Archives for January 2015

How did you get so big?

It’s a question I ask the kiddos all the time – how did you get SO big? No, but really? I thought it yesterday when Teagan was walking in front of me – seeing how her stride was longer than I remember, because her legs are getting so long and thin now. We’re convinced Gwen grew about an inch one night last week when she demanded to go to bed at 6:00 pm: (um, ok!) “I’m exhausted.” Hudson is a whirling dervish right now, and it’s only when that little human is looking back at me in one of my images that I really get a good look at him. Today was one of those days.

Today we sported super-comfy organic cotton creations from Spiritex, locally made in Asheville, NC. Miss Tea is SUPER picky (hideous understatement as I’m having flashbacks of her thrashing on her bedroom floor, accusing pants of “choking” her legs.”) about her clothing and fits and feels, and I’m 100% happy to report that she was delighted with her Heart’s in My Pocket tunic and Little Leggins. Hint, hint, Valentine’s Day is coming!

Spiritex Spiritex-3 Spiritex-5  Spiritex-13 Spiritex-8 Spiritex-9

Ok, Who’s this KID looking at me? Where’s my baby boy? Why can I picture him at 10 here, not nearly 3? When I ask Hudson how he got “so big” his answer is always the same: “Because I IS.” I can’t go grammar-psycho on him. Just can’t. You keep on with your subject-verb agreement error. It’s way cute. Watch out, pre-k girls, watch out. Stud-muffin is donning his Explorer Hoodie and pants. Uber cozy for a freeeezing cold (insert frozen face emoticon) NJ winter day. PS – He likes warm hugs.

Spiritex-12Spiritex-11

 

 

Florida –> dawn till dusk + some fireworks!

Can 3 kids under age 6 endure a 22 hour drive with the promise of unlimited sunshine, swimming, bike rides, time with family and a visit to Disney? They can, and they did.

These images aren’t all from the same day, but I chose them because they crystallize moments of our trip, and I’m arranging them dawn to dusk (and a lot in between) for the sake of narration.

Below is my grandma’s back yard around 6:45 am. I tiptoed out at sunrise one morning before anyone was up, including the fire ants. I haven’t seen the sunrise (without a baby in my arms who didn’t realize that only vampires like to be up all night) in I don’t know how long! This morning will stay with me for a long, long time:

20142014-22014-32014-52014-7

Behold the textbook toddler. This little man learned that he could escape outside into the warm air as soon as he opened his eyes, which he did in his pj’s around 7 am every day. He learned how to free dogs from their pen, drive his cousin’s Barbie jeep like a boss, pin the pedal on an electric golf cart, and how to commandeer his great-grandma’s Jazzy.

2014-62014-382014-36

This is the ONE and only Disney photo of the pumpkins and their cousins. We went the day after Christmas, undeniably the busiest day in the ENTIRE year to go. “The” camera was under wraps (meaning Phil had to lug it around in his lap top bag all day) since I could have zero distractions. No children were temporarily lost during this visit. Win! Oh, and if you visit, don’t take small children to the Haunted Mansion first. Parenting learning curve.

2014-8

Oh palm trees, how I love you.

2014-102014-9

All hail the Punta Gorda splash park!

2014-11

The Peace River

 

2014-152014-14

This little girl learned how to swim in the “deep deep” end of her great-grandma’s pool. She was very, very proud of her new skills, and we are too. She wanted “everyone” to know she can swim, so now you know!

2014-16

Green plants and flowers: northerners, do you remember what this looks like!?2014-132014-12

This kiddo told her Daddy to take off her training wheels without ever having them off before. He did, and she took off without looking back. (Insert tear emoticon!)

2014-172014-29

2014-23

Sanibel Island seashells

2014-39

Sanibel Island mermaids!

2014-402014-412014-19

These two little ladies are part of mom’s dachshund collection that made the NJ –> Florida trip. Ginger and Bella soaked up the rays.

2014-22

Oranges and grapefruit all picked from my grandma’s yard!

2014-18

Christmas lights sewn to a sunset.

2014-212014-20

~ Clouds on fire ~

2014-262014-25

New Year’s Eve sparkled on its way out.

2014-282014-27

…And 2015 came in with a BANG! (Many bangs because Phil and my cousin put on QUITE a show.) Good thing the neighbors like my grandma.

2014-332014-312014-32

We filled our paper lanterns with wishes and sent them up, up and away into the night sky. Here’s to hoping all of yours come true too.

Lessons from a skincat

Lulu header

Happy New Year! AND it’s mid-January. I know it. I’m a bit late to the party. Back at blogging! Yes. Photography ate me alive this fall. I love those sunsets and leaves, then Christmas rolled around, and well…I’m back!

Meet Lucy. She’s our two year old Sphynx, aka a “skin cat.” A few recessive genes (yay double r’s in the Punnett square!) makes a Sphynx cat. How’s that for a hands-on STEM lesson plan? Yeah, bring the kids by! Either you’re fascinated and wanna come over and pet her, or you’re totally grossed out right now and possibly wondering why we’re friends. And that’s ok. If you have any sort of reptile or poisonous insect in your house as a “pet,” I’m wondering the same about you. This is our kitty, Lucy, our Lulu, and we love her dearly. But I didn’t always. GASP! I’ll get to that.

Lulu isn’t the first or only of her kind. She’s also not our first Sphynx. Fish was. Now you think I’m even stranger for having a cat named Fish. That’s ok too. My 94 year old grandfather was so terrified by what he thought as a “possum” in my living room that he tried (repeatedly) to stomp on my pretty kitty and save our family from the “varmint” while I shrieked, trying to explain who and what she was, while family members pulled him into a chair. I will never forget the look of sheer panic on his face. Who knew a guy that old could jump so high? I digress.

In January of 2013, I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. Fish was battered by kitty cardiomyopathyheart disease. On a freezing, cloudless Saturday morning padded with fresh snow, January 26th, at the door of the vet’s office, I had to decide to end her suffering. UGH. Not only was that hideously difficult, try watching your then 4 year old cry hysterically for weeks each night, petting the cat’s pictures on the iPad, begging God in her nightly prayers to send her back from heaven. Stomach churning, heart wrenching, gut punching difficult moments as a mom. How did we handle it? Guess. A kitten, of course. Kittens can solve a lot of problems.

A few months later, as birds arrived with spring, Lucy arrived at Newark Airport via from Ed and James, her loving breeders in Raleigh-Durham NC. She purred and welcomed cuddles from day one, and she loved the kids – a bonus, because Fish loved me (and Phil way, way more), and really no one else.

Despite her adorable-ness, loving nature and lightening-quick adaptability to our home, I found myself working to love her. She did nothing wrong. She did everything right. Purred, chased strings, attacked feather toys with bells on cue. So why was my heart so hardened like the Grinch’s on Christmas Eve? It was because every time I saw her, in the background of my mind was a dark urn holding the remains of Fish-cat. I only figured out later, after I realizing how much I had grown to love this 9 lbs of happiness, what my problem was. It took me about a year to get over the fact that she wasn’t Fish.

lucy post sept 2014-6lucy post sept 2014-5lucy post sept 2014-11lucy post sept 2014-3lucy post sept 2014-7lucy post sept 2014-8lucy post sept 2014-4

Don’t I sound like a monster now? Hear me out.

My problem wasn’t with Lucy. My problem was with me. I couldn’t get over the fact she wasn’t who I had to let go of. Fish was gone at just 8 years old. Without even knowing it, I couldn’t accept the change, and so I didn’t – I couldn’t accept Lucy, let alone love her. As the adage goes, change isn’t easy. No kidding. Major, major understatement. We are creatures of habit, like it or not. Most change is forced upon us. SLAP! Life goes at you again. When the situation is painful, as I learned, it’s easy to become bitter & jaded – and without even meaning to – to hold a cold, marble heart even in the face of an aqua eyed, tiny purring kitten. (Monster! I admit it on a blog!) What did I learn? I learned I don’t always have a say in the changes that happen around me, but I can help how I react to those changes.

Besides my slow climb toward nirvana, there is a happy ending. I was able to make room for Lulu. One morning as I watched T carry her all curled up like a baby doll across the living room for the 55th time without complaint, without even trying to escape the clutches of a super-loving 4 year old, she did it. She won me over big time, oh-yes-she-has-oh-yes-she-has (insert smothering kiss sounds as seen below:)

headshots 2015 headshots 2015-2 headshots 2015-3

(Had to.)