Pinkle Toes Reunion – Charleston, SC

This post is part of a blog circle so be sure to scroll all the way down to the bottom to see the whole thing!

When I attended my Pinkle Toes Workshop last summer I left with the sense that I’d learned a lot, of course, but that I’d also found my people – the people I’d been seeking my whole adult life who were like me.  I felt like we instantly connected and I’d finally found the place where I belonged.  So when this year’s Pinkle Toes Reunion was planned I took a deep breath and made a huge leap.  I flew standby across to the country to a place I’ve never been to take a trip with people I’ve never met.

And it was so worth it.

I was in Charleston, SC for three days.  We packed those three days to the gills with activities.  We did lots of beach, a carriage tour of the city, a culinary tour, ate at lots of amazing (AMAZING) restaurants, saw a plantation, stopped often to take too many pictures – and generally walked our feet off.

Our food tour: you can see our guide in the mirror behind Michele.

But the thing that stands out for me, that we did the most was laugh.  I haven’t laughed so hard since I was a little girl, alone with my sister.  We laughed so hard and so long I thought I was going to pee my pants (TMI?  No?  Good).  I laughed so hard I cried.  It was so. cathartic.  I cannot tell you how healing it is, how wonderful it is to find a tribe of women with whom I connect and just laugh. It helps that these girls are seriously funny.

Photographically and inspirationally there were two highlights of the trip for me.  The first day we were there we met a gorgeous pregnant mama on the beach with her family.  Michele and Becky asked her if she’d be willing to come back for a maternity shoot at sunset (!!!!) and she came (!!!) and it was amazing!  Gorgeous mama, gorgeous light….and just a lot of fun do be doing my favorite thing on earth (photography, just in case there was some misunderstanding there) with a bunch of other people who love the same thing.

See what I mean!?

These pull pack shots that show all of us photographing her are my favorite!







We’re like the paparazzi!  Thank goodness Mama rolled with our craziness with grace!




The next highlight was getting up with the birds to drive to Folly Beach and watch the sun rise.  Getting up before dawn is one of those things I always mean to do but never actually make it around to actually doing.   Reminder to self:  it’s worth it.  Always.




There were dolphins swimming in front of us while the sun rose.  Magic.  I’m telling you.  Pure. Magic.



This morning reminded me of the Cheryl Strayed quote now in the movie “Wild” – “there is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it – you can choose to put yourself in the way of beauty.”

I’m glad I chose to be there for sunrise.  But before that I’m glad I chose to get to Charleston so I could meet these people and be there for that sunrise!

I took a trip to a gorgeous locale with a group of truly world-class photographers.  We’ve created a blog circle to share our pictures and experiences.  It’s going to be awesome so get going to Katie Bork, Katie Bork Photography: Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach Family Photographer to see what she shared.

Posted in Life, Photography, Travel

The season in which we actually leave the house

So we actually do leave the house in other seasons, but I love the way soccer season forces us to hang out outdoors for a certain number of hours a week, right when the light is gorgeous. 2015-04-16_0002.jpg
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Monkey see, monkey do:
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Posted in Kids, Life

Spring break 2015

All winter I look forward to Spring Break, adamantly, passionately intending to have ALL THE ADVENTURE. Then, without fail, every spring break we are sick, tired or the weather is bad. This spring break we chose sick and tired so our EPIC ADVENTURE was a lot lower key than I’d hoped. It was still pretty fun all the same. Let’s see…

…we rode in our “car-car” with our umbrella. So that was fun.

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Then Beckett went to a birthday party, Dad went to work and the rest of us went to the thrift store. I had just banged my shin on a coffee table (ah, I see now why they got rid of it) AND broken a nail off on a display case when Quinn found a trombone. At the moment he asked for it I was completely, completely overwhelmed and said no. He asked to call Dad. Moments later I hear him say “Dad, this is Quinn and mom is completely breaking my heart.”

We left the thrift store with a trombone.

And Quinn can actually play it! He’s in love.

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Another day we went to the open space near our house to play:

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(Beckett got stuck in a tree, which was hilarious to him until it wasn’t.)

One day we went to visit my sister and nephews and got to walk my oldest nephew to school. I thought it was awesome that my nephew C dressed like a bee to match his bee helmet! 2015-04-16_0008.jpg

Then we went to IKEA and sat on all the furniture.
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(Uh, well…that’s one way to get him to look in the mirror)
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Too much information, but my kids love to sing “IKEA, rhymes with diarrhea!” which, on that day it did. The downside to IKEA is that their bathrooms are really far away.  And I spend too much money there. But we sure had fun!

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We made our obligatory annual trip to Chuck E Cheese. I did’t die. We also didn’t eat any food and we went when it was quiet. Perhaps there’s a correlation. 2015-04-16_0013.jpg

Kieran had a birthday and fulfilled his lifelong dream of eating Panda Express for dinner: 2015-04-16_0014.jpg
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And we all shared a cold, which was very…communal of us!

So maybe it wasn’t the EPIC adventure I’d planned, but it was the best kind of adventure in the end.  The kind where we get to be together.

Posted in Kids, Life

Twelve

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As I looking through the pictures from Simon’s birth day I was filled all the emotions of that day again. I’ve written about it many times before – about how my firstborn was nothing at all what I expected but so much more than I could have possibly dreamed. How he came barreling into the world and demanded that it work on his terms and how that caused me to stretch in grow in ways I could never have imagined. How he was such a challenging baby. I’m not sure how it happened that twelve years have passed since that day when this piece of starlight fell in my lap and made me a mother.

And yet it has. I sit here on my firstborn’s twelfth birthday and marvel at the wonder that is Simon. He’s grown into such a sensitive, compassionate empathetic person. He is sharp and observant and thinks critically about everything.  He still wants the world to operate on his terms, but he cries about it a lot less than he used to when he was first born. Thank goodness for that.

I
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Happy birthday to my gorgeous first born!

 

(and I’m not sure how it is you’re 12 because I’m pretty sure I was just 12 myself a few minutes ago)

Posted in Kids, Life

Ft. Collins Museum of Discovery

I’d been meaning to take the kids to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery for at least a year but I kept putting it off because I wasn’t quite sure if the museum was good, and Ft. Collins seemed to far away.  Then we had a random day off school and Google Maps said the museum was only an hour away (!!) so we went for it.  And boy are we glad we did!  There was SO MUCH to do there.  We played and played and played – and spent most of the day there – and still didn’t do it all!  What an awesome, awesome museum!  Every single one of us had a blast, from the four year old to the almost twelve year old who is eternally bored by everything to ME.

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To some extent the FCMOD is like the Explortatorium in San Francisco on a smaller scale with local history added in.  Everything is hands on.  There is so much to DO and it’s set up so most of the activities have many ways in which to do them.  It gives people (kids and adults alike) a myriad of ways to approach learning.

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The music section is the most extensive area with a myriad of instruments from familiar to novel to ones you make yourself.  My favorite part?  Hearing music through my teeth.

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My kids were particularly enthralled with the forest, which was completely interactive.

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The four year old tells me daily that he’s spending his birthday there….and I can’t wait because I’m dying to go back and play some more!  As I said, we spent all day and still missed a huge chunk – and I want to do all the fun things we did experience again!

Posted in Life, Photography

SEVEN

You know how when you meet a baby you think “huh. Looks like a baby to me,” but then you look back and see THAT’S MY KID!? This picture is so Kieran. I didn’t know it at this moment – mere moments after I met him – but that was Kieran. God, I love this kid.
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When I was pregnant with Simon my sister and I did that test where you use a pencil, thread and your wedding ring over your belly to predict your future fecundity. It told me I’d have four kids – a boy, a boy, a girl and a boy. So I knew Simon was a boy (and he was) and I knew Quinn was a boy (and he was) and I knew Kieran was a girl. I just knew it. I rehearsed in my mind the days leading up to my ultrasound the moment the tech would say “it’s a girl!” and the angels would sing and my life would be complete because I’d have the daughter I always dreamed of. When we learned he was a boy I’ll admit that I few tears squeezed out before I pulled myself together. Then I went to Kohls the next day with Simon and Quinn and the nice lady there said “my, you have your hands full! Are you getting your girl?” and when I told her it was another boy she said “oh….I’m sorry,” and I abandonded my shopping and ran back to my car and sobbed my heart out. I had a rough few months. I felt pretty sorry for myself.

Then Kieran was born. The second I met him I knew: it was Kieran. It was Kieran all along. I was so amazingly silly to think I wanted a daughter. Kieran was the only baby I was meant to have that day. He was the one. No need to fret at all. I had my Kieran and he was meant to be. He was born in our livingroom with brothers and grandparents and an aunt right there, waiting to welcome him. There was no transition at all – he was here and we were all a family and Kieran was the missing link we never knew was missing.

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I wish I could explain just how Kieran this all was. It’s the most Kieran thing on earth for him to be totally deadpan, tricking us and watching us fall for it and then to appear, full of life, laughing at us: Kieran.

I also wish I could explain what an amazing kid he’s become. The way he insisted on calling my aunt to wish her a happy birthday because he felt bonded to her in ways I never fathomed. Or the way he insists on visiting his great grandpa because he loves and misses him. Or how focused he is on his art, whatever that might be today.  Kieran is so perceptive and earnest, hilarious and passionate…and so unabashedly Kieran. We got really lucky when we got our Kie. I’m so glad it was him I met that day!

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Happy birthday, Kieran!

Posted in Kids, Life, Photography

The years are short

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Excuse me for a moment while I indulge in a moment of melancholic reverie.

About ten minutes ago (I swear), when I was deep under a pile of babies and babies and babies and then another baby I read something that said “the days are long but the years are short.” I remember thinking at the time that OMG THE DAYS ARE LONG but they sure were flying by so I guessed I could see what they meant.

Oh, I had no clue.  And I think I still have just a scintilla of a clue.  For example: I registered my baby for kindergarten.  For another example: I visited my cousin last week and her oldest, who I still think of as a baby, is inexplicably this gorgeous young woman and it occurred to me that she is not that far from leaving home.  She was just a baby and that’s it, she’s closer to being grown up than a baby. It felt like we’d have babies  forever and before I can grasp what’s happening, they’re going.

Sob!

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I guess this time of year gets to me. We have a birthday  this week and another birthday next week and spring and the end of the school year looming, reminding me again and again that time is moving forward and my kids are growing up. TEN MINUTES AGO I was so deep under babies I didn’t even remember who I was and suddenly I’m registering my *baby* for kindergarten.

I have this constant struggle with my youngest.  He wants to be carried and cuddled all the time.  On one hand he’s my BABY and I want to hold him close and cherish every last ounce of his sweet babyness, forever and yet he’s almost FIVE. Dear god! When his oldest brothers were five they each had TWO baby brothers already and I thought of them as practically grown up!
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So I’m spending this spring trying to straddle a fine line between holding so hard onto my babies because the time is flying by so damn fast…and letting them go because none of them are babies anymore.
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If only the years were less short.

Posted in Kids, Life, Motherhood

Wide awake and taking it all in [Arvada, CO Newborn Photography]

I feel very fortunate that I got pictures of this sweet baby sleeping when I met her for the first time because, aside from the picture below (look at those lashes!), Little Miss was awake, aware and taking it all in our whole session.  She was so mellow and observant.  What a doll!  This family is so stinking gorgeous!

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Big brother!  He’s so proud of his new sister – and she is so taken with him as well.  I was so honored to get to see their bond in action.
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She could see herself in my lens – and she liked it!  Her smiling at that cute baby she saw was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.
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I can’t choose a favorite! Can you!?

Posted in family portraits, Lifestyle, Newborn

Snowy weekend

We had a snowy weekend this weekend and seized it as an excuse to hunker down and just be together as a family.  I just happened to be in a black and white mood and so inspired by my people, all in one place.

 

Footballs make the best….pillows?

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Brothers also make great pillows:
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“Dad” was gluing something. The dog wanted it, apparently.
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Cozy snowy bathtime:

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We were all ecstatic to get outside and shovel on Sunday:
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12 degrees?  Totally time to lounge.
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A boy who wishes all days were snow days:
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Posted in Life, Photography

Precious peanut

Excuse me for a moment while I die of the cute. I met this little one to get some quick tiny newborn pictures to tide us over until her family newborn session which will happen when she’s a little older. She graced me with some beautiful, deep sleep, some quiet wakefulness and some darling, darling expressions! I can’t wait to see her again and report how much she’s already changed in a few short weeks!
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Posted in Newborn