching the moments like that, but i'm thankful for the parts of the story from today that i was able to hold onto.

happy monday all <3 

the greenawald family

it's funny how life works sometimes.  i met my husband in college, like a lot of people do, and while we were there we each made a lot of friends.  some of them were mutual, and others weren't, simply because while a lot of our time overlapped, between different classes and jobs, a lot of our time did not.  at his on-campus job, my husband met a guy named jason, and in one of his classes, he met a girl named samantha.  eventually, samantha became jason's wife.  while i saw jason a handful of times if i happened to stop by the office, i never really got to know him or samantha, simply because life never really allowed us the time or opportunity to cross paths.

fast forward several years, and we found ourselves at the wedding of a mutual friend from college, seated at the same table with jason and sam.  we chatted, as you do at weddings, and discovered that they have a son around the same age as our youngest, and so we were quickly swapping toddler stories- who walked when and how, picky eating habits, terrible sleep patterns, all the parenting stuff.  we laughed and had a lovely time, and on our way home, i turned to my husband and told him that i couldn't believe i'd never had a chance to get to know these two people in college.  they do life so much like we do, and were such fun people to be around, i was sad i had missed the chance to build a friendship with them when they lived walking distance away, instead of an hour drive.

so, of course, i friended samantha on facebook as soon as i got home that night, and i've been enjoying her sweet, honest, funny, and completely relate-able posts about her life as a momma ever since.  

you can imagine how excited i was when she contacted me about doing a session for her and her family to document her growing bump before the arrival of baby number 2.  that meant spending an evening with this totally sweet, down to earth couple, while also getting to meet and play with their adorable toddler- all while taking pictures of them.  i was all-in before i could even finish reading her first message to me.

let me tell you what- the night did not disappoint.  we had a bit of a hiccup when we showed up to the Reading Public Museum and realized it's a hot spot for pokemon-go players (no exaggeration, there were people e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.) but we were able to find ourselves a quiet spot or two and then just let the little guy lead our evening.  the bond he has with his momma? incredible:

although his bond with his daddy was just as clear- and i suspect it's going to grow even stronger once baby sister comes on the scene ;)

they are truly a beautiful example of a family built on love for one another, and even though the weather was hot, and there was much toddler chasing, it was clear that this baby girl is going to be joining a family that knows the value of being together.

oh- and on our way back to the parking lot, we spotted an ice cream truck.  they decided to stop, and of course i asked if i could follow them around just a liiiiiiiiiittle bit longer.  any night that ends in ice cream is a good night :)

walking harrisburg

last weekend, i got to kill two birds with one stone when i met one of my photographer friends in real life for the first time and did some more street shooting as we walked the streets of harrisburg together.  it was just as wonderful as the day i spent walking lancaster with another photographer friend- and i think that i'm very, very slowly becoming more comfortable with photographing random people on the street.  

during my first photo walk, i avoided people as much as i could and stuck to architecture and detail shots.  this time, however, i really wanted to be more intentional about shooting the people that bring the city to life.  i'm a master people watcher (ask my husband; he often points out that i'm staring even though i had no idea), so all i really need to do is put my camera in front of my face and do what i usually do.  the problem is, a lot of people run away as soon as they see your camera, either because they think they're in your way or because they don't want to be photographed, so it requires a little bit of sneakiness to get what you're going for.  i've still got to refine my technique a little bit, and i ended up missing focus on what would have been my favorite shot of the day (amish guy with beard below!), but i did end up with a few i'm relatively pleased with.

here's (some of) harrisburg through my eyes :)

a weekend at the beach

i already write this post once and when i was *almost* finished, the entire thing disappeared.  normally i'd be annoyed, but i'm especially mad right now because i specifically dedicated my 90 minutes of afternoon work time while the kids are sleeping/having down time to getting it done.  so, since i'm letting my kids watch an extra half hour of cartoons to knock it out, here's the short version of what i had planned to say:

1.  this vacation was amazing.

2.  i really like these pictures.

3.  i wish i was in more of them.

and now here's a bunch of pictures for your viewing pleasure.  they're in chronological order, so i'll let them tell the story without butting in with a bunch of words no one will read anyway ;)

the pool at golden hour

so there's this magical time of day that happens in the hour or two following sunrise and the hour or two preceding sunset when the sun is low in the sky and it spills a golden sort of magic all over the world.  photographers call it the golden hour, other people refer to these times as "i'm not getting out of bed yet" and "dear lord can i please put the kids to bed now".  

the truth is, as much as i *love* playing with the light during the golden hour, for about 45 weeks out of the year, it's a completely impractical time for me to be running around taking photos, especially since my main subjects are my children.  if you've spent any amount of time around me in the last 2 years, you know i've always got my camera in my hands and in front of my face, but even i'm not crazy enough to mess with my kids' eating and sleeping schedules.  not even for the sake of super yummy fabulous light.

tonight, however, was a night we made a bit of an exception to the rule.  we decided to take advantage of what was truly a perfect summer day and have an early picnic dinner at the pool.  by the time we were done eating, we were juuuuust entering into the time of light filled magic-y goodness, and so despite the looming risk of my camera getting splashed, i of course whipped it out and took full advantage of our gold coated evening excursion.  i hope you enjoy the result as much as i enjoyed the process :)

looking for birds, as he always does when we're outside <3 

at this time a year ago, i would have deleted this one without a second glance because the focus fell on the table in front of them and not on their sweet faces.  but a year is a long time for learning and growing, and so now i say "forget you, rules".  i adore this image.  everything about it.  so it will stay, and i will love it.

oh, and this basketball court?  this basketball court in the evening is what dreams are made of.  i'm not kidding, it's SO beautiful on this court as the sun sets next to it.  the shadows are drool worthy.  the only thing i'd change is to put a wooden fence around it so there was a nice clean backdrop instead of a chain link fence with cars on the other side.  but you know, reality and all that.  i'll take what i can get  :)

personal photojournalism: when your youngest turns two

welcome to this month's personal photojournalism blog circle!  when you're done checking out my little's birthday, make sure you click around the circle to see what christine hurla, overland park family photographer has been up to.

a little background first: last year, shortly after i realized i wanted to dedicate myself to learning documentary photography, i decided it was time to challenge myself a little more, so i took advantage of my my baby's first birthday and shot a day in the life to commemorate the day.  i loved it so much, and was so thankful to have all those photos, that i did the same for my big's birthday that october.  after that, i realize it would be silly to stop there, so i've pledged to shoot a DITL for their birthdays as long as I'm able to, until they're big and grown and not living in my house anymore.

my little turned two at the beginning of the month, and even though i finished the images over a week ago, i just haven't had a chance to blog them yet, so i figured this was the perfect opportunity.  i ended up with over 100 images from his day, but to save you from having to scroll for miles to see them all, i'll be sharing the abbreviated version here ;)

morning wake up routine: juice, cereal, and cartoons followed by some play time and a diaper change ;)

we've somehow created the tradition of having our birthday cake for breakfast.  initially we would just have leftovers for breakfast the day after, but when you're a toddler and you know there's cake, it's hard to wait all day.

then we got dressed, had a little tantrum (he did turn two, after all), and headed outside so he could get his gift.

the tantrum continued, but he once he realized that a tricycle is actually really cool, he chilled out a little bit ;)

of course, then there was the challenge of explaining to big brother why he didn't get a new tricycle and that he couldn't ride it until after little brother was done.  fortunately for him, his brother needed a break pretty quickly.

we played outside for awhile before we headed in for snack and a potty break, and then we headed back out for a trip to the park before lunch.

then it was home for lunch- but first, tantrum number two that resulted in him refusing to eat lunch unless he was on my lap.

which meant an early nap as soon as he finished "eating".

after nap, we headed over to grandma and grandpa's house for some family time with our cousins and grandparents.

and then, after our gorgeous dinner out on the deck among those we love, it was time to go home and wrap up the day.  bath, book, bed, and the end of birthday number 2 for my baby number 2.

sunflowers abound

last summer, a sweet friend of mine messaged me with the location of a field full of sunflowers because she is kind and thoughtful and knew i might like to photograph it.  unfortunately, last summer was the perfect storm of me not being able to do much because of the age and stage the boys were at, and my undiagnosed RA, so we never did make it out.

luckily for me, that friend is not only kind and thoughtful, she is also smart and persistent, and so she messaged me again a few weeks ago to let me know that the sunflowers were about to bloom- and this time i refused to miss it.  my initial plan was to head out solo at sunrise to catch some pretty light and hopefully not run in to other folks hoping to photograph and pick flowers to bring home.  it was pouring when i woke up this morning though, so instead i waited for it to clear, and then my boys went with me around mid-morning and i'm so glad they did.  we were only there for about 20 minutes, but we really enjoyed walking through the field and choosing our favorite flower to bring home- and truthfully i'm really digging the images i was able to get.  so much so that i'll probably be heading back sometime soon before the blooms are gone :)

 

many thanks to the owners of please wash me car wash for their generosity in allowing folks to come out and take photos (and flowers!) as they please.  gestures like this spread so much happiness and truly make the world a better place to be :)

pool day

i has been hotter than the surface of the sun this last week, and just like i'm a big old baby when it's cold, i'm an equally big old baby when it's hot.  i don't.do.hot.  however, i also don't do kids-cooped-up-inside-day-after-day, especially when we have a pool membership and the pool is approximately a 30 second drive away.  so, today we packed it up and headed over for some outside time.  thankfully, the rest of our township apparently hates the heat as much as i do, so it was pretty quiet today, and we got ourselves a great spot in the shade by the wading pool.

normally, i'm pretty reluctant to bring my camera to the pool with me because there are so many ways for it to get lost, damaged, or stolen, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, sometimes i feel the urge to take the risk.  i love my kids in their swimsuits.  i love the way the light shines on the water.  i love the bright sun and vibrant colors.  i love being that crazy lady laying in the grass taking pictures.  okay, maybe not so much that last one, but the pool is such a big part of our summers that i really do want to make sure that some of our time there gets documented.

as per our usual routine, the first thing the boys wanted to do when we arrived was have a snack while i got our spot set up.  once the blanket was out, they took their granola bars and got comfy.  the big decided it was a good day for sprawling out, and bless his sweet heart the little just had to try to do the same.

most of my picture taking was limited to the blanket today since i didn't have my husband there to be on lifeguard duty in case one of them decided to face plant in the water.  while they were contained and happy, i figured i might as well try a selfie with my boys.  it didn't turn out that great, but i still think it's important to grab shots like this when i can.

and then, right before we left and my little was burned out from the water and hiding in the playhouse, i sent my big into the empty wading pool and gave him permission to splash to his heart's content.  i got my on-prompt backlight image, and he got the chance to do the one thing he's always wanting to do that i'm always stopping him from doing.  win-win :)

time warp days

every now and then, i'll have a day that knocks me on my emotional butt.  a day when the reality of time hits me harder than a glass of wine started and finished while cooking dinner. they happen once every few months, and they have a tendency to sneak up on me when i least expect it, and they leave me feeling all the things there are to feel, all at one time.  

i'm a person who is easily distracted- by the monotony of daily life, by the way my body decides to feel on any given day, by the weather, by current events, by the sudden lack of daniel tiger on netflix- what i'm saying is, it's easy for me to lose sight of the things that are standing right in front of me because i allow my attention to be stolen by other, less important things.  that's not to say i don't notice things, because i do.  i hear my 2 year old sing the abc's for the first time, or watch as my 3 year old zips up his jacket on his own after weeks of practice, but with my mind unfocused and my heart in denial, the reality of what they mean often escapes me.  

and then, i'll have a time warp day.  a day like today, when all of a sudden, i see my kids for the first time as these people who are not the same people they were 8, or 6, or even 2 weeks ago.  i manage to look up through the haze of meal planning and cash budgeting and the second migraine this week and it hits me- really, truly sinks into my heart- that they have grown.  parts of them are gone, discarded, left behind in their memories and my heart and a few gigabytes on my hard drive.  and at the same time, i'm able to see other parts that are completely new.  i watch my big get dressed all on his own, and the last 3 weeks of him getting dressed without help rushes at me like a crashing wave and even though i saw it happening, i didn't understand.  not really.  not till today, when i realize that this is no longer a skill that we're working on.  he has arrived.  he has practiced, mastered, and gained this independence, and i smile with a fierce, deep pride while i cry as i say goodbye to this part of him that i'll never get back.

and then my little, my baby, looks up at me from across the hall and says "momma, i put daddy's shoes on".  and all these weeks of him speaking longer sentences, all the text messages to his daddy sharing the latest cute words, all the praises of his efforts to communicate with us, they all combine together into this one sentence that hangs in the air between us, and what it really says is "time is moving past us, and i am moving with it."  and i am reminded that everyday, there is something new, but to make room for the new, they have to shed the old.  his words now are so beautiful and precious, his voice one of my favorite sounds, but my heart aches for the days when he would wander through our house and growl, simply for the sake of hearing and feeling the power of his voice.  i am so excited to welcome this little one who now likes to dress up in daddy's shoes and pretend he goes to work too, but a part of me mourns the loss of the even littler one who would rather just sit and chew on the shoelaces.

the truth is, i need time warp days.  i need to take the time to notice- to really, truly, honestly see- how incredibly my children are growing.  i need a submersion in reality, and not the reality of laundry and dirty dishes and cleaning the toilet seat for the 800th time.  the reality of what being a child means, of what the rewards of the work of motherhood are, a reminder to slow down and cherish it all, because eventually all of it will be gone.  time will gradually take who they are and replace each part bit by bit with a newer, older, more independent part until one day, even though they'll always be mine, they won't really be mine anymore.  they will be their own, and they will continue on through life carrying a piece of my heart with them.  and when that day comes, i will be grateful for these pictures i have of them, so i can have a whole new kind of time warp day.  i can go back and remember how round their cheeks were, how wild their hair was after a long hard sleep, how their legs looked so long but so chubby, how their little dimpled hands found mine when they were overwhelmed or lonely or just looking for reassurance of love.  i take these pictures and collect these moments so that when we're done living them, i can have them to remember, always, the beauty of the time that passed us by.

the wonders of a new park

so the theme for this week is landscape photography, but let's be honest- i'm terrible at landscape photography.  i also don't have much of an interest in getting any better at it because i'd much rather devote my time to improving on my skills that have potential ;)  so, i think i'm going to leave the landscape photography to my talented friends who have a true eye for it and intentionally go off prompt this whole week.

today's weather is absolutely glorious, and i have a new 2 year old who is eager to ride his new tricycle uninhibited by petty obstacles like hills that are too steep to pedal up or streets that are too busy to ride in, so this morning we packed up the bikes and headed to our local elementary school.  we've never stopped at this particular playground because if school's not in session, then we're usually at the pool or at a different park, but all of our usual stops are overrun with summer camp kids, so we had to venture outside of our comfort zone a bit today.

turns out, that was the best thing that could have happened for all three of us.  the kids loved the equipment, there was an enormous amount of blacktop space for bike riding, and ample shade for me to hide in when the sun got to be too much.  in fact, i hadn't even intended to do a blog post today because i didn't anticipate getting many keepers from our little outing, but i wound up with 17 images that i just couldn't part with, so here we are.

^ when you tip your tricycle and refuse to let your mom help you up, she will take pictures of you moping instead.

happy monday all <3

adventures in rv camping

it's been 9 days since i last posted here, which is the longest i've gone without blogging all year.  between going away for 5 days, accruing a giant editing backlog, working with a deadline, and mom-ing on top of it all, attending to this space has gotten shoved to the bottom of my priority list over and over again.  still, there's no time like the present to jump back in, and so i'm going to start with a few-words-but-many-pictures post summing up the trip i took with the boys and my parents last week in their RV.  

this is the first vacation that we've been able to join my parents on in their new home-away-from-home, so we were bummed when the dates clashed with my husband's work schedule, but i knew i couldn't pass up the chance to get my boys camping- especially since we had an opportunity to spend some time with my grandparents too.

i was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly the entire trip went; from the 7 hour drive down and back, to the nights where i had to put them both to sleep on my own in beds that weren't theirs, to long rainy days and missed naps.  they both did a marvelous job, and we had a fantastic time to boot.

of course, because they're still little and creatures of habit like their momma, we ended up doing a lot of the same things we usually do at home (bubbles, balls, race cars, snack, snack, snack), and we did them over and over (and over) because of the rain, but it didn't stop us from having  fun.  one day we even took a nature hike through the woods while it sprinkled (no pictures of that!) and then got soaking wet and muddy when we played on the playground when we got worn out from walking.

we also took advantage of an offer from my aunt and uncle to take us to the virginia living museum to see their dinosaur exhibit, which ended up being the highlight of our time down there.  i've never seen both of my children so over-the-top excited about anything, ever.  the museum lighting wasn't easy to work with, so these aren't all that great to look at, but they at least give you an idea of the joy this side trip brought.

aside from that, we just leaned in and enjoyed the chance to be away from home with mimi and grandaddy, hanging out and doing nothing of consequence.  we even got to play with some fun new treasures that we acquired while we were down there- like a thrift store scooter, a set of walkie-talkies from my grandmother, and an old pair of sunglasses the big managed to unearth from the back seat of my overflowing little car.

happy camping indeed <3