Saturday, February 27, 2010

One of Those Days

It was one of those days. But let me make sure I state: I do not mean that in a bad way.

It was a beautiful day. A day of photos, driving with loud music, time alone, time having my parents to myself, a chat with one of my dearest friends, and a funny movie.

It was also a day of thinking. Music does that to me. It brings my emotions to the surface. Which, let's face it, we all need now and then.

So there is a lot to say tonight. And there aren't a lot of photos to show for it. Just like old times.

So I will start here:

Seven years ago this month, I took a job as a nanny. I almost didn't accept the job because it was caring for two girls, and being the tomboy that I was, little boys always felt more like my thing. I did not expect to get attached. I even tried not to. But there is no way that would have been possible. The two little girls skipped directly in to my heart, with their big eyes and short brown hair, and their best stuffed buddies: Shaker and Zoey.

Our story together is long, and I find myself lacking words to express it. I cared for them during a time that was crucial for all of us. They brought my heart to life. And even though I know they know I love them... I think it will be years before they realize how much they enriched my life.

We have experienced so much together. The joys of summer days, basking in the sun, swimming until exhaustion, tanning competitions, long walks in the woods, baking cookies, Jo Dee Messina, injuries, sickness, vacations, planning my wedding... falling in love with my children... and the horrible pain of being separated.

They are now 12 and 10, gorgeous and so mature compared to the babies I drove to preschool.

People told me, before I had children, that I couldn't possibly love them the way that I would my own. But I want to say, for the record, now that I have been a mother for nearly four years, that I did and do love them as much as my own babies.

I am blessed to spend one day a week with them even now, while starting my own business and mothering two babies... but I miss them every day that we are not together. And my heart breathes a sigh of relief on the day that all four of "my kids" can be in one spot.

I thank God I took that job. I thank God that he had that in store for me. What a blessing.

But like I said... there is and was so much to our story. I wonder if I will ever find the right way to tell it. But it amazes me, what a gift their entire family has been for me, and for my entire family.

I have been very blessed in my life with people. I have shared my life with people that, as hard as it can be sometimes, have learned to understand me. And embrace me. And love me.

I was so fortunate for this to have started with my parents and my brother. Then with amazing friends. Then with my husband.

Again. So thankful.

Today I talked with my friend Abby. Plenty of time flies by, and before we realize it, months have passed and we haven't even e-mailed. Or a year has gone by and we haven't looked in to eachother's eyes. But she never feels any further away. I have been gifted in my life with two moms, and Abby is my adopted mom.

Of course now, at almost 30, a mommy isn't something I need often; and just as it has with my birth mother, our relationship has become a close friendship. But she will always be someone I admire. I never doubt that Abby will be able to keep her head above water, gracefully, no matter what life brings. While I can be skiddish with people, Abby really looks at them. At who they are, what they are saying, and feeling... and does so in a way that makes them feel safe. She is one of the most loving human beings I have even known. And I hope that some day, I can show love as beautifully as she does.

I've thought about Ellis a lot today for some reason, too. I have words to write about her, and her birth, and what she has meant for me as a person and a mother. But I think I will wait for her birthday.

Over the past two months, it feels everywhere I turn, there is pain all around me. So many people I love are having difficulties. And not little ones. I have shed many tears this winter for my friends.

Watching their pain, and feeling it with them, makes me hyper-aware of what I have been given.

We all have our seasons. And every life has winters, springs, summers, and falls. We all have our turns... I have had winters and I am aware more will come.

I have been working very hard this year not to let this reality pull me under, as it has so many times in my life. I have had some very rough winters. Of course, some harder than others. But it's hard to let go of that, and the way the scars still hurt when they are pressed on. Some days it's hard to look at the gorgeous blue sky and just drink it in--feeling the warm sun on my face.

But we have to. We have to. I have to.

Life really is such a bumpy road. Sometimes it feels so good. The road is straight ahead, the convertible top is down, and you can feel the sun in your hair... your favorite song is on the radio and you are singing along at the top of your lungs with your best friend in the seat beside you.

And sometimes.

Sometimes it hurts so badly you wonder if you have the strength to pull in your next breath. And it's impressive to you when you do.

I have had an awful time learning to just embrace it all, as it is, for one big ride.

There are things that I cannot imagine experiencing. And some of them people I love are experiencing right now. And I cannot say what I would do if I were in their shoes--how I would feel or react. But I can say that I have been blown away by the faith and dignity these people have shown and expressed. They are changing the lives around them through their hardships, including mine.

I think and talk about inspiration a lot. But that kind of perseverance inspires me more than anything.

So today has been full of these thoughts. Of memories of pain and bearing the pain of others, then thankfulness for those I love, for laughing with my mom, for a good conversation with my dad, for a day off...

... and thankfulness for seasons. Good and bad.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Accidentally Strawberry Crepes

So I was going to make the kids pancakes this morning, but I wanted to add something special. I don't have a pancake shaper to make hearts, so I was going to make them pink. But I didn't want to use food coloring, so I ground up frozen strawberries... and after adding them the texture really turned out to be more like crepes.

So we had strawberry crepes for breakfast.

They were a hit.

Friday night we had movie night on mommy & daddy's bed.

I love seeing the kids cuddles up together, their feet tucked up close to their hands and all of them wrapped in our arms.

Very few things in life seem so beautiful to me. But then I think, it's what it makes me feel in my heart that's so beautiful. It's Asa noticing Ellis beside him and leaning over to kiss her.

I have yet to get a good photo of it. But I will continue to try.

We had popcorn and chocolate milk and the kids stayed up until they crashed.

It was wonderful.

Matt and I had a date day yesterday. We saw Avatar and ate the most expensive dinner of our lives. It was glorious. Thank you, gift certificate.

More tomorrow...

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I love the winter. I love Christmas and the candles, snow falling and fires.

But as it does with most people, it wears me down.

I get tired. I get cabin fever. I miss warm breezes and I miss the sun.

I miss green in my photographs.

I miss walks.

But yesterday I took my three year old sledding at 8:30 in the morning. And we had a load of fun. And for a second I thought, "I'm going to miss this when it's seventy five out here."

My daughter watched. She won't sled. It's to "skeery." She got out the umbrella so she could stand under the falling snow. She hid under it with her baby; and as she does so many times every day of the year, she made me smile and grab my camera.

Awhile after, we went to visit my in laws. They had a snow day and made us lunch. On the way there, Asa told my that I had some really crazy silly grandparents, since they never wanted to play with me the way his grandpas love to play with him. My children have been so blessed with family and extended family that embrace them and are committed to teaching them and loving them.

Today we haven't taken any photos. But I did sort through the outgrown kids' clothes.

We had a nice romp at Chik-Fil-A, a nice nap, an exhausting workout, and then cuddles on my bed.

Definitely no complaints here. Just a cozy winter day with my littles.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Family Blog

I have been stewing over blogging.

I don't like photography business blogs. It's not my style. But I love to write. I need to write.

I have been blogging for almost five years and I love to do it. It is such a wonderful way to keep everyone updated, and to share photos of my children and the goings-on in Jonesville.

So I have finally come to the decision to have a personal blog where of course I will share photography. But this is a place for my thoughts, a place to relax, and a place to share the photos that make my heart sing. This is not a place to be business minded, to advertise, to give sneak peaks.

This is a place to be me. And a business person, I am not.

A mommy, however... I am.

And it looks like some day, Ellis is going to make a great one too.

Ellis is tired today. She is cuddly, and wants to be held. The kids are watching Dora right now, and she has tucked herself under my covers and keeps rubbing her eyes.

Asa is in a great mood, because we went sledding this morning. I think I exhausted the stink out of him before nine in the morning. So he was thankful to sit down with a snack as well.

We went sledding together, straight down our driveway, down in to the unplowed street--still covered in 8 inches of snow. I hadn't been sledding in years and if we all hadn't gotten so cold, we would have stayed out much longer.

Now I am sitting alone in my livingroom, with classical music serenading me from the ballet workout I just haven't turned off yet. The fire is crackling, and the kids are quiet.

So far, I am forcasting a good day.