Today is one of those days where I didn’t comb a hair on their head, I didn’t insist on matching clothes, and I had no plan for how we would spend our time together.

IMG_1265 IMG_1260IMG_1261We could have done a million things, and gone a million places. We didn’t. We stayed local, we went to the park, we met old friends for lunch. We pretended to be the type of people who had nothing better to do.

IMG_1312 IMG_1307 IMG_1320 We found a path and explored it. We set a goal and reached for it. We did nothing of significance to anyone but ourselves.

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And in doing absolutely nothing, we found everything.

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And you were so happy. You were both so happy. Nailed it.

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Dear Sunshine Girl,

One of the first things we did after purchasing our home, was to hang photos on the main wall as you walk up the staircase. Every morning for the past two years I have glanced at photos of you. Then Jude came along and he was added to the wall too. Slowly at first, it was hard to part with my baby photos of you, and now there are photos of the two of you together. For now they look age appropriate. I have two little kids- and that’s the truth, for now. If I look at a photo I hung 6 months ago, it looks dated, and if I look at the photos that were hung last week they look current- and thus the landscape of our hallway keeps changing.

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That wall and it’s photographs, tell our whole story.

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So  every day I take a few pictures of you and your brother. I’m trying to remember as I go along here Gracie, but it’s impossible. I’m trying to recall the first time you said Doggie or the way your curls formed a mullet around your head, or the way you would sit on the subway- like you rode it alone everyday.

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I can’t keep up with your changes and your phases, and your questions and your brain, and the fact that you’re suddenly in on the joke. I marvel at your maturity and how you spent the entire summer with me, and sat next to Nana and Uncle Chris at your great grandmother’s funeral and manged to stay completely still and quiet, and comfort your uncle while he was crying. I choke up when I see how you sat across the aisle from me on the airplane and entertained yourself with paper dolls and in-flight Sky Mall magazines and colored on vomit bags- until we reached South Carolina. So yes, I was traveling with two small kids, but only one of them was my baby; the other was my friend.  I may have introduced you to the world, but it is you whose living in this world- defined by your greatness.

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As you grow up you’ll cycle through a zillion phases and they won’t all be as pleasant as this one. Four has been so kind to me, and easy for you. Every time I look at our wall I see pictures from all the phases of your life- I can’t recall the Earth shaking tantrums or the screaming fits you once threw- and girl they were terrible. The photos are up there, but the memory has faded into this softened picture of a baby who has grown up to be my greatest companion. I’ll add today’s photos to our wall and someday I’ll walk past it and think of how small you really were- but in my heart you’ll always feel 100 feet tall.

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So here we are- we’re just at the beginning aren’t we? You’re small so your problems are small. You’re smart, so the homework is easy. You’re a fighter, so the battles are long. You’re my heart, so you’re my most precious asset. (Jude too!)

IMG_0971Happy first day of Pre-School 3. Thank you for spending your summer with me Gracie Girl. I love & adore you- you who are bigger than the sun and more abundant than the sky.

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The kids and I took one final summer vacation to South Carolina. We were in pursuit of some extra sun and sand and pool time.  We got that, and then some.  A plane ride ( with one lay over), two kids, and no help is challenging- but it isn’t impossible. The kids are pros at traveling by plane, train, and automobile.  (A fully stocked ipad certainly doesn’t hurt the situation.)

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Sunny spent her summer learning to swim and oh my goodness she has made some huge strides. She’s still in water wings but can how hold her breath, go under water, and jump straight into the pool all by herself. She has let go of some of the fear surrounding swimming, and it’s a beautiful transformation to watch. She is normally so cautious, that I look like a dare devil by comparison. I adore this photo of her- it’s so #Graciegirl.

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Saint is now a Capt’n. As in Hiya Capt’n. My sister -in-law gave him a spiffy captain’s hat and he won’t go anywhere without it. He calls himself Capt’n and tips his hat to anyone who plays along. I feel bad for any woman whose never had the pleasure of raising a son; they’re so silly and cute, and willing to try anything. They’re also excellent cuddle buddies, smell like puppies, and they’re always slightly dirty. It’s heavenly really.

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I didn’t bring my big camera on this trip, but my cell phone did it’s best to capture South Carolina in August. The humidity is so thick that I had a hard time breathing. But I do love the south- it’s in my blood and bones. It’s really breathtaking.

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Sunny came up with a new catch phrase while we were down there and it’s…“Not for pretty.” That’s now how she responds to things. Confused? Here’s an example.

Me: Do you want to go play golf with Papa?

Gracie: That’s not for pretty.

I don’t know where she got it, and I don’t know exactly what is for pretty- but I can tell you golf, soccer, football,  and anything that requires an bead of sweat is NOT for pretty.

photo 5 My Mom will say “What are you going to do with this girl?” But what she really means is “Thank God she’s the girliest girl in the entire world- I prayed for a child exactly like this.” She literally ( at one point) turns to Gracie and says “You’re the daughter I always wanted.” You can’t make this stuff up!

photo 1  photo 4Adding to her very girly girl life style- my Mom took us to the most ideal place on the face of the Earth, and announced that this is the chapel where Gracie will be getting married. I mean thank goodness someone is thinking about her pending marriage to Aidan because God knows I have dropped the ball on that!

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We got in that chapel and I thought, Gee I have NO IDEA where I got my daughter from but she must have been cut from the same exact cloth as her Grandmother. It’s actually frightening how much they’re alike. Their love for all things perfect & beautiful, clean & neat,  expensive & slightly unattainable is something they share on a spiritual level.

photo 3On the other hand- this little guy, is cut from the cloth of boyhood.

photo 5Thank God for them both.  See you next time Nana & Papa. Thanks for a great trip.

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Fall Mini Session

So very excited to share our first Fall Flyer! Please pass, pin, share, like away!

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I wonder often what childhood will feel like to them. Will they remember the countless camera shops and computer stores we frequent for Mommie’s business? Will they hear a song and think of my clients family that they watch on the screen?

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For her part, Sunny will sit with me for a few minutes at a time and ask me whose baby photo I’m editing, or whose family I’m working with. “Do they have kids?” “How many?” “How old are they?” I realize she boils peoples stories down to the facts. If pressed with how many kids she wants or what she’d like to “be” when she grows up, she will say “MOMMY! Don’t ask me that! How can I know that!”

She’s just trying adulthood on, like a familiar sweater that’s to big and to stretched out to be yours- but still, it’s interesting.

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Saint doesn’t care about my work or his camera happy life. As long as we are together all day every day until his eyes close, amen. I know he’s two but he’s more of my baby now than when he was an actual baby. I would explain it but you just have to know him. He enjoys his life to the fullest as long as he’s not asked to actually do anything or go anywhere. Here, this house, with his bouncy house, and hose, are all he wants in this life. It’s similar to having  a farm with a giant wide porch and a hound dog that just lays there.

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I feel us all growing and pushing and moving forward, but I so love staying still.  Saint and I have that in common. Let’s just sit here a little longer. Let’s just let this be enough for a little bit longer. Let’s let this summer wash away quietly so we don’t have to say goodbye. Just a little bit longer. Let’s let it linger.

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