Monday, February 27, 2017

one of his favorite things...

truck spotting. he can hear them rumbling down the street. be it a garbage truck, utility vehicle and oh my goodness watch out if it's anything with a siren. he goes running for the windows and is so serious keeping a look out for them.

those feet though. they are the best, especially when he's on his tip-toes.

why do i photograph these things? because one day he won't run with excitement at the sound of a truck pulling down the street. the sound of a siren won't make him say to me in a super loud voice "oh my goodness, do you hear that mama?" he won't be still in his trance-like state eyeing one of his favorite things...trucks.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Mesagne, Puglia

I love getting lost in my photos. Given the time, I could devote a lot of it through just sifting through old memories, souvenirs of trips gone by and reminiscing of past events. But some of my favorite photos are the thousands I have taken that I don't know the history, there is no background for me - it is just a picture and I get to be the author to its story.

The subject caught my eye perhaps because of the colors, the tiny details or particulars that stood out to me. I am drawn to weathered objects, antiques, things that are old and have substance. They must have a story and because I may not know it, it's become that more interesting for me to photograph. I may go on to find out more and educate myself or I may simply leave it as it's shot and respect its privacy.

The beauty in these photos for me is that I can almost picture what it was like freshly painted, unscathed, without any chips or dents. I can picture a lady tending to her windowsill herb garden, hanging her dishtowels to dry outside the kitchen window in her gorgeous apt in the old city of Mesagne. I can almost smell the sauce cooking, the children playing in the street below and maybe a radio on in the background. Shortly it will be lunchtime and soon thereafter the city will become mute, there will be few cars on the streets, shutters will close to the world outside and everyone will be resting for their afternoon siesta.

I don't have to only see the paint chipping on the window frame, the empty pots, the forgotten ball. The windows shut tight to keep the light out and the stone sill needing repair. I can see what once was and what still might be.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A dose of nature

The girls had a long weekend due to the holiday and I think it's safe to say we all made the most of it. Sometimes I enjoy a good weekend around the house not doing much of anything, which usually involves still doing housework, errands and of course, being a parent. But excess scheduling on the weekends usually means I'm going to start my week tired and not ready for the activities ahead. That was what this weekend sort of was for me, lots going on from start to finish.

Of course, starting the weekend off with Spring-like temperatures in mid-February didn't mean we were going to stay inside either! I took the kids for a morning at one of my favorite spots not too far from home. Some photography, yoga on the green and a nice walk followed by a surprise chocolate treat was a perfect way to begin our long weekend.

We had the place to ourselves which is always ideal for my little explorers and wanderers.

Got to hand it to this group, they love yoga and embrace it with their mama. I tell the girls about a new pose I'd like to work on and they are there asking question and attempting it right alongside me.

My little warriors.

Some poses on the beautiful stone benches.

A favorite photo moment for me is the shadow. I love finding a spot and telling everyone to freeze. Which usually means the girls freeze and my little man is still moving and grooving. Just how he rolls right now. We're working on his "freeze frame."

Most of the time all you need is some fresh air, a dose of nature and you're adventure-lovin sidekicks to remind you all is right in the world.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

no use crying over a broken mug

I loved that mug. My mom had given it to me years ago and I used it all the time for my morning cappuccino. The memories we've shared sipping away while enjoying a colorful breakfast, reading a book, or just carrying it around while I follow my toddler through the house. A perfect wrap-your-hand-around-it mug with a colorful picture of one of my favorite flowers, sunflowers, and the word 'Italy' italicized boldly along the side. 

The irony...I had been meaning to clean out the mug shelf for awhile. It's a shame that it had to be decided for me which had to go. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

sibling love

When I was pregnant the second time around, I was so nervous about having more than one child and being able to be there for both of them physically and mentally. I'm sure I'm not alone in the thinking "How can I love another little person as much as I already love my first little person?" Did I have that much love to even go around? I'd like to think this is a typical question a parent has when gearing up for baby numero 2. My second baby came and my heart exploded a second time with the love for the little person brought into my world. Then came numero 3 and all those same worries came flooding back, now I have two already, how in the world can I love a third as much?! Well, he's here and he's loved and loved and loved. Just like the two before him. Turns out I do have enough love to go around.

One of my favorite things watching these three grow together is witnessing the love between them. The oldest has two little ones to love, the middle has a big one and a little one to love and the little guy has two big sisters to love. They each gain a different perspective to living and loving within their family. The dynamics they bring to the table are all very different but with the same end goal, love your siblings. But with loving also comes the sibling torment, the fighting and disagreeing.

It's not always easy, I remember growing up with my younger brother and thinking for sure that no two people could be more different. That didn't mean I didn't love him, it just meant we had different interests and when are worlds overlapped naturally there would be struggle. I wanted to read all day and he was very active always running and playing. On long car rides my dad would threaten to turn the car around if we didn't stop annoying one another. And I remember a particular incident where I threw my glass of water in his face at dinner because he wouldn't stop jabbing at me. Just the water, I held onto the glass.

But I also have a ton of memories of playing together at the beach, going to his soccer games in high school and partying with him on his 21st birthday. Our baby brother came into our world and threw a whole new dimension at us and we figured it out, we tried to torment him as much as possible but seeing how we are 17 and 15 years older than him, it didn't seem as appropriate. All three of us are different, we bring different strengths and weaknesses to our lives, but for the most part, we're present and know that we have one another too. Our love for one another is will always be.

That's what I love about my own three. They love each other, they want to play, read to, color with, run around with one another when they can and want to. Do they always want to? Of course not. Are they always in sync with the other? Not a chance? They fight, they don't share sometimes, they chase each other when they don't want to be chased. But at the end of the day, when the tears have dried, the sun will come back out, the moon and stars will shine above their beautiful heads and they will realize that through it all they have one another and that they are loved.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mommy and Me Preschool

I didn't really decide to be a stay-at-home mom until I held Sofia in my arms for the very first time. Up until then I thought for sure I would take my 3 months maternity leave, enjoy my time with my newborn and be ready to go back to work both physically and mentally. I was wrong. I held that tiny little girl, born 2 weeks early via cesarean, and have never regretted taking off from working full time to being a full time stay-at-home mom.

Now onto my third (and last) child and looking ahead to next year this time when he will be enrolled in preschool. I'm trying to make the most of this time while I still have him all to myself. We have days around the house where we sing the ABC's a thousand times, count his cars and blocks in both English and Italian and lay on the couch and read one book after another. We go for walks, we make snacks together in the kitchen, have dance parties and watch his favorite shows. He loves being outside so when weather permits, we do that as much as possible whether it's just our driveway and backyard or somewhere special like the park or zoo.

An unusually warmer February morning took us to the zoo just recently and he was enamored. The time of year allowed for not so crowded exhibits but the warmer temps allowed us to walk in comfort and take in as many animals as his little legs would let us. He asked for no stroller "I want to walk Mama." So walk we did and explore we did and have fun we did.

We walked and as we walked, we talked about the animals and he asked questions. He got excited when he saw the giraffes and he asked why the lions were in a glass cage and sleeping. He did not like the reptile house one bit and from the second we entered, asked me to carry him most of the time indoors. And for as simple as an animal as it is and for as many as we see on a regular basis, he loved the geese. We stopped and had a snack and he asked why the gorilla was looking at him.

His preschool experience looks a little different from other little kids his age but it's what in my heart I feel is right for us. I love the time with just him, as I did love it with both his big sisters. We plan to see friends, we visit the library and have our boring but typical mornings of errands too. He's a happy little boy at home now and I'm certain that while preschool at his sister's big school will be an adjustment, he will be happy there too.

For now his smiles, his looks of awe and wonder, and the things he's learning on OUR preschool days are saved just for me.

And I love that.

Friday, February 10, 2017

little photogs

The girls received their first digital camera a few years ago under orders that it must be shared and take pictures of what they please. I'm happy to report that they take lots and lots of pictures, the beauty of digital photography.

On our recent trip to the Dominican Republic, their camera came with us and used occasionally. On the one morning the kids visited the aquarium/sea park attraction with the dads, Sofia snapped this picture of Mario. It is amazing how perfect this picture is to me and not just because my 9 year old took the picture. The background color against his beautiful smiling face took my breath away when I saw it for the first time.

Happy to see that she enjoys taking pictures and knowing the perfect moments to be captured.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

I'm ok with that.

Some days are just ok for me. I wake up with the best of intentions, have time to myself in silence before the blissful chaos sets in for the day ahead. Naturally, I want my day and the day of my children from sunup to sundown to be filled with smiles, laughter and smooth sailing. I picture them walking around with little smiley face emojis floating around their heads and little hearts dotting their i's in school. Does it always work out like that? Of course not. We are not perfect. I am not perfect. And I am ok with that.

Some mornings begin all too early with sibling squabbles. She said this, she said that, he looked at me, he isn't looking at me. For anyone that's been around kids for more than 5 minutes you probably know what I'm talking about. Even the most compatible of characters sometimes disagree, it's bound to happen. Imagine now 3 little humans with 3 different personalities wanting 3 different things (and sometimes all 3 wanting the same thing too) ALL.AT.THE.SAME.TIME. Makes for a very interesting morning. But this is where I am right now and I am ok with that.

I like to take pictures of the kids when they're doing something funny, being really cute or just cuddling up to me for no reason. I blog about that stuff a lot. But I also take pictures and even videos of them losing it, crying over having to eat their fruit after dinner or laying on the floor kicking their feet because they didn't get to watch another show. We do this because it's great to show them later how they were acting, we talk about the situation and most of the time that conversation ends with smiles. But it's also important for them to know that they're not always going to be happy, smiling and life will lay before them all that they want. They have to work through their emotions, learn to cope with others and that life isn't always perfect. Those are tough lessons for adults to learn, imagine 3 little ones. I give a lot of love to my kids, I try to be positive and encouraging. Sometimes I just have to be real with them. And I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

petals and thorns

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Sometimes it's not enough to just marvel at the pretty petals, shining in all their colorful glory in the morning sun. Sometimes I need to take a step back and see what else there is to see.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mr. Independent vs Mama's Boy

This guy. My buddy. My little man. Oh, the fun it is raising a 3-year-old boy. The "squeezy hugs," the nose rubs, the hand holding, the climbing onto my lap to read. The "mama, pick me up" or "give me one more hug and kiss" before nap and bedtime. Every single time. I drive by the fire station at his request both because he loves firetrucks and I love his reaction.

Then there's the tantrums, the taking things from his two big sisters, the stubbornness, the "I do it myself" and the "Put me down, I want to walk" stage. The messes at repeated attempts of independence, the refusal to potty-train and the "it's mine" shouted at his siblings.

I'll take it all though. I've been through it twice before now and just because he's my only boy that I'll go through this with, it reminds me of the girls at this very age. Each of them ventured into this new territory a little differently but the 3-year-old in all of them is there. Not a baby anymore, but not quite a little kid yet. My little shadow, always with me. And it goes fast, so I'll take it. I'll take the hugs, the carrying him on my back, I'll help him when he asks and lay on the floor and play cars together. I'll remember to talk softer, more patiently reminding myself that he is still little. I'll be sad when he doesn't want to be carried because I know pretty soon he'll be too big and even though he doesn't understand that, I do. Very much so.

This stage is tough, 3. The in-between wanting to do it all on their own and the still needing their mama. I have to remind myself to let him try things on his own, although bittersweet, I have to understand that it's for his own good. All too soon, he won't be with me all the time, my shadow will take new adventures. Adventures that will allow him to exert his independence and grow into the strong, smart and successful man that I know he will be.

But for now, because he's only 3, I carry him because I can, I give the extra hugs and kisses at his request and cradle him in my lap as he asks for another book. The messes, the tantrums and the sibling fighting is all part of the package and I don't take one without the other. The good stuff is far too good and as blissfully exhausting as it all is, it's worth every second.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

finding peace

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

To be able to carry with us the peace the early morning brings. The stillness around us, the quiet and the simplicity.

I'm an early riser and enjoy this feeling before movement sets in, bustling to get my family out of the door, activities, scheduling, joyful and sometimes not so joyful noise. I do have 3 children. I'm out of the house one morning a week at 530am to get to my studio class and I drive in complete silence, still dark and sometimes a few stars and if I'm lucky, the moon, above me. An area gym is the only source of activity and while I drive by it's brightly lit facade, I join the others in solidarity for this fresh hour to the start of our days. The remainder of the week I am up early also maybe just reading or thinking of the day ahead.

How quickly that time goes from peace and tranquility to a constant don't stop pace. And it isn't until the last one is tucked in at night, kitchen cleaned, backpacks ready for the following school day, laundry nearly complete and the next day planned, that I find that sense of peace again.

I'd like to find ways to carry that early morning peace with me throughout the day. During meal planning, grocery shopping, errand running, bustling to and from activities, phone calls, sibling fights, homework, routine. If it cannot be the kind of peace that comes with the first rays of light trickling through the windows, then find a different kind in all that we choose to do throughout our days. Look for the peace amongst the chaos of our lives. Could be brief moments of the day to hold onto when times get tough or a simple memory to help remind me that everything is temporary.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

where my girls at?

These two are my little buddies, my little warriors, my little yogi's in training and readers, artists, walkers, bakers, big sisters to their little bro, chocolate-eaters, travelers, photogs, little loves. I can not believe they will be 10 and 8 this Spring. How is it possible? How could I be so lucky?

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