Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What HAVE We Done This Fall?

I'm sitting in Starbucks on a Saturday watching people come in and order BOGO holiday drinks.  I think that means that fall is officially over and that the Christmas season has begun.  Seasons are a wonderful thing.  We are starting to have seasonal routines as a family.  But this fall we did something a little different.  We did nothing.  We didn't sign up for anything.  We spent lots of time at home.  I have to admit I'm one of those discontent people who has to fight comparisons.  When I'm super busy, I covet free space on the calendar.  And then when we're not super busy, I worry about whether it's best.  The years are flying by at warp speed and I want the kids to look back at their childhood and think of it fondly.  I don't want it to be too rushed because then we can't enjoy all the fun.  But then I don't want it to be boring (because in my house that sometimes means we bicker more).  It's a fight to be balanced as a family and I wish I was really sure that we were doing it just right.  I can only pray that God blesses our efforts.

This fall was slow.  We are doing some different things in school and I knew from the beginning that meant we had to be at home more.  I'm teaching at our co-op.  This is my first year teaching five, yes FIVE, grades.  We are still plugging away in piano.  We didn't really do sports.  We didn't leave the house much during the day.  We did lots of school.  We tried to have people over, even though that meant sometimes they came over with only a semi-clean house and a not-very-gourmet meal.  Home schooling older kiddos (this is for a later post) is not for the faint of heart.  It's maybe my hardest season with them.  It's a lot of work for everyone involved, especially me.  And yes, I've had moments of feeling sorry for myself like I do every fall.  

What's the point to this post?  I guess it's just to document this fall in our family.  We have spent lots of time together.  I don't want to forget the moments.  I'm thankful for them.  They're not glamorous, but they're ours.  I've been trying to pick up my big camera for more everyday moments.  Usually I do that more on instagram because my phone is more readily available.  But I love these faces all big and blown up with lots of pixels.

And just a few off my phone too :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cousin Photo Shoot

We've done quite a few of these in the last decade.  It's a pain dragging my "big camera" around town.  But I know I'd regret it if I didn't.  These kids are growing up too fast.
Chris was behind them making them laugh.  I can't even tell you what he was doing.  I should bring him along to any photo shoot.

Samuel really wanted to take a picture of Dad and me.

And Nathan wanted to be in this picture of Chris and me.  

We had a beautiful day at Sundance Square.

So that's all folks ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cousin Week

My boys are blessed to have sweet relationships with their cousins.  Mary and Elsa came to visit over their fall break.  The boys were over-the-moon excited.  It was better than Christmas morning.  These kids love every minute they get together.
The very first morning they were up making sweet treats in the kitchen.  These sessions used to be more stressful than they are now.  Everyone is quite independent in the kitchen.  I sat with my cup of coffee and observed the fun.

Putting sprinkles on pretzels.

Then they moved over the school room, pulled out the paper and markers and did creative things for hours.  

Treats at McKinley's and Starbucks.

They were put on "breakfast teams."  Mary and Samuel sausage and bacon, pancakes and eggs for us the first morning.  It was delicious.

We also took them to Rodeo Goat.  We might have ordered two plates of of cheese fries.  In addition to our hamburgers.

Grandpa and Elsa.  Did I mention my dad flew down with Mary and Elsa?

I think Samuel took this of me.  I included it just for evidence that I was there ;)

Graham with his dad and granddad.  A pretty special picture.

Steel City Pops.  Let's see.  We got the Arnold Palmer, Cherry Vanilla, Pomegranate, Pumpkin and I got Coffee (of course!)

I took this because I took a similar picture in this same spot nearly four years ago.  

{Notice how Joseph and Mary and holding hands in BOTH pictures… not planned!}
There was no Rodeo Goat or apartment complexes.  And the girls and my boys aren't really little kids anymore.  They're turning into people.  It's a little sad… growing up.  Especially for us parents.  I wish I could hop back into this second picture and squeeze them all.

Then they had to leave.  They wrote each other notes and there may or may not have been tears.  

It's true that parting is such sweet sorrow.  And we are already looking forward to their next visit.