Saturday, April 5, 2014

A LETTER TO MY SON(S) - APRIL 2014

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Hi Guys -
I'm back again for my monthly letter.  It's April! Yahoo.  March went fast, which is good as we are all super eager for Spring to make it's appearance.   It's already starting to feel warmer by the day.  And let me tell you, you two couldn't be happier.  You've spent every spare minute lately tearing around outside getting filthy dirty, skinned up, sweaty, and even believe-it-or-not.....sunburned.  But, hey it beats having you two dialed into your iPod's all day.  I am about ready to trash those things, anyway.
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So, yes, I think we are all ready for some fresh air and outside playtime.  But, ugh... here we go again.   The same ol' battle is sure to resurface, as it does every year at this time.  You guys want to roam.... and I want to keep you on a short leash.  Although, this year... I decided not to fight you (as much.)  I am trying, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY trying to give you a little more space, a little more freedom.  I'm going to stifle the zillion "what-if's" that fill my head every time you are not by my side or easily within my reach.  It's just that until now, every motherly instinct I've had is to keep you safe and protected.... how do I ignore all that?  I've come to accept that you are always going to want more than I am comfortable giving, when it comes to freedom.  Hey, I'm your Mom, and I'm a worry-wart.    
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I mean, I had a panic attack the other day when I took you two to the movies.  I left you alone in the theater for 5 minutes while I ran to the bathroom.   I rushed back in just sure something horrible had happened and there you were, right where I left you.  Well, not exactly where I left you, Chase, you had moved over a spot so that you would be together while I was gone.  And I almost burst into tears right there.  You two really do look after one another....  I die!

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So, I'm going to ignore those heart palpitations that I get every time you cross over our property line and disappear from my sight and give you a little of the freedom you crave.  My head knows that you need it, my heart will eventually get there.  Or not.  But I promise to try.  Okay. Okay.  You guys just promise to keep looking after one another when I'm not around.  That's what brother's are for, after all.

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All of this was very evident during our recent spring break trip to St. Louis.  We spent a full day at the City Museum there.  Which is basically like a giant playground for exploring.  You guys were in your glory.  No nook or cranny (or cave or tunnel in this case) went undiscovered! You two could not get enough...  I have to admit, it was a really cool place (even if I was a nervous wreck half the time).... you both liked it more than our trip to Disney World!  (If you click on the photo below - it should take you to the entire set of photos if you want to see more from our trip!)
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So, let's see.... what else happened this month?  Well, Dylan you lost your other front tooth a few weeks ago.  That little smile just kills me.  And you even sound cuter now thanks to a toothless lisp you now talk with.   Oh, and I have to mention that since we lost our dear kitty, you now have a strange obsession with Pugs.  I'm not sure why, but you can't get enough.   I've told you repeatedly that we would not be getting a pet pug, but you seem undeterred.

Chase, you finished up basketball and floor hockey for the year and tried out for baseball which starts soon.  When you are not playing sports or outside getting filthy dirty, you are here, lounging next to me, surfing around Insta-gram.  Until I boot you off my couch because I can't deal with the stinky feet smell. (Seriously, Buddy, it's BADDDDDD.) And so it begins, body odors.  Gotta love boys!! 

And trust me, I do... my adventurous, smart, independent, stinky-feet boys!

Until next month -

     -Your (nervous, over-protective, worry-wart, loves-you-to-the-moon-and-back) Momma


(Keep the circle going by heading over to Emily's blog - CLICK HERE)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

MARCH HIGHLIGHTS




I can't believe March has come and gone already.  One month closer to Spring.  We hope! 
The boys stayed busy with lots of sports.... as usual! 


We took a quick Spring Break trip to St. Louis.  I will try to get some more photos posted from that trip.  The boys had a BLAST!!! 


Here are a few highlights from the month.......................


I'm pretty sure this is going to be the last of the snowmobile photos - but I'm not making ANY promises


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f 5.6 - ss 1/640 - iso 200


Almost as good as tubing on the water.... almost!
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f 6.3 - ss 1/1600 - ISO 200


I forgot to bring my sunglasses into this place - bright!
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f 2.0 - ss 1/800 - ISO 1600


Bright and early one morning - gaming already.  *sigh* 
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f 1.8 - ss 1/100 - ISO 1800


Little League Prepping for this guy
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f 2.8 - ss 1/4000 - iso 900


We don't care if there is snow on the ground - we are playing outside!


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f 2.8 - ss1/400 - iso 110


That puck is not getting past this guy!
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f 5.3 - ss 1/200 - iso3200


Exploring at it's finest! At the St. Louis City Museum
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f 2.0 - ss 1/80 - iso 100


Mom busies herself with camera - to avoid a certain heart attack
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f 2.0 ss 1/80 - iso 500


"Wait for me! Mom said you had to WAIT. FOR. ME!"
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f 1.8 - ss 1/200 - iso 110

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A LETTER TO MY SONS - 03/2014

Hi Chase and Dylan -
A blogging friend asked me a few weeks ago if I would be interested in a monthly blog circle, titled "A Letter to my Son(s)"  and I thought it might be a fun way to document "the here" and "the now."  Someday, hopefully, you will read through these and appreciate a little peek into your world when you were nine and six.
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So, what to tell you about who you are right now?    Well, Chase, you are in 3rd grade... you just turned nine..... and I'm trying to think of how best to describe you..... maybe - UNSTOPPABLE.  
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You're so smart and eager to learn new things.  Every morning that I drop you off for school, I watch you walk in the front door with your head held high... ready to take on the day ahead.  It makes my heart swell just thinking about it.    We are proud of how well you are doing in school.  You were one of only two students in your class to be accepted into the gifted program this year.  I was worried it might be too much, but you are thriving.  You love reading, writing, spelling, math and anything involving science!  As a parent, it is amazing to watch you grow, independently of us, and blossom.
The finished product!   He is so excited about his solar system.

And it is not just in academics, but in athletics as well.  It seems that anything you try, you excel at.  And trust me, you want to try it all!   It's exciting to watch you in action.  You are so determined and confident.  I wish I could take the credit for these attributes, but I think we all know they came from your Dad!  
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We are so proud of you... know that.  Even if we don't always show it.  It's sometimes hard to be the mom of a kid like you.  As much as I want to shout from the rooftops "MY KID IS AMAZING!" -  I don't want to be that mom.  Or turn you into that kid.  There is a difference between being confident and being TOOOO confident, if you know what I'm saying.  I want to raise you to not be boastful, but humble and respectful.  You have so sooo much going for you.  It is my hope to guide you and motivate you to keep utilizing your talents with both feet firmly planted on the ground.  So, forgive me if often, I don't dwell on your successes.... but point out the things you need to work on.  I know it must seem like we are hard on you.  I know that we have high expectations of you.      But I also know that you can do it.  After all, you are my UNSTOPPABLE little guy.

(I promise, all these letters won't be this braggy or sappy.... but in the interest of honestly and sharing with you what is weighing on my heart lately, I'm going with it.) 

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And Dylan.... you are an equally bright light in our world.  I just can't help but smile at your goofy little personality that has been emerging more and more lately.  You literally dance around the house (usually in nothing but your undies and your fuzzy Bear's blanket) belting out your thoughts in song - sometimes even opera.  You delight in making us all smile with your silly antics.    We really need to get you on a stage or in music!
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You are rocking it in Kindergarten, declaring several times recently that you "can't wait for 1st grade!"  Where you get to stay all day at school and eat lunch and have a recess.   I often tease you that I'm going to miss you too much to have you gone all day, to which you are quick to point out, "Mom, you let Chase go on to 1st grade, so you HAVE to let ME!"   
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And as eager as you are to spread your little birdy wings and venture from the nest, I think you are a teeny bit scared too.  You've been going through a phase where you are scared to be alone.  Which is so strange, because until now, you were the most independent little guy ever.  I think that as your world grows and gets bigger, you are realizing the dangers that exist, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It's a growing pain, a phase that you are in.  I blame myself for having the news on too much.  

Until this passes, though, I am secretly enjoying having you near me, my little shadow that follows me around the house.   And at night, when I'm tucking you in, you hug me tight and don't want me to let you go.  Which actually feels pretty good because I don't want to.   Honestly, I'm having a hard time "letting go."  It's funny, at this same age with Chase I felt pride at watching him grow and with you I feel heartbreak.  A lump forms in my throat every time I really look and see how tall you are getting.  I can't help it... I just want to keep you little.   I'm sorry but you are, and will always be, my baby.   No matter how big and tall you insist on getting!

Oh gosh, more sappy stuff.  Okay...I'm stopping. I'll move it along to "the here" and "the now" that I promised. 

This past month has been a busy one.  We've had an unusually cold winter with a CRAZY amount of snowfall.  I think years from now, we will be still be talking about DUN-DUN-DUN.... "THE WINTER OF 2014."  You two have managed to enjoy it with many, many snowmobile outings.   After all, when life hands you lemons......  
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And I can't not mention the trip we just returned from in Orlando.   I promise I won't bore you with the details... I have 873 photos that should accomplish that sufficiently.  I do want to point out that you two were the best little travelers.  Nine and six and apparently a perfect age to take your kids on trips.  You both did so well.... you got along (mostly) and didn't have any melt-downs (except maybe one over whether or not you, Chase, should order off the kids menu! On Kids-Eat-Free night that is a YES!)   But honestly, we had a really great time.  It's nice to enjoy not only the trip but just spending time together as a family. 

And, unfortunately,  a sad thing happened this past month too.  We returned from our trip to a kitty who wasn't well.  Bogey went down-hill fast, losing the ability to walk or use his hind legs.  We made the hard decision to take him to the vet and have him put down.  It was a tough day for all of us.  But, Dylan, you had a really hard time.  Bogey seemed to have a strong bond with you, always did.  I'll never forget at about the age of two, we started putting you in "time-outs."  You would howl and cry and scream for the first 30 seconds, and then it would end, abruptly.  I would peak around the corner and find Bogey, curled up in your lap.  It's like he "sacrificed" himself to calm you down.  And from then on, almost anytime you were upset or crying Bogey would seek you out and curl up next you.  His ability and willingness to comfort you (or simply distract you) was pretty remarkable.  We are really going to miss him. 

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(Photo taken on his last day.  He couldn't walk, yet he still seemed happy and was purring up until the very end.)

I hate to end your first letter on a sad note, but this is going on for longer than I intended it to.   Opps, hopefully you're still reading.

Love you both... soooooooo much.  Until next month.........
- Mom


Follow this link ***HERE***  to read the next post in our circle! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

FEBRUARY HIGHLIGHTS

The first week of February we spent down in Orlando.   What a great week we had down there enjoying a much needed break from this brutal winter! 


During our trip I did my "homework" for my photography project.  This month we were to work on the "rule of thirds" and "leading lines" in our photographs.


Waiting for our Condo to be ready..... 
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1/1600 -ƒ/1.8 - ISO 500 - 50 mm


PUTT-PUTT - they each got a hole in one.   But don't worry - Mom still beat them!
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1/1250 - ƒ/2.5 - ISO 250 - 50 mm


First visit to Sea World
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1/2500 - ƒ/3.5 - ISO 320 - 50 mm


The Dare Devils!  (Chase is in Yellow!)
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1/2500 - ƒ/5 - ISO 320 - 50 mm


Main Street - Disney
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1/640 - ƒ/3.5 - ISO 500 -50 mm


Pink Flamingo Paddle boats, gotta love it!
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1/4000 -ƒ/5 -ISO 500 - 50 mm


They played endless games of Throw-Jump-Catch-Splash-Repeat
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1/2000 - ƒ/5.6 - ISO 500 -50 mm


Soaking it up - every last ounce!
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1/2500 - ƒ/5 -ISO 250 -50 mm


LOOK OUT BELOW!
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1/1600 - ƒ/4.5 -ISO 320 -50 mm


Hi Mom!
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1/1600 - ƒ/4.5 -ISO 320 - 50 mm


Enjoying Epcot - where you can trot the globe in an afternoon!
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1/1600 - ƒ/3.2 - ISO 800 -50 mm




Just a few of the 800+ photos I took during our week there.  The last few days of our trip got a little rainy/cooler hence the coats and hats.  But we still got everything in including ALL of the rides they wanted to do!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

JANUARY HIGHLIGHTS

So.... I've pretty much stepped off the crazy blogging train for the past 6 months - probably even longer than that!    And I'm okay with that.   


I do miss having a spot and opportunity to share my latest snaps. 


So, I'm going to try for a monthly highlights post.  I've joined a year long photography project that focuses on capturing our families each month in a creative way.  The goal was to have 10 photos for each month. 


Here is what I captured for January! 
Enjoy..................................


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Friday, January 17, 2014

HEAVEN ON EARTH?

Dylan and Chase thought so. They were so excited about our visit to the Jelly Belly Factory. There was a free tour and, more importantly, FREE SAMPLES!!!!

Did you know they have strict quality controls in place at the Jelly Belly factory and the beans that don't pass inspection are called..... wait for it................. "BELLY FLOPS!"    We thought that was pretty amusing. 

Did you know that they make Jelly Belly's that taste like..... dirt, grass, rotten eggs, moldy cheese, pencil shavings, soap, dog food.... and worse.... vomit!?!?  Ugh.  The boys had a to taste a few of those... just to say they did it.   We followed them quickly with the likes of Cherry and Tootie Fruitie! 

Anyway, it was a fun way to spend a cold/snowy afternoon. 

I realize I haven't been around here much...... I'm going to pretend like that didn't happen and move on!  I feel terrible! 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

SCAVENGER HUNT SUNDAY 09.01.13

Second week... in a row!
I'm back for the Scavenger Hunt.   Did you find your items this week?
I got most of them.... and had to dig in the archives a bit for just a few. 
Still pretty good.... for me. 


[FLOW]
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I knew as soon as school started it would finally start heating up around here.  Sure enough, we were in the 90's this week.  The sprinklers were begging to be pulled out!

[BEYOND]
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Some session work with my dear friend and her beautiful horsey.  I'm clueless when it comes to horses but I know these two are stunning!

[TIP]
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[DOWN]
It's baaaaaa-aaack!  Football season! 
First scrimmage last week and this guy ran his first touch-down.
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And first-down too!


[SHADOW]
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These were pulled from the archives.  A good friend of mine has written her first romance novel (more details to come) so I was shooting some practice shots for potential covers.  We didn't use these, so I figured it was safe to share.  And I love the shadow play going on here!

I hope you enjoy your Sunday.  We will be sweating our organs out on the football field all day.  I can't wait.  Wish us luck!!

LINKED UP:
Scavenger Hunt Sunday