Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A reason to celebrate...

Last night, I had my first official family shoot. (Who, me??)

And, who better as my "test subjects" than dear friends who were willing to indulge me and forgive my fumbling.

Regardless of their kindness, I was still scared to death. I left my house an hour early, walked around the park where we were going to shoot, made a shot list, cleaned my lenses for 10 minutes, and then circled around their house for another 15 . . . .

Fortunately, as soon as I pulled up, I remembered, "Oh yeah, these are my friends!"

So, we just had fun!!

What amazing people. (Of course, I've know that for a long time!) When you are around them, the love is palpable. Really. They are the definition of the the word "family." And they were so kind to me, as I tried my best imitation of a photographer.

It was a great evening, and I can't thank them enough!!
(click on pictures to enlarge).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We adore her . . .

I am grateful for "Aunt Annie." We are all so very grateful for her . . . .

The kids and I had a sleepover at Aunt Annie's apartment on Wednesday night. We spent the beautiful warm evening at a park nearby and then we ate gelato. Lot's of it.

I went to work the next morning, and Henry and Anna had Aunt Annie all to themselves for the whole day!

Annie is going into the Peace Corps. She is waiting for her placement any day now. (actually, any minute now). In about six weeks, she'll be leaving for 28 months . . . .

In all honesty, I couldn't be happier for her. Annie is pretty amazing and I am willing to let the world have her for a little while too. Annie will probably be placed in a science teacher position, maybe in Kenya. It's crazy to think that right now, there are kids on the other side of the world who don't know it yet, but they will love our Aunt Annie. That is pretty powerful stuff . . .

Plus, I understand why she is going . . . . Lately, Ray and I have been cleaning out bins (and bins) of old bills and papers and keepsakes. Just the other day, I ran across my Peace Corps application from 1989. I carried that blank application along with me for years. YEARS! I was always waiting for the right time to send it in . . . But I never did. Alaska was as far as I'd ever get.

Annie . . . well, she gets it. She knows that there is never a right time for anything. You just have to say yes to the opportunity, and then live your life. She is ready to do something like this - - something adventurous and life-changing. So, I completely support her. And I'm so proud of her for doing what I never could. I love her for being bold and courageous and alive.

So, with all of that said, we can't possibly be sad, can we . . . ??

My kids absolutely adore Aunt Annie. Adore her. No one else in this world holds a place in their hearts like she does. And I know the feeling is absolutely mutual. I know it when I see them all together. Three faces just light up . . .

When she is gone, I'll miss that look - - the look that Henry and Anna reserve only for Aunt Annie.

Really though, what more could I possibly ask for my kids? I know how much they are going to miss her. Hearts will break. But, Annie is giving them a great gift too. She is teaching them to make a difference in this world. She is showing them that they need to write their own stories. Live their own lives. Be bold and adventurous and live with BIG BIG love in their hearts.

These days with Aunt Annie are precious. These memories and pictures will need to last us a few years. During her 28 months away, we'll keep moving along here in Minnesota. Birthdays will be celebrated, teeth will be lost, school years will start and end, everyday joys and sadness will come and go . . . .

But the big stuff. The really important stuff . . . like who we are, and how much we love and adore one another - - Well, that won't change at all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

My best shot monday 8-23-10

Sunday evening: our last swim at the community pool before it closed for the season . . .

We've had a blast this summer. A blast!

One of the best summers in memory.

But this year (for once) I am not going to lament the end of the season.

No countdowns to school. No sadness for all the things we didn't have time for.


This year, I will only be grateful for all the fun we've had.

And, I can't wait to see what is next!

(posted to Tracey Clark's Best Shot Monday)

I am cool...

I am grateful for my sassy, fiercely independent, darling 3-year-old, who sang this little song yesterday, as she danced around the family room in her underwear and her swim goggles . . .

(and this is all Anna's song, word for word. I was taking notes as she sang. I could tell this was going to be a good one . . . )

"I am cool,
I am cool

Cool, cool, cool.

Oh yeah,
Oh yeah.

I am so pretty

Oh yeah,

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I am a good sister.
I love my brother.


And I am a friend to all.



And Carter.

My friends, friends, friends.

I love you.


Then she froze.
And looked at me. "How's that mama?" she said.
I was speechless.

(Seriously, who is this little girl??)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A sweet afternoon nap . . .

This afternoon, Henry wandered into our room, crawled into bed and fell asleep. Even when you are six, a Sunday afternoon nap feels good . . .

The midday light through the window was just right for this snapshot.

And, an hour later, I caught a few more pictures during the sweet quiet of waking up . . . (those moments don't last long at our house, so I grabbed while I could . . . )

Saturday, August 21, 2010

My little tomato hoarder...

I have a vague recollection of a garden that I think I planted in spring. But, it's been hard to keep track of since it is completely drowning in weeds. Very big weeds. Like 6 foot weeds. (really!) I've never seen anything like it. But, I knew there were vegetables in there some where and I was determined to find them. . . .

So this morning, Anna and I braved the weeds and in no time, we had struck summer gold . . . or red, in our case. Tomatoes! Anna's favorite. Sweet little grape tomatoes. And, my sugar-fiend of a daughter couldn't get enough. I guess sugar, even in vegetable form, fills her craving.

So we picked handfuls, and Anna promptly claimed them for herself. "These are all mine," she said.

As a gesture of kindness, she did offer me one. But the rest were clearly hers.

Yeah, Mama isn't going to complain much . . . . Eat away, baby girl!!

In better gardening news, the herbs in my front flower beds are thriving . . . green on green on green, all amazing shades, all amazing textures, intertwined and treading on each others territory. I never use even close to all of the herbs I grow, even after sharing with everyone who I can pawn them off on. But they are so beautiful and smell amazing. Herbs are my favorite!

We found this little beauty in the garden too . . a sign of the season I guess . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lemonade = legos...

After the success of Henry's lemonade stand last week, he made the wise choice to put the money towards a large Lego set. Also using some of the other money he's saved (thank you great-grandpa!), Henry chose a Lego City Fire/Rescue Boat.

After putting it all together with Ray, Henry and his friend Josh played with it for hours, and also built all of these cool free-form Lego vehicles and buildings and towers. (Just check out the 2nd picture below - Woody and a fire fighter riding in some ski-boat-flying thingy! Plus, there were pirates steering that ship!!)

They loved every minute (and so did I!!)

As Henry says, "Lego's are the best!!"