Monday, September 27, 2010

School Days.

Oh, today was a big day for my little one. His first official day of "school." We thought, for the both of us, two mornings of school a week would be a good thing. A few hours of socializing and instruction for the little one and a few hours for me to run errands, edit photographs from sessions, or yes, maybe even do a little cleaning.

We've been talking about about this day for the last few weeks, my Jacob and me. How he will go to school for a few hours, meet his teachers, make new friends, and learn many, many new things. We packed his backpack, we visited the school on a few occasions, and we always talked about how momma will come back and pick him up after lunch time.

And so, when I was getting ready to leave my very first little one on his very first day of school, and he started crying and crying and yelling momma, momma, it was hard to let go...

Very hard. I teared up. I questioned whether this was maybe not such a good idea. Maybe he is still too little to be away a few mornings a week. But as the sweet teachers scooped up my little one, I realized there was no turning back. I peered through the window on my way out and still saw a sad little baby screaming crying at the door for his momma. And it made me very, very sad.

A call to my own momma reassured me that it would get easier. That yes, she cried on these very same days years ago.

I waited an entire fifty minutes before calling in to check on him. I was connected to his teachers and could only imagine what they must be thinking.... dude, you just dropped off your kid and now you're calling us. But that I did. I expected a reassurance that he had settled down a few minutes after I left. Wrong momma. I heard Jacob crying in the background, still screaming momma, momma.

Has he been crying that way since I left?

Teacher: (pause) Well, it's been on and off.

Should I pick him up?

Teacher: (possibly thinking, you crazy nut, give it some time) I really think he will be okay.

And so I waited... I sent some emails, ran some errands, and tried to enjoy my "time off."

And finally, I couldn't wait anymore. At 11:45 (just a half an hour early), I returned.

And my baby was still crying. And as I scooped him up, and his little body gripped so tightly to my body and his head fell against my shoulder, and tears surfaced to my eyes, I tried very hard to listen as the teachers reassured me this would just take a few weeks.

Yes, we will return. And hopefully it will be a little easier to let go.

But for now? Now, we will be together....because nothing is better that seeing this little one happy.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's Really This Good.

I continue to get asked by people if I am "still liking staying at home with Jacob." Plain and simple, how could I not like it? I never felt that my position as a teacher would be my "forever job." That just wasn't me. I am now, more than ever, happy with where my life is. I am defined by my role as a mother, a wife to my husband, and am so grateful to have the opportunity to photograph other families in their own roles as well. And if you think I'm that picture-perfect stay-at-home mom that has the house clean and dinner on the table every night, you certainly don't know me that well.

For starters, I receive help with the cleaning by this little guy...

....who is so excited about his new cleaning set that he goes around the whole house sweeping and mopping and occasionally bopping the dogs in the head with the biggest smile on his face.

They say a picture says a million words... yes, he really is this excited about cleaning. He certainly did not get this from me.

And the "staying at home" part certainly is not us. We've got things to do and new places to explore.

We've got soccer to play, baby.

He is absolutely fearless on the soccer field, dribbling right along with the big kids and drilling shots in the goal.

Of course, always making time to take instructions from Daddy.

This is me. Momma to Jacob, wife to my Philip, and yes, that's right, St. Louis' 2010 Nickelodeon Parent's Pick Winner for Best Family Photographer (yay!).

Goalllllllllllll!!! There is so much to cheer about.

And at the end of the day, when Jacob must be swept off the field because the real game is beginning, when I sit down to this computer and reflect on the day and what has become of our life, I can't help but think that, yes, my friends, it really is this good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

That's My Dad.

My dad is currently spending a week in Haiti volunteering as one of two pharmacists (along with fifty doctors) at the hospital. He sends us email updates once or twice a day, telling us about the individuals that are so desperately in need of help and the horrible conditions that these people still live in. He is an incredibly selfless individual and wanted to do his small part to lend a hand. Channel 11 and Channel 2 News did a story on my dad this evening...

Click here to watch the Channel 11 Story...

Dad, we love you and think you are even more amazing for doing what you are doing and can't wait to see you soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hello, Again.

I've been scolded for not updating this little blog for over a week. Ask me where this entire last week went and I really couldn't tell you... Time flies by when we are so very busy. Thank goodness, I remembered to pull out my camera to remind myself of some very good things we have been up to.

So where have we been?

We've been enjoying the last few days of Justin's visit from San Diego...and while his visits are way too short, we know he will return to his Midwestern, St. Louis roots soon.

We've been awaiting my dad's trip to Haiti where he will be volunteering at the hospital. And Jacob has officially mastered saying Pops and runs around the house saying Yaya, Yaya, Yaya, waiting for me to say and and then Jacob yelling Pops!

We've been feeding the fish at Yaya and Pops' house. And my mom has trained my dad well as noted from the exhibit below. Yaya doesn't let Jacob run around outside on the rocks without holding his shirt so that she can catch him if he trips. Never mind the fact that the child has been walking since he was ten months... Oh, Mom.

We've been getting ready for a very special wedding of these two lovebirds. Invites are out and my dad is already tearing up in anticipation of walking his second and last daughter down the aisle.

We've been celebrating the New Year with children's services and watching the little ones be daring enough to head to the front to sing songs with the rest of the congregation, equipped with their own little shofars that my mom gave them all.

We've been enjoying our little men who look so grown up in their little ties and button downs.

We've been pointing to everything and anything... and learning many new words in the process.

We've been loving on our friends and not really loving the fevers, coughs, and colds having friends and play dates come with...

We've been quite busy, yes. Little Man is almost nineteen months old and while I think to myself, How can it ever get better than this, I know we've got even sweeter things to come.

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Kind of Weekend.

Most weekends are amazing. Lazy days of sleeping in (just kidding, although we did make it to 6:35 this morning!) and doing whatever we want together.

Now add in an extra day (Happy Labor Day!) and add in a surprise visit from our little brother.... and the weekend becomes just grand.

We headed over as soon as Justin landed (after a missed flight!), of course bringing Ellie, who Justin adores and threatens to steal every time he comes in. And while Ellie normally parks herself in the front seat for our drives, this afternoon she got nice and cozy on Jacob's lap for the ride.

Justin (or BOY as nicknamed to him many, many years ago)....

And after a few nights of guys-only bachelor party fun for our soon-to-be new brother-in-law Jonny, we settled back at home at our parent's house.

And Jacob was delighted to enjoy all of his big family in one place.

It's impossible to not smile when around this child. His laugh, his smile, is positively contagious. And the funny thing is, I remember many people saying that about my laugh when I was a little.

You see, the amazing thing about these weekends is that there's no true schedule, and certainly no rules. No strict bedtimes to follow and no place too dirty or too messy to play. We just let go....

We play with bubble guns that Yaya has found in her I-kept-all-of-the-toys-you-kids-played-with-when-you-were-younger-toy stash.

We wrestle with our puppy and only get mad when she really, really won't give it back to us.

We take rides on Pops' John Deere lawn mower. And not just rides on our own lawn... we head out all over the neighborhood.

And when we think why should the little ones be the only ones to have that much fun? we just hop right on ourselves to take our own ride.

We get crazy on the Pogo stick.

...and play catch with another ancient toy from our youth.

We continue to teach little ones how to ride a skateboard...

...occasionally forcing Mom to take a ride on it with Dad.

We give piggy back rides to little ones, moms, and even little puppies.

We teach the little boys about football...

.... and watch as Phil and Justin demonstrate some crazy soccer skills.

We take perfectly posed family pictures that we think might possibly be chosen for Awkward Family Photos.

Justin, when you move back to St. Louis, you can borrow her for a bit! (Now that's some incentive!)

And I love this picture because it's just the four of us siblings.... We are all close in age, with not more than two or three years between each of us. We have lived far, far away from each other and we have certainly lived many years under the same roof. We have bickered, physically fought (I was always the pincher when I was little!), and always made up. And while we each have our own special traits that make each of us our own individual, we are so very similar. We all enjoy a good bowl of Silky's ice cream, hate scary movies, and love, love being home with our family. There is something very special about the bond that siblings share and I am so very lucky to have these three people in my life.

And it seems that thinking about how special siblings are makes us start thinking about siblings for our own little one... Is Jacob ready for a little brother or sister?

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. [Clara Ortega]

Happy Labor Day to you!
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