Friday, May 28, 2010

Summer Field Trip #2

Our second "field trip of the summer was to the lake. A good friend of ours has a cabin on Lake Allatoona (I have NO idea how to spell this) and invited a bunch of us from our Bible study group over for the day. The girls had an absolute blast. It was nice for me too. Our family is finally at a point where I don't have to be on top of them, watching over them so closely anymore. I can actually sit down and have a conversation or heaven forbid, read a book! Our youngest is almost 3 and does very well in the water with arm floaties and the other 2 can swim on their own. Every time I have the slightest urge to procreate once more, I think of all the fun things we can do now that would not be so fun with a baby in the mix. Don't get me wrong, I love babies. They are so cute and tiny and they can't talk back yet! But they are a lot of work! Especially in the sun. In my opinion, hot sun and babies just don't mix. In some cases, outdoors and babies don't mix no matter what the weather is like. One of our larger "field trips" we have planned for the summer is a camping trip. Camping is something I would never do with a baby, have tried with a toddler and will never do again with a kid under 2.

Anyway, after an actual 5 hours of swimming, climbing and then rolling down the huge sand pile (that was to be spread around the beach area at some point), playing in the sand and running from the boys, I said it was time to go only to hear an emphatic chorus of "NOOOO!" They were not ready to leave. Too bad, so sad. I'm in charge. So we left. It was really a lot of fun though. Thanks, M for inviting us!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summer Field Trips

This is the first official week of summer vacation. Last Friday was Kristin's last day of school. We don't really have any big plans for summer this year so I have planned a few little "field trips." Today we went hiking down by the river. Every time I spend time by the river, I am reminded of what a pretty area we really do live in. We had never hiked from this particular part before. It was beautiful and we will definitely be returning. The girls did great. We hiked for almost an hour which is a long time for a 2 year old who I refused to carry. Mind you, that did include numerous stops to pick a plant, pick up a big stick or rock, climb a rock, to gawk at a squirrel (since we don't have exotic animals like that in our own backyard. *hint of sarcasm in voice.*) or to stop for a mom insisted photo op. They had fun though and weren't ready to turn back when I thought it was time. Their 7, 5 and 2 year old minds were not able to compute with any relation to the future that although they weren't tired now, we still had the hike back. They were tired by the end. It was still a good time though. A successful field trip if I do say so myself. I've told them we'll go back and hike further along the river and maybe wade in a little when we are better prepared (i.e. snacks, drinks, a towel for drying off) and when daddy can join us.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Old Pictures

I shot a wedding last weekend for the first time in about a year. I used to only do weddings but have scaled back that part of my business and now do mostly portraits. Anyway, I managed to use up one 4GB memory card a little more than 1/2 way through the wedding and so had to move on to my spare. 2 days later when I finally decided to download all the pictures on my computer (after a wedding I rarely can look at the pictures right away. I need time to decompress from the wedding it's self) I realized that it had been about a year and a 1/2 since I used that memory card. There were old pictures from 2 Christmas's ago of the kids making Christmas cookies still on the card. I thought they were cute and so I decided to share them with you. Happy Christmas!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

cute kid

I need to start posting more.

Our 3rd child, Elliott, has always been our biggest. I'm not sure how it happened or where she came from but she has always been in the high 90s percentile-wise for her weight and height. Our other 2 were always in the 20s for their weight. She's now 2, will be 3 in June and is a hefty kid. I don't know why she's so big. She really doesn't eat that much and she's very active. I will say her weight and growth spurts have leveled off a lot in the last year. She's not fat, just big for 2. It's kind of funny to watch the shock on people's faces when they ask me how old she is and I say 2.
Anyway, that being said.... She's not the first kid I'm offering to carry anywhere. She weighs at least 35 lbls. She's heavy! So yesterday as we were walking out of a store, she runs in front of me trying to get me to carry her. Our car was not too far away, so I did. As I did so I asked, "why do you want me to hold you? Our car is really close." To which she responds, without missing a beat and with gusto, "Because I love you!!"
What could I do. Thank goodness she's too young to realize that's all she has to say every time and I'll carry her anywhere she wants to go.
I love you too, Elliott!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


We just returned from a family vacation to Disney World. Disney World is sometimes referred to as "the happiest place on earth." I don't know about giving it the definitive term, the happiest ,but it is a pretty darn happy place. We had a wonderful time. It really was a little magical. No one does entertainment like Disney World. It's not just the rides or the neat hotels or the characters, it's the whole Disney experience. It's also the little touches that you only find at Disney, like how, every time we returned to our room after a long day at the parks, someone had assisted the girls dolls in getting into some mischief. The first day, Kristin and Grace's American Girl Dolls, along with Kristin's cat, Chi Chi, were propped up watching T.V., the Disney channel of course. Chi Chi was even holding the remote, she obviously being the instigator of the mischief. The second day, they were all propped up reading a map to the Magic Kingdom. The girls thought this was the wildest thing ever! Each time we returned to our room, they were filled with anticipation to see what the dolls had gotten in to this time. Or how because it was Grace's birthday during our trip, they gave her a button that said "it's my birthday" with her name on it so all week long, cast members (that's what they call the employees of WDW) would call Grace by name and say Happy Birthday. It really made her feel special. Or how when you arrive or as the bus is bringing you back to your hotel from a long day at the parks, they say, "welcome home." Or just how clean the place is!

I was very impressed with how well our kids did on such a busy vacation. Our kids are the kind that need their sleep and if deprived of sleep, it becomes painfully obvious to everyone around. Our trip was full of long, busy (and hot) days. Lots of stimulation. Lots of stuff to see and do. Lots of walking around. We did have a stroller for the younger 2, however, they still did a lot of walking on their own, even Elliott who is only 2. They did great though. Don't get me wrong, the trip was not without a few meltdowns here and there. Actually though, we've experienced worse meltdowns in our own living room after a full nights rest. Sleep did come quickly to everyone though, once we actually did get in bed. Then we were up bright and early the next morning, ready to do it all over again. The only time they really complained was when we said they couldn't have chicken nuggets for the 6th meal in a row or when we couldn't find a slushy (the snack of choice given the 90+ degree weather) quickly enough.

I think we all got a lot of exercise. After our first day at the Magic Kingdom, the next morning Paul said he felt like he'd been hit by a mac truck. Not being used to that level of all day activity, we were pretty sore. It was a good sore though. I was a little bummed at the quality of the pictures I took. Being a professional photographer, pictures of our family and our time together are important to me. Equally important is the quality of these pictures. I opted for ease rather than quality this time and so only carried our little point and shoot camera as opposed to my rather weighty, professional, SLR. I am a little ashamed to admit that I don't know how to work that little thing. I am used to my SLR. I know how to take great pics with it. Anyway, I did get some good pics, just not fantastic ones. I'm hoping I'm the only one who cares.

Disney is a special place for me. Not only because we had a really fun vacation there or because it has brought joy to my children but because I practically grew up there. My family moved to FL when I was 8 years old. The next year, we bought season passes to Disney World. That gets you into all the parks (I think there were only 2 at that time) as often as you want during certain months of the year. A few years after that, we upgraded to annual passes. That allows you to get into all the parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) as often as you want all year long. So from the time I was probably 9 until I was no longer a FL resident (about 22 I think), my family had season or annual passes to Disney. That is what we did for our family vacations for the most part. That's what we did for family time. We probably went at least twice a month. No, we didn't get tired of it. We NEVER stayed all day. We'd go late in the afternoon, ride a couple of things, maybe see a show, eat some dinner and then come home. If it was too hot or too crowded, we didn't even stay that long. If we didn't get to do something we wanted to, it was ok because we knew we could come back again the next weekend.

I have very fond memories of Disney. Even though they are constantly changing and updating the rides and attractions, everything is so familiar to me there. The smells, the sounds of people, the background music they play. I have a good feeling when I'm there. It actually meant something to me when they said "welcome home." I do feel at home there. It was part of my home as a kid.

My husband says he had a good time and that it was hard for him to leave but I don't think it could mean to him what it does to me. It was and always will be very special for me to bring my kids into this part of my life and to see them love it as much as I did/do. We've been with Kristin and even Grace before but this was the first time that I think they could really start to appreciate it. They are at a fun age to go. Still young enough to believe in the magic and wonder of it all (they actually thought for a bit that maybe Mickey or Cinderella had come to our room to arrange their dolls while we were gone and even ventured a thought that maybe, just maybe their dolls could be like the ones in Toy Story and come to life while we were away) but old enough to get real excited about it and enjoy it. Our kids are young enough now, that every time from here on that we visit Disney will be different. They'll be ready for bigger, faster rides. One day, they'll be old and mature enough to enjoy and appreciate some shows that although I really like, are not really entertaining to a 5 year old.

This is just the beginning. For now, since we are not Florida residents (and therefore don't have annual passes), it'll be another year or 2 before we return, but we will return. I've already started mentally planning the next trip. I have no doubt that it'll be just as special and magical as this one.