Just as they are

 

canvas print family photo

I cherish this photo. The photo session that produced it was a total freaking gong show but I barely remember that when I look at this picture. What I see is Connor’s laugh and his sense of humour in this moment that actually captured what he looks like when he thinks something is funny (rather than his goofy photo face). And I see the absolute joy that is Ethan.

I was talking to a colleague and friend at work a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned that when her kids go to school on picture day she lets them go however they are – messy hair, weird clothes, the whole deal. And if the proofs come back and they have goofy expressions she buys them up, figuring that she’ll have a record of just who her kids were at the time.

I’m not sure I have quite embraced that approach. If we had purchased the proofs from this session that showed just who my kids were as demonstrated by their behaviour at the time, we’d have photos with Connor’s sour expression indicating just how much he didn’t want to be acting nice for the camera and Ethan with a soother in his mouth, probably crying after we tried to remove it for a picture. We’d probably have a photo of Connor hitting me and body-slamming Ethan, and one of Rich sitting with Connor to try to calm him down. We’d have one of me looking frustrated and possibly trying not to cry.

Needless to say, the family photo sessions we have done were nightmares. We did one resulting in the photos above and an earlier one when Ethan was six weeks old, and I remember them both as horrible, barely-worth-it experiences (except for the part where newborn Ethan pooped on Rich). But after both sessions we looked at the proofs (and I mostly looked past how terribly unphotogenic I am) and I saw my kids just as they were at that time. Not the cranky, goofy sides of them but the happy, full-of-joy sides of them and how they look like Rich and sort of like me, and I was glad to have them.

For a while now I’ve wanted a canvas print, so I chose this photo and got one made and hung it on the wall opposite the foot of our bed. Now those joyful faces, already looking younger than they do now, smile back at me every night and, nightmare or not, that’s all I ever really wanted out of those photo sessions anyway.

 

 Disclosure: Canvas Factory gifted me this print but my love for it is my own.

Quiet at the Car Wash

Sometimes moments of quiet appear in the oddest places.

car wash entrance

I’d been staring at my horribly dirty car for a few weeks, feeling like finding the time to get it washed was one more thing I couldn’t fit in. Maybe even the one thing that would put me over the top from managing to it’s-all-too-much.

You know how sometimes it’s the silly, stupid, small things that do that?

I decided not to let my dirty car do that.

Last weekend I had a window of time on Sunday afternoon. I had some other errands to do that would take me in the neighbourhood of the car wash and decided I’d run through while I was out. But instead of just tacking it on to the end of a series of errands I decided to use it to my advantage.

I took a magazine with me, turned off the radio, and sat in the quiet. I waited in line at a time when I would normally have felt rushed and I just…sat.

Self-care at the car wash. Who knew?

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Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

This One Doesn’t Eat Books

You know that Friends episode where Monica fills in for a food critic and gives the restaurant a scathing review? Then when the owner challenges her description of the food she backs up her opinion with this line:

“I couldn’t eat it. I have five friends who couldn’t eat it. And one of them eats books.” 

I think of that line every time I’m reading to Ethan and I pick up one of the books I read to Connor when he was a baby. They’re all missing pieces around the edges, particularly at the corners, and in some cases sections of the covers are completely eaten away. Yes, eaten away.

I could barely get through a book with Connor when he was small. Before he was even six months old he had devoured some of the classics – Goodnight Moon, The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (He always has been quite literal, if not literary.)

These days Connor loves stories at bedtime, and occasionally at other times too. But he has never been a kid who will sit quietly and look at books. One night when he was about 3 1/2 we realized he was still awake after bedtime. We peeked in his room and he had taken most of the books off his bookshelf and had made tents with them – open and upside down, each one formed an inverse V on his bed. He had systematically lined them up, row upon row of books turned into a tent city, completely covering his double bed. It was hilarious and perfect and so very him.

Ethan, on the other hand, loves to read. He will sit and flip through books for ages. He’s mostly quite gentle, and the other night when I saw him reading some paperback Christmas stories I’ve had since I was little I wasn’t terribly worried that he would tear them apart. He just flipped through, looking at all the pictures in one book before putting it down and picking up the next.

I love that he already has a love of reading. And I love that he doesn’t eat books.

Ethan-books

 

At least not yet.

 

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Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

 

A Thousand Years

Ethan ready for sledding

You know how sometimes you look at a picture of your child and your heart does that thing where it tries to burst out of your chest? This photo does that for me.

I’m not sure what it is—maybe it’s that he looks like a Gerber baby in this photo or perhaps because he was so willing to let us put him in his new sled without knowing quite what it was all about—but I look at this photo and I think, “My god I love this kid.”

This morning Ethan sat with me while I had a late breakfast (three cheers for weekend sleep-ins) and we sang.

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I often sang this song to him while we danced around the living room when he was really small because I like it and it made him smile. I had forgotten about it until I heard it in a mall yesterday and I thought it was time we listened to it again.

“And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I looked at him while we sang and thought, How could I have ever thought you’d never come to me? I’m just still so very grateful for him – my small, blond Gerber baby with the big laugh. I’ve loved him for so long.

(And PS: He loved the sled.)

 

I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. Link up below!

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Explore: Summer in Pictures (Vol. 5)

We had rain last week, cool after what seems like endless hot summer days. The water park in our community closed has closed. Fall is here.

But, oh, the summer was good.

Through no actual intent or forethought on my part, I planned my maternity leave perfectly. Going back to work in October (one more week! Already! How can that be?) is a beautiful thing. I had the summer to explore, play, and travel with my family. I think we made the most of it, and now I’ve had September to help with the transition to Kindergarten.

(And speaking of exploring, I’ve given up my Yummy Mummy Club blog. I just decided it’s time to focus elsewhere.)

In any case, I realized it’s been a while since my last one-word update and what I’ve been exploring, so this is a bit of a photo dump to share some parts of our summer.

We did a few different trips over the last few months.

rocky-mountain-lake

We went to the mountains. We looked way up at them, and we looked down at the world from their peaks.

Jasper-mountain

Finally, after much anticipation, we went to San Diego. We dipped our toes in the water.

san-diego-ocean

We played in the sand. (This is his “beach face.”)

Connor-beach-Coronado

Oh yes, we went there.

Legoland

And it was a hit.

Lego-car

San Diego is such a beautiful place.

lifeguard-station

One night after Ethan was asleep Connor and I went for a walk along the boardwalk. Well, I walked. He wanted to go in the stroller, which he very much does not fit in anymore, but we managed to get him all tucked in there. He hunched beneath the canopy, so quiet I hardly knew he was there. We walked, all along the boardwalk and out to the end of the pier. We got ice cream. It was lovely. The perfect evening.

san-diego-pier-sunset

Below is the view from our room on our last night. I wasn’t awake nearly late enough to fully appreciate it. (I love marinas.)

Yes, San Diego was great. (We even got to visit Tonya.)

san-diego-marina

We also visited our best friends.

best-buds

And got in touch with dinosaurs.

dinosaur-hand

We went Stampeding.

stampede-barrel-race

And even dressed the part.

stampede-with-Ethan

We camped. (This is his “hi!” face.)

Ethan-camping

And we went to farmers’ markets.

Fruit1

Lots of ‘em.

fruit2

Yes, it was good.

baby-sunglasses

How was your summer?

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