One Photo

As I scrolled through the literally tens of thousands of pictures on my laptop Sunday evening, trying to pick one photo that captured a particular meaningful moment, something dawned on me. The big moments in life—birthdays, weddings, holidays—are important, but it’s the little everyday moments that make life meaningful. Don’t save your camera for a special occasion—capture the everyday and those moments will be special occasions when you look back on them.

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Taken on Sunday, this is an “outtake” of sorts from a series of photographs I take of my children to document them growing up. Each week—up to their first birthday and then each month—I take a picture of my kids sitting next to a stuffed monkey. Each one has their own monkey and it serves as a constant in the photos to see how the kids grow over time. Those weeks and months quickly add up, and these photos are evidence that time really does fly by.

On Sunday Huggy Baby turned 6 weeks old and as I snapped a few shots of him and his monkey G-tot sidled up next to his brother. So I took a few more shots of the two of them.

And when I look at that photograph I see a moment of pure love.
A new baby.
A new big brother.
The beginning of a life long friendship.
My two boys who will grow up too fast all the while experiencing countless everyday moments with each other.

I plan to capture as many as possible.

This post is sponsored by Kodak. October 17–23 is Free Kodak Prints week—a week long event designed to help you unleash your photos from your hard drives and Facebook albums by offering 20 free 4 x 6 inch prints when you “like” Kodak on Facebook. Additionally, to help celebrate Free Prints Week, Kodak is partnering with the popular Tumblr blog, My Parents Were Awesome, as a way to encourage people to print and share recent photos and those of the past.

The Dimple. A Yawn.

Totally in love with this kid.

The dimple.

IMG_2200A Yawn.

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23 Days old—taken on 9.27.11.

Growing Up—Four Years

Dear Gideon,

Today you turned four years old. Which kind of seems impossible because I swear it was just the other day that I was in labor with you wondering what motherhood would be like. I can honestly say that thanks to you, motherhood has been fantastic.

DSC01576March 27, 2007—One Hour Old

You are an incredible human and every single day I get to spend with you makes my life more fulfilling. I cannot imagine it any other way. Day after day, month after month, year after year you keep getting more amazing and I am so proud to be able to say that YOU are MY son.

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You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I love spending my days, afternoons, and nights with you. I feel so blessed that my job permits me to work just two really long days most weeks of the year so I have the other five days to hang out with you.

You are so smart. So handsome—strangers still stop me on a regular basis to tell me how beautiful your red hair is when they see you. You are funny—especially with your new found appreciation for knock knock jokes. And your laugh? Completely infectious.

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As fast as you are growing up you will always be my baby. And you will forever be the one that made me a mother. I hope you always remember that you made me something that nobody else had ever done and nobody else will ever be able to do. You changed who I was to my very core in the most remarkable way. Nothing can ever change that fact and I am so very thankful for that you gave me that opportunity.

DSC01847April 3, 2007—One Week Old

IMG_1415March 24, 2011—Four Years Old

Love and a million kisses,

Mommy

Maize Maze

Earlier this week we went to a corn maze. It was a first time experience for all 3 of us and it was super fun. We went in the late afternoon and were pretty much alone in the maze—which may have made it a little more difficult to navigate. But we made it through and then played in the giant tractor tires full of dried corn until we had to drag G-tot out to head home. Man I love the Fall.

IMG_0657Stalking

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shot_1285877793877Corn Angels

shot_1285878095970Golden Kernels, Golden Eyelashes

shot_1285877885848Fistfuls of Corn

shot_1285877766909Dusty Soles

shot_1285877759219Corn Blanket

Roche de Boeuf

Sometimes heading out to a local festival on a chilly Saturday afternoon ends up being one of the best Saturdays ever. Like yesterday.

IMG_06222 tickets to ride

IMG_0631his first mechanical carnival ride

IMG_0637duck race

IMG_0646kettle corn

IMG_0651bounce house

Weekly Winners—Pirate Party

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It Took Forever to Paint but Totally Worth It

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Happy Pirate Boy

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It Had to be Blue

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Pirate Booty Treat Bags

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Finger Puppet Pirates

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Blue Jewels and Gold Coins

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Prepare to Walk the Plank

Growing Up—34 and 35 Months

Dear Gideon,

In just a couple of days you will be three years old.

THREE.

Holy crap.

For whatever reason I feel compelled to catch up on your monthly letters before that happens. I know, I know, it is just one more item to add to the list of neurotic things your mother does. Trust me, one day that will be a very long list. I’m okay with that and although it will thoroughly embarrass you as an adolescent, many years from now you may actually find it charming.

Anyway…months 34 and 35.

IMG_863934 months—February 4, 2010

IMG_883535 months—March 2, 2010

I imagine one day you will read these letters and notice that I tend to fail when it comes to writing them in a timely fashion. My goal is always to get them written within a couple of days of the 24th of each month. That rarely happens and this is by far the longest I have gone without writing you a letter. It has been a rough couple of months for me and I just haven’t been in the right frame of mind to compose a heartfelt letter to you.

But that hasn’t stopped YOU from being truly amazing and plowing full-speed ahead in terms of growth. And thankfully, you are ALWAYS the highlight of my day (the good and the bad days).

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On January 15th, you came up to me, lifted my shirt, kissed my belly and said, “I love you baby.” Sweetly, compassionately, and without any prompting. My heart melted in that moment. The next day I lost the baby and my heart broke. I was confused, angry with the world, and devastated.

I had no idea how I was going to tell you what had happened. How do you explain that to a two and a half year old? I wasn’t sure if you could understand but I couldn’t have you say “I love you baby” to my now empty uterus. So, as I held you in my arms that afternoon before your nap, I told you that the baby was very sick and wasn’t gong to grow in my belly anymore.

And you cried. Which made me weep. There we stood in the darkness of your room that Saturday afternoon sobbing over our loss. I immediately questioned whether or not I had made the right decision by telling you at that moment. Looking back, I’m not sure there is any easy way. I’m still not sure how much you understood in that moment either. But your reaction was completely appropriate and somehow cathartic.

Oddly, that wasn’t the only loss you suffered that day. While you were taking your bath that evening I picked up your much loved binky. Holding it in my hand I noticed four small holes in the nipple from your tiny sharp teeth. Those holes compromised the integrity of the binky and made it a health hazard. You couldn’t have it back after that.

That was the last binky we had in the house and your Dad and I had no intention of buying you a new one. And just like that you were done with the binky. You never really complained or asked for it again. You were ready to let it go, you just needed the push. I had this grand idea of tying it to a balloon and having you let it float away as a final goodbye. We never did that and it is still sitting in the medicine cabinet collecting dust. One of these days it will end up in the trash. Thanks for making it so easy.

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Rest assured that the last couple of months have been more than just heartache and loss. Even on the darkest of days you have been a shining example of all that is right in the world. One day while I did a bit of work in the office you came in “driving” your car with your “lunch” in hand. You came in to give me a hug and kiss along with a wave goodbye because you were “going to work”.

So adorable.

On more than one occasion you have looked at me and said, “You’re beautiful.” Wow. What was I saying earlier about your ability to melt my heart? It goes triple for statements like that.

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Talking to you continues to be one of my favorite things to do and I am absolutely smitten with some of the phrases that come out of your mouth. One phrase in particular that always makes me giggle and that I would never correct is “piggy-ride back”. What you really want is a piggy-back ride but EVERY time you say “piggy-ride back”. And EVERY time I give you one without hesitation and with a smile on my face.

Because to me, that is just perfect.

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Love,
Mommy

I Got Another Song for You

Sometimes it is the subtle little things that make me smile even bigger in an already joyous moment.

Have you any woof? from Artist Mother Teacher on Vimeo.

And sometimes it is the not so subtle and somewhat inappropriate things that make me laugh so hard I sound like a 90 year old woman that has been smoking too long.

That is some fancy necklace you have there from Artist Mother Teacher on Vimeo.

Take a couple minutes and watch these. If you don’t at least smile you are dead inside.

Growing Up—33 Months

Dear Gideon,

Every once in awhile I find myself having to choose whether to be a straight-faced parent or to just laugh hysterically when you say something inappropriate (whether you realize it’s inappropriate or not). Since I tend to have the maturity level of a 12 year old boy, I usually choose the latter. When we had the following conversation a couple of weeks ago it took everything I had to not keep laughing until I either cried or peed my pants. I had to actually contain myself and tell you it wasn’t a nice thing to say even though it was HILARIOUS!

ME: (while changing your diaper) P.U. You have a stinky butt.
YOU: Huh?
ME: You have a stinky butt.
YOU: You have a stinky ‘gina.

Seriously, how could I not laugh?

Never mind the fact that it is incredibly inappropriate. It was a perfectly delivered comeback by a two and a half year old. With barely any hesitation.

Priceless.

IMG_846933 months—December 30, 2009

You are totally a Momma’s boy right now and while I imagine it makes your Daddy jealous, I absolutely LOVE it. The snuggles. The kisses. The requests for me to sing you a lullaby each night I’m home from work and able to tuck you in bed. The way you always call out “Mommy” when you wake up from a nap or night’s sleep. Every one of those moments is a treasure to me because I know they won’t last forever. Which makes me incredibly sad.

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I’m pretty sure you are the sweetest and most charming little boy I have ever met. This morning when I finished getting dressed for work and was putting on my glasses you looked at me and said, “You’re Beautiful.” Thank you for that.

Last night as we walked hand-in-hand down the basement steps you were telling me how you are such a big boy. I agreed and said not to become a big boy too fast. Your answer to that was “Okay Mommy, I’ll stay tiny.”

Yes, a thousand times over yes, please stay tiny. At least a little bit longer.

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Love,
Mommy

Hands Down the Cutest Reindeer I’ve Seen all Year

You know Dasher and Dancer all those other reindeer, right? This guy would probably be Rudolph since he has a red nose.

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Cute, isn’t he? Want to make one or two or all 9 of them?

Supplies:
1 or 2 sheets of construction paper for the antlers (we used brown to be more authentic but any color would be cute)
1 sheet of construction paper for the head (I had a tan sheet laying around but you could use any color that contrasts well with the antlers), glue stick, googly eyes are optional (I just happened to have a pair on hand)
1 sheet of construction paper to mount the reindeer to (I imagine this is optional but I like the way it looks)
scissors
glue stick
marker for eyes and nose

  1. For the antlers, trace your each of your child’s hands on a single sheet of construction paper.
  2. Trace your child’s foot on the paper you are using for the head and cut it out.
  3. Glue the hands (antlers) to the head (foot) from the back. The toes of the traced foot will be the top of the head.
  4. Add eyes and a nose with the marker (or googly eyes if you have them!)
  5. Glue the reindeer to the larger sheet of construction paper if desired.

Tah-dah! Now you have a ridiculously cute reindeer and a nice memory of the size of your child’s hands and feet if you hang on to it after the holidays.