Monday, October 31, 2011

437 questions....

I just read a statistic that said the average four-year-old asks 437 questions every day.

Whoever conducted that study GROSSLY underestimated the number of questions asked. Really!

Or, they never met my Anna.


This weekend was a particularly good example. Anna just had SO much to be excited about. SO much to talk about. There was the big all-community preschooler costume extravaganza on Friday night. (Anna channeled her inner-princess). Then a family outing to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and games on Saturday night (Ray's idea!) Yesterday was all about pumpkin carving and costume prep and treats, treats, treats. (we had to test the merchandise, you know!) And of course it was all that fun, plus non-stop imagining of what Monday - the REAL deal - would bring.

Anna could hardly contain herself.

After Friday evening's Halloween party, Anna decided it would be a good idea to continue wearing her princess crown for the rest of the weekend, just so she could really "feel" the part by Monday. And why not? It seemed perfectly fitting for my darling diva!

Anna danced in the morning sunlight, with the crown atop her head.



Then, she read and she twirled. And the crown stayed put.


I think it's a good look for her.

However, I must say that the whole crown-wearing-thing did give me pause once.....My dear Anna was less than pleased when I said "no" to treats for breakfast. As her crown slipped to the side just a little, Anna told me that I was the meanest mommy e.v.e.r. In that moment, I wondered whether an actual 4-year-old princess threw a fit from time to time? You know, at Buckingham Palace or somewhere in the Saudi Kingdom? And, would that princess get a time-out? Or would her personal butler simply say "Yes, your Highness," and proceed to deliver a Butterfinger on a silver tray?

Who knows.....

But, needless to say, there was no pre-breakfast chocolate and no silver tray at our house!

(well, at least not until after her oatmeal.....)


So, I am all about holidays and tradition and celebrations. Like over-the-top festive. (More on that coming later this week). But I must admit that my absolute least favorite holiday tradition is carving pumpkins. Always has been. First of all, I'm just really rotten at it. I have no interest in spending hours on artwork that will only be admired for a few hours before it collapses into vegetable mush. Plus, I really, really, really hate sticking my hand into the pumpkin innards, trying to pull out the slimy pumpkin guts. Yuck! And most of all, I have an irrational fear that I am going to accidentally impale one of my children as I'm trying to carve out a particularly tricky eye shape that one of them drew on their pumpkin. (At our house, they draw, I execute).

"Just do your best," Anna tells me, with reassurance.

"Stand back," I say. "I don't know what might happen next," as another pumpkin seed flies across the room.

Really? Who started this awful tradition?? (no offense to all the pumpkin-carving extraordinaires out there....)

(by Sunday, Anna had traded the crown for fairy-princess face paint).

Of course, I can't disappoint, and so we muddled through. As expected, we ended up a pretty good version of Anna's 4-year-old, hand-drawn, happy-smiley-face pumpkin, and Henry's traditionally simple (because mom's skill level demands simple), scary-faced pumpkin.


But there is always a silver lining to this whole pumpkin carving adventure. Ray makes the best roasted rosemary and sea-salt pumpkin seeds ever. And they are almost good enough to make me forget about the pumpkin slime underneath my fingernails. (I said, almost!)

I hope your Halloween festivities are a screaming delight, and plenty safe!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Family follow up.....

You may recall, I had the privilege of photographing Jayson and Elissa's lovely wedding this summer at the Arboretum.  Of course, with all the festivities and merriment that day, we didn't get as many "family-only" shots as we may have liked.  So, on a beautiful Saturday morning, we returned to the Arboretum to explore and run around and take a few more pictures.  






(Life mimics art.....)







Thank you Jayson and Elissa.  I'm so honored to have captured the "big" day and the everyday.  They are all so sweet!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

At the hip....

Earlier this summer, Anna was all mama's girl.  It's like we were joined at the hip.  Everywhere I went, so went my little girl.

"Mooommmmmm, where are you??"
"Me too. I'm coming with you, mom."
"What should we do next?"
"Here I am.  Let's go."

Of course, I knew it was just a stage....Anna needing a little extra mama attention, a little extra assurance.  And that was just fine.  But, I must admit there were moments that I wanted to dodge my little 4-year-old tail. Maybe have a moment to myself for a change....

I took these pictures to remind me of the days when Anna stayed so close. I knew the time would be fleeting.  Being the center of dear Anna's world wouldn't last forever.  And, I wanted to be sure I remembered.  All of it.



(Anna did the shoe-lining-up here. Just so she'd be ready to go...)


Funny, how just a few months have passed since I took these pictures, and things have changed already.  I think making the transition to preschool did it for Anna.  Naturally, she gained a little more independence.  A little more "big girl."  And, lately Anna seems to be as much a Papa's girl, as Mama's.

Time just keep moving along.... 

It's such a push and pull for us mom's.....of course, we want them to grow up and become who they are.  Become strong and independent and happy.  But with each milestone - from first smiles and first steps, to first days of school - well, we are acutely aware that the new milestone takes our dear one another step away from us.

And so too goes a little bit of our heart....

The letting go really happens day by day.  In the little moments.  As wonderful as it is to witness all of the new and amazing....And as big as our hearts may burst with love and pride each time we see it all - - well, it's really bittersweet too.

I guess it just comes with the job.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thanks Chuck....

Henry has been pondering his Halloween costume for weeks now.  Well, more than pondering.  It's been closer to agonizing.  Anna has had her princess costume (surprise, surprise....) ready to go for quite some time.  And every once in awhile, she takes it out and tries it on and declares it the best costume E.V.E.R.  Of course, this sisterly act has been torture for poor, indecisive Henry.

"I just know it.  It will be Halloween, and I won't even have a costume.....And it's all your fault"

Yes, my fault (the mama).  I said no to a scary costume.  Not when you are seven.  Probably not when you are twelve (if I still have any say in the matter.)  And my dear Henry, rebelling against my scary costume veto, has been making me pay for it every time the discussion came up....

Police Officer?  No.
Rock Star?  No.
Mad scientist?  No.
Astronaut?  No. No. No.

For some reason, Henry had his heart set on this zombie-mummy-skateboarder dude.  But, too bad.  I wasn't giving in.  So we all agonized together.  That is, until I had a mama flash of inspiration.

How about a basketball player?

"YES!!  YES!!  YES!!!" said the second-grader.   Bulls-eye!

You see, Henry is ALL about basketball these days.  He loved a mini-camp this summer, and he CAN'T wait to start a winter skills class ("mom, it starts in only 22 days.")  So, even though there isn't much to a basketball player costume, it just fit for him.  Henry was all over it.  And he only had one request:  "mom, I need squeaky shoes."

Enter: Chuck Taylor's. 


I brought the "squeaky shoes" home this afternoon, and Henry didn't take them off all day.

When I tucked him into bed tonight, I found his new Chucks at the foot of his bed.  Ready to slip right back on in the morning.

Score one for mama ingenuity.

Score one for second-grade enthusiasm.

I love myself a good "win-win!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sneak peek....

Okay Kara - I couldn't resist showing you at least a few of the gazillion photos we took this last weekend.  (I could have posted another 4 dozen of my favorites, but I'll refrain since I don't want to blow the holiday card suspense!)

THANK YOU!! I adore your family!!!











Tuesday, October 11, 2011


For weeks, I've been meaning to take my camera out and capture some of the fall colors. But all of this warm weather fooled me into thinking I still had plenty of time. Then, the winds picked up at the end of last week, and blew most of the leaves off the trees....


So, when Anna and I headed out on Sunday for our autumn adventure, we had to work a little harder. But, there was still plenty of color left.....







Anna and I also made another trip to Barten's Pumpkins. Plenty of color there!






I'm not sure how much longer this weather can possibly last. And I must admit, it's throwing off my seasonable sensibilities just a bit. (I put the shorts away weeks ago, but now they've migrated back out again.....) 

But really, it is a gift. And I, for one, won't look this gift horse in the mouth.



Saturday, October 8, 2011


Sometimes, there is just not enough time in the day.

Sometimes, the mama-guilt just takes over....for having to work too much. For missing my kiddos in the morning before school or during afternoon pick-ups. For making dinner on the run or spending too much time on the computer trying desperately to catch up.

It's been a few of those kind of weeks....

And, it's hard to admit this. I'm a mom after all. But (get ready....), sometimes, I just can't do it all.

There I said it.

I. Can't. Do. It. All. (but damn....I really had hoped that I could.)


Yesterday, I chatted with a dear friend (who is also a very wise mom). You know, she's right. My kids won't remember whether we baked cookies that were of the "just add an egg" variety (rather than from scratch). Instead, they'll remember that we baked. And then we ate. Together.

My kids won't remember that I didn't put up the autumn decor which would create a perfectly fall-ish home. Rather, they'll remember that we pulled out the tote with all the Halloween decorations and they put them up wherever they wanted. And that we were silly and had fun. (and, um - - that autumn decor thing - yeah, that would really never happen anyway at my house....)

My kids won't remember how long we played a board game or stayed at the park or rode bikes or painted pictures. They'll just remember that we did it.

I really needed that reminder yesterday. And, going through these pictures from the last few weeks helped too. Even if I wasn't around as much as usual, it was enough.

Despite mom's crazy schedule, there was no childhood crisis (in large part due to the papa-of-the-house!)

By the looks of it, everyone is just fine.



Lately, Anna had been begging to break out the face paints.  We started out pretty tame with a rainbow and a butterfly.  But then Anna took over.....Oh my, you should have seen the bath water that night before bed!







Henry got in on the act, too....


Anna's friend Alice was over for a play date a few weeks back, and I think Henry was as excited to hang out with her as Anna was. He kept saying, "Mom, I just love the way she laughs."




This last month, it has been enough just to be outside in the backyard.  It's been so wonderful to enjoy all of this unseasonable weather.  No time to waste. (snow pants and boots are on standby....)




My dear boy.  The other day, Henry came down the stairs, dressed in a hawaiian shirt and a tie, and said "mom, let's take some pictures.  And so we did!




And there was another play date for Anna, with her dear friend Ava.  (And for me, it was SO fun to have someone else willing to let me take photos.  Ava was a very willing subject and cute as can be!!)


(notice the chocolate milk mustaches....









So, all of this crazy-busy will be coming to an end soon.  Or at least it won't be quite as bad.  Thank goodness.

I guess these last weeks just remind me that sometimes, I need to give myself a break. Let go a little. Let go of "perfect." And, remember that the time we do have is all that much more important.

No time to waste....