Kisses In The Outfield (Photo Friday)

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Monday night, when the coach dismissed the boys from their last (praise God!) baseball game of the season, he followed it up with, “Let’s get together for a parents-vs-kids game on Wednesday!”

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Nicholas sent a good line drive out there, and he hasn’t even been playing baseball this year.

I clamped down on the biggest “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” ever heard in the history of humankind. (Yes, I too can do idiotic superlatives that bear no resemblance to reality, thank you very much.)

I started praying on the spot for the grace to take this calmly and not gripe about yet another night’s worth of commitments. I told myself the boys were incredibly excited about this game and it wasn’t fair for me to ruin their enjoyment. And maybe it would even turn out to be something I’d enjoy.

Which it did. We all played, even Julianna.

Baseball is much more fun to play than it is to watch. And how can you not enjoy having a 5-year-old shadow in left field with you, leaping into your arms and slathering you with kisses every time you look at him?

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Different game. Same adorability.

Besides. I got a hit. Oh yes, I did. 🙂

Magic Everywhere

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On Holy Saturday, we were running an errand for my mom at the local photo/camera store, and Christian decided to surprise me with the camera lens I’ve been wanting for a long time–one that has a super-low F stop. I hadn’t had time to play around with it too much (see: busy) until this past weekend. Saturday night, as we were having a backyard fire pit cookout, Alex said, “Mom! Look at the way the light comes through the smoke.”

I looked–and then I ran for the camera.

That night, I really got to experience the “golden hour.” There was magic everywhere. I hope you enjoy.

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Photo Friday: Sunny Oak Through The Eyes of a Five-Year-Old

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Michael had the iPad last night at Julianna’s last therapeutic horseback riding lesson of the spring session. Enjoy his photos, and a couple videos at the end!

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Meet Timothy the donkey. Whom Michael called a goat all night.

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I never noticed that I put the stickers on my computer upside down. Face palm.

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Revise, revise, revise until that novel shines…

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Julianna gives Richard Horse a treat.

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I did not think I would be able to share any of the videos Michael took of Julianna riding, because I don’t have permission to show the other kids. But do you know that stinker is just the right height to take a video that shows the legs but not the faces of the other kids? Who knew?

But this one is the crown jewel video of the evening. I’ve always wanted to get Michael’s giggle on video, before he outgrows it.

Making “Hats” and other photos I’m proud of

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The other day, Michael and I looked through a couple of scrapbooks, and I was so impressed with some of the photos I’ve taken in the last couple of years, I just wanted show off share.

First, photos of Christian and his mother making “hats.” Orecchiette, technically, but Christian and his siblings grew up calling them “hats,” and “hats” they remain. You’ll see why.

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Then there’s this solo shot of Christian walking Julianna and Michael across the field to meet my dad and the combine during harvest in 2015:

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And sometimes it’s the group. I really love this scrapbook layout. These are not the angles and images I think of first when I think of the farm where I grew up, but I absolutely love how the three on this page turned out:

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And finally, I might have preferred to play with focus a little more on this one, but it’s such a memory of recent years for my kids and me in visiting my grandmother, I had to share. Do the non-musicians know what this is?

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Have a great weekend!

Walk In The Woods: A Photo Essay

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This week, every single thing that makes life busy is converging upon one week: looming deadlines, baseball, piano, horseback, lessons, choir, two family visits, First Communion, a bake sale for the fifth grade, and to top it off, I am playing in a concert on Thursday, which means I have long, late rehearsals. So this little photo essay, of a walk in the Gans Creek Nature Area, will stand in my corner of the e-universe until Monday. Hope you enjoy!

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I’m a sucker for trails where the trees form a tunnel.

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My walking companion enjoys the wild honeysuckle

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A wild phlox bloom that was so far from any plant, I can only assume some little hands carried it up the hill and dropped it in the middle of the path.

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“Spring Beauty”

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Wild violets

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This mossy rock looks to me like a magic isle. Like you could almost step into another world.

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Adorability

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On the docket for today: the obligatory results of my yearly kid portraiture.

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Alex looks so grown up all of a sudden.

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He loved getting to go out to the Pinnacles and climb rocks to have his pictures taken. Even if it was only 42 degrees outside, and he had to keep taking off his hoodie and putting it back on while I fiddled with aperture and shutter speed and ISO.

But in the end, wouldn't you know it? One of the test shots won, and for the second year straight Alex will grace our wall not in a nice bright sweater, but the same hoodie he wears every single day. How tween of him. ;)

But in the end, wouldn’t you know it? One of the test shots won, and for the second year straight Alex will grace our wall not in a nice bright sweater, but the same hoodie he wears every single day. How tween of him. 😉

Julianna, in the meantime, gave me about two hundred shots of this….

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…and this…

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….so in the end we asked permission to use and share photos from the Children’s Miracle Network Glamourazzi event this summer (all photos taken by Creative Photo):

We had the mommy-daughter shot...

We had the mommy-daughter shot…

...and the fun shot with a deejay at the local pop-rock station...

…and the fun shot with a deejay at the local pop-rock station…

But the one we’re opting with for the walls this year is the one that captures Miss Feisty Pants to a T:

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Nicholas, of course, is a ham who needs no commentary:

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But it’s Michael who steals the show this year, as far as I’m concerned. If you’re on Facebook you probably already saw these, but…are you ready? Guard your heart, folks:

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Move over, Jack Sparrow. You’ve been replaced.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

What We Did This Weekend

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It has been a long time since I’ve had a week (and weekend) as intense as the last has been. All good things, but intense. I’ve done almost no writing for the past week. So I’m giving myself a pass on being profound this morning. Instead I’ll share what we did this weekend in pictures…so I can devote today to catching up!

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Easter Weekend Photography Experiments

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Self-portraitWe’ve had a DSLR for years, and although I know the theory behind aperture, ISO and shutter speed, there’s a big difference between theory and knowing how to use it. I’ve been wanting to take a class that would force me to play around, but who has time? This weekend I finally started the process. Here are some of my experiments. (If you’re on Facebook you already saw these. Sorry.)

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Things I Don’t Want To Forget

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Things I Don’t Want To Forget:

Michael saying “I want to tuggle with you.” And then getting irritated because I repeat it that way. “No—no! I said, sssssstuggle!”

Michael “nursing” (where did he learn to do that?)

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The way Julianna dissolves into giggles at the silliest pieces of nothing.

The way every one of the children has pointed to the pickle in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, knowing I will say it in crazy-silly voice and reduce them to uncontrollable laughter.

The way Nicholas’ eyes catch the sunlight from the window, illustrating something I thought impossible—that eyes that dark brown can be at the same time so luminescent and clear.

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The tremble in Alex’s voice as he shares the meanest comment someone made about his sister: She’s always so happy. It gets on my nerves. And the way his smile broke through his tears when I said that if that was the worst insult anyone could come up with about his sister, then he should just take it as a compliment.

Things that only happen with small children around…like walking into a pitch-black room to comfort a crying child in the middle of the night and stepping on something sort of firm, sort of soft, that promptly grabs your foot and nearly makes you scream until you remember that Michael has been wearing (and dropping) a slap bracelet the last several days…

The feeling of a good night’s sleep after the last commitment of a stressful few weeks…of waking to an alarm instead of my own racing brain.

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The moment my husband sends me an email inviting me to go to the opera with him.

These are the moments I want to treasure. To hold so close in my heart that they never lose the immediacy and familiarity of the present.

7 Quick takes In Pictures

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My mother's day flowers. I am such a sucker for bright colors.

My mother’s day flowers. I am such a sucker for bright colors.

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Reading books on MyOn

Reading books on MyOn

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Michael sleep

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Graduation-and-neighborhood-garage-sale morning dawns with this spectacle....

Graduation-and-neighborhood-garage-sale morning dawns with this spectacle….

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A hot air balloon launch directly north of our upstairs front window

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What would you call this? A water gun? Au contraire...

What would you call this? A water gun? Au contraire…

Really? Just because you call it a "squirter" doesn't mean anyone in the entire universe is going to see it as anything other than a gun. Seriously, people.

Really? Just because you call it a “squirter” doesn’t mean anyone in the entire universe is going to see it as anything other than a gun. Seriously, people.

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Nicholas' preschool graduation

Nicholas’ preschool graduation. He always poses like that, with at least one hand on his hip.

I'm going to pull this picture out when he graduates high school. He's already got the look. Now he just needs the years.

I’m going to pull this picture out when he graduates high school. He’s already got the look. Now he just needs the years.

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And this one speaks for itself:

running note7 quick takes sm1  7 Quick Takes about spicy ebooks, awesome Twitter bios, getting foot jacked (and other reasons why its not going by so fast)