Archive for Jan 2010

The hills in our neighborhood may not be really high…

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 but they sure are fast!















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 And they are REALLY fun!
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 And they are absolutely filled with kids.















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And are definitely filled with laughter. 
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I don’t think anyone could tell you how many times each kid went down and then climbed back up the hill. 
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Sometimes there were unexpected endings (aka crashes) into a garage… 
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And not everyone has full winter gear, since it is generally not needed.
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They rode down the hill in every combination you can imagine… 
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The only really consistant thing was the laughing! 
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We did figure out that these plastic toboggans were the fastest.
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But we didn’t have very many, so the boys came up with their own solution–just pile on, and hang on tight!
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Love those little pink cheeks! And yes, she does own a hat, but it was really rather warm (relatively speaking, of course). 
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And eventually the grown-up folk just couldn’t resist giving the slopes a slide too! 

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January 30, 2010 Those Eyes

They still get me every single time. What a lucky girl am I to wake up to those eyes every morning.

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January 30, 2010 Snow Day

The threat of snow does not come often around us, and when it does, it generally isn’t more than an inch. But today? We got 5, count ‘em, FIVE inches of snow! The kids are so excited to get out and play. The plans for snowballs and snow forts, and sledding are being made.

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There won’t be any rocking on the porch today…
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Not many people will venture out to go to work today, and of course the schools are closed! There really isn’t much in the way of snow removal around here because it typically just melts within 24 hours.  
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Someone couldn’t resist smacking their hand into my pretty snowy table…
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It was fairly windy last night before the snow came in, and our little plastic adirondack chairs got blown over. The kids can’t wait to be the first down the slide! 
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And based upon our forecast? This snow isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The rest of the week is going to be C. O. L. D… 

January 30, 2010 Miss Bella

My mom was very allergic to cats when I was growing up (fortunately this has improved over the years). And my dad did not like cats when I was growing up (still doesn’t, for that matter). So I didn’t really know how to love a cat.

Kevin grew up with cats in his home. And in his aunt’s homes. And at his grandparent’s farms. And in his dad’s home. And he loves kitties. A lot.

So soon after we became an official couple, we adopted two little kittens who had been born on his grandma’s farm. Oreo and Airy soon worked their kitty magic and I became smitten. And eventually they broke our hearts when they crossed the rainbow bridge to kitty heaven.

It took some time until we were ready to invite a new kitten into our home, and into our hearts, but last year we took the plunge. On Valentine’s Day. We adopted Midnight (sweet, mushy, lovable boy) and Bella (tiny, skittish, but lovable on her terms little girl).

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And it turns out that Miss Bella is my kitty. She looooves me. I am the one she chooses to sit with, and it is my lap she curls into (especially when it is quiet around the house because the kids are at school or in bed). And with a face like that, she has me thoroughly wrapped around her tiny paw.

January 24, 2010 Finding a Smile

I can not imagine what a challenge it must be for a somewhat shy child to have a professional photographer for a parent. I remember that I absolutely hated having my picture taken from the time that I was about nine years old. And that it didn’t really improve until my braces finally came off after I turned sixteen.

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When cameras were pointed in my direction, I’d hide behind my hands, hide behind furniture, quickly turn my back, or make a goofy face. I’m fairly certain that I drove my parents (and others) crazy with my unwillingness to be photographed. And now, unfortunately, there are very few good pictures of me at that age.Of course, that was in the days of film. When it cost money to develop a roll of film, and you even had to pay for the bad ones!

Ryan isn’t much different than I was at that age. He’ll even hide behind a handful of pine needles!

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Sometimes he hides behind his longish hair, and sometimes its behind his “too cool” attitude.
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Perhaps if there had been digital cameras, there would have been more decent pictures of me (although with that l-o-n-g awkward phase I went through, this is still questionable!). I’ve found that at some point, after enough clicking, even Ryan’s guard comes down and I begin to see his true, handsome self shining through.

January 21, 2010 Little Things

Last year I started a photography project where I took a picture a day for an entire year. There were so many days in the beginning when I’d be at a loss what to photograph–there wasn’t anything going on that day! But as the days passed, my eyes were opened to the true purpose of this type of endeavor – kind of like those gratitude journals – to notice those little things that make up our lives, those details that we perhaps appreciate on some level, but don’t really pay much attention to.

Today as I was bringing the kids back from the bus stop my eyes were drawn to the little wooded area next to our driveway. The sun was shining on the nandina and making those red berries look like they were exploding with color. I could say it took my breath away, but that would be a little trite and over-exagerated. But they were really pretty, so I went in and picked my camera off the kitchen counter (where it tends to live) and took the time to capture them so that I could always remember those little jewels.

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January 20, 2010 Carolina Winters

There really is nothing like a gorgeous, Carolina winter day. Not every day can fall into this category, but they pop up with amazing regularity throughout this traditionally cold season.

They tend to start off like a typical winter day: brisk, chilly, warm coats required. But during the course of the morning they begin to warm. And by the time the kids get off the bus around 2:30, the coats have been crammed into the recesses of their backpacks.

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These are the kinds of days where the option of playing indoors isn’t even considered.
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These are the kinds of days when your neighborhood friends come over as soon as they’ve finished their homework and you go exploring together. 
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These are the kinds of days where you just can’t stop smiling. 
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These are the kinds of days where you enjoy that golden sun for as long as it shines.
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These are the days where you can’t wait to get more sticks and rocks and bricks to work on that fort that you’ve been building with your buddies in the woods.
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These are the days that you will remember, and look back on fondly when the true chill of the season returns. And these are the days that will make you smile again as you look back on them once you are grown. 

I absolutely love living in North Carolina, except for how little I get to see my parents and my sister and her family. We made a special trip to visit over this weekend to celebrate my niece’s first birthday, and it was just ONEderful!

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My girls got to play with my older niece, who has developed a fondness for doing art projects. My sister loves this new hobby too, as it is one of the rare times that Ally will sit still and quiet for any length of time…


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The party theme revolved around winter and Beth had decorated the house with paper snowflakes she and Ally had made over the previous week. She had also found some crafts for the older children to make that had a winter/snow theme. Little did any of us realize how appropriate this would be given the two HUGE blizzards that hit the area where they live in the upcoming months.
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Katy enjoyed her snuggle (and tickle) time with Grandad. It is such a wonderful thing to watch the relationship grow between my children and my parents. It fills my heart with love and adds a whole new dimension to my relationship with them. They all enjoy each other so much.
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Gram especially enjoys the way that the youngest children in our little crew need her, and we all appreciate the break from some of those day-to-day tasks.
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The house was filled with laughter as we played some of the games that we had received as Christmas gifts this year. ‘A to Z’ is one of our particular favorites, as is ‘Apples to Apples.’ There is nothing like being away from home so that time can be spent enjoying these simple moments of being connected. Focusing on the things that matter in our lives, as opposed to the chores that seem to steal our attention so often.
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Mandy so enjoyed her new bell toy! She had all of us just beaming as she would carefully press the button on top of each bell.
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Each time the bell would make a sound, she would just stop, as if she weren’t quite sure where the noise came from.
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Katy is such a care-taker, and has been for as long as I can remember. She loves to help other children. Throughout pre-school, she would take it upon herself to make sure that Livie was doing okay, to the point that she would worry about Livie excessively. Splitting them into different classes in Kindergarten was the best decision we made for both of them – Livie has had to learn to fend for herself, and Katy can concentrate on just herself. Although any time we are around younger children, Katy’s little mommy instincts kick right in. She is going to be an amazing mama someday.
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Of course I had to take the opportunity to attempt a few “formal” pictures with Beth and Mandy. After all, you only get to turn one once! And it is such a special moment for a mother since our memory of our child’s arrival in our world is still so fresh.
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In keeping with the winter theme of the party, Beth made amazing cupcakes decorated with silver sprinkles and sparkly snowflakes. While they look beautiful, the picture doesn’t begin to describe just how wonderful they tasted! The cupcakes themselves were fabulously moist (especially the chocolate ones, although I may be a little partial since chocolate is my most favorite flavor). But then she frosted them with a swiss meringue buttercream frosting recipe that was pure heaven in your mouth. Perhaps it had something to do with the 2 POUNDS of butter?
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I would love to know what the birthday child is thinking when everyone sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to them at their first party? Obviously they’ve never experienced this before: being the focus of attention while lots of people sing to them all at the same time. It must be a bit overwhelming! I know that it was also quite an emotional experience for me at each of my children’s first birthdays.
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It is quite easy to figure out what the birthday girl is thinking when she gets her very first ever taste of cake! I love the way that Beth is watching her–Beth’s absolute adoration just fills my heart to the brim.
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You don’t have to be the birthday girl to enjoy a cupcake…
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Happy Birthday, beautiful girl. May this be the first of many more wonderful celebrations!