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The Joy of Love



Day 23. Facebook. I have a lot of photos posted on Facebook of my loved ones but this one jumped out at me as I was scrolling through my collection.

I love the way my youngest is looking at me through the lens. He was only a year and a half at the time this photo was taken, but his look is so intent, so meaningful. I can't tell you what he was trying to convey. Maybe he really wanted a cup of milk. Perhaps he was about to poop his pants. Who knows. I'd like to think that he was telling me he how much he loves me. No words needed.




Day 22. Face. I'm catching up, here... This face loves to smile. Loves to laugh. Loves to love.

And I love him.




Day 21. Hands. I love these little hands. Although, they aren't so little anymore. They're growing bigger and stronger everyday. And they love to reach for treats.

I love it when these little hands give me a hug, help me pick up the toys and touch my cheek when I'm given a sweet kiss. I love watching these little hands write sentences, play baseball and fold together before praying.

I'm not too happy when these little hands hit his little brother.



When They're Home

Day 20. When They're Home. Um, when are they not?

Step into the life of mine for a couple of minutes. Think crazy. Think laughter. Think exhaustion.

But I love it.

I remember back to the days before I had kids. How much easier and faster such everyday, mundane tasks were. Let's take getting into the car, for example. Before kids, I could simply open the car door, sit down behind the wheel, buckle myself in and start the car. Now, what used to take about 10 seconds can take 5 minutes. Really. Gathering the kids, opening the back door first, getting the little one strapped in even though he's screaming and refusing to sit down (and I've run out of toys/food/stickers to bribe him with) strapping down my 5-year-old, crawling backwards out of the car, opening the drivers' side door, flinging my purse and diaper bag to the passenger seat and finally sitting down to buckle myself in. All this while trying to tune out the screaming/crying/complaining.

The crazy thing is that I must be completely mental because I love it.

I also don't mind watching "kid's" movies. I think companies such as Pixar do a great job of making their movies entertaining for both adults and kids. Kind of like the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. C'mon. What kid really knows what a "Ma-roon" is?


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When They're Gone

Day 19. When They're Gone. I've decided to place Day 18 on hold. We'll get back to that one.

When They're Gone. Shhhh. Do you hear that? Of course not. Because it's completely silent! Whoo-hoo! Having young kids automatically allows you to appreciate that old saying, "Silence is Golden." Yes, it is.

But for me, the kiddos aren't really gone (or I'm not really away for that long,) but I'm guessing it's very similar to when they are down for the night.

When they're down for the night, I can do anything I want that doesn't require Buzz and Woody or Chicken Nuggets. I can watch any TV program I want, (or not!) I can eat my dinner in peace and I can walk around in my underwear. That is, if I wanted to.

For me, nothing screams Calgon (well, beside a bath) like lit candles. The warm flickering glow in contrast with the dimmed lights immediately puts me at ease. I can close my eyes and reflect on my busy, crazy day and appreciate how blessed I am.

Which probably explains why I have about a million candles.

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Staying In

Day 17. Staying in. I cannot tell a lie. And no, I'm not saying that in honor of President's Day this weekend.

I know the title of today's assignment is, "Staying In" but the truth is we didn't. We didn't stay in today. We decided to go out and explore.

I've been meaning to scout out some places for future photo sessions. It was rainy and cold all day yesterday and it's supposed to rain for the next couple of days. With the sun breaking out from behind the clouds today, I decided to pack the kids in the car (after Kindergarten pick up, of course) and go.

The kids weren't all that excited at first, until we got out and one, the place was surrounded by mud because it rained yesterday and two, there were rocks as far as the eye could see. Rocks + mud = fun for boys. Much fun.

After three bottles of water, two soaking wet tennis shoes (my son decided it would be fun to jump into the stream instead of crossing over it) and one chocolate granola bar, we were ready to go home. And just in time. The gray storm clouds were moving in, and fast.

Who knew staying in could be so much fun?




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Day 16. Together. As in, "I need to be in the photo, too." Such a challenge. When was the last time I was in a photo? Being the one behind the camera, it's extremely rare that you'll find a current photo of me. It's not that I don't like being in front of the camera (um, understatement!) but I absolutely love being behind the camera. I love being the one capturing the expressions, the feelings, the moments. I love being able to look at a photo and feel what that photo is conveying.

That being said, today's assignment was not easy. The only time I am in a photo is during Christmas, and that's when I insist we all gather together and take a photo, which is a task in itself. Getting the kids dressed, keeping them clean for 10 minutes and bribing them with numerous amounts of candy and video games. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't make any appearances in our thousands of frames hanging around the house.

I don't have a wireless shutter remote, so I set up the tripod and set my camera onto self-timer mode in order to take a photo of my sons and me. Easier said than done considering I have a 2-year-old that I would describe as "busy." You know you aren't crazy when complete strangers walk up to you and ask, "Are you just completely tired at the end of the day?!?" Obviously, they have only caught a glimpse of my little one.

But 14 shots later, I think we got a great one.




Day 15. Kiss. I really did intend this photo to be focused on my son's lips. I had him puckering at the camera, focusing on the wonderful shape of his little lips, his kiss so close to my lens. All of a sudden, he got up, grabbed something and stuck it in his mouth.

Yes, he's already set directing.

I love kisses from my kids. It's what, as Moms, keeps us going. Remember the days when you would wake up every 45 minutes to feed them as a newborn? Amongst the grogginess, grumpiness and madness (all due to lack of sleep... really!) it only took a little smile, or a small scent of your little one to make you forget all your worries. You can't help but kiss their little head and realize that you are doing your best, and this is all for them.

Much like the other milestones you record in their baby book, the moment they are able to reciprocate your love by kissing and hugging you is a day, a feeling, a moment you will never forget.




Day 14. Jewelry. Having boys, jewelry isn't found in many places in our house. Unless you count Toy Story plastic rings and temporary tattoos.

I'm not much of a girly, jewelry person, but I will wear something nice for a special occasion. I wear my diamond studs and beautiful wedding ring and that's about it. Oh, and a black elastic band for my hair, which is really now an everyday bracelet.

My youngest son, on the other hand, loves to play with these plastic bead Mardi Gras necklaces his Grandparents picked up at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas. I'm not sure it's the color, the texture, or sound they make while squishing them together, but he loves them.




Day 13. Routines. We all have them. A daily schedule which doesn't really seem like a schedule. It seems like second-nature. It's what we do.

Every night, my oldest looks forward to taking his "squishy vitamins." I guess if I had these growing up, I'd look forward to them, too. Plus, according to the guidelines printed on the container, he gets to eat not only one, but two.

I'm not at all complaining about the vitamins I had while growing up. Flintstone vitamins rock! I guess that's why I sometimes would sneak 2 or 3 at a time. Which isn't bad, I suppose, knowing that I have a friend that almost finished the entire container in one day.

And, no, I didn't eat paste in preschool. Or kindergarten.



The Eyes

Day 12. The Eyes. You've probably heard that the eyes are the window to the soul.

Well, according to this photo of my son that I snapped while he was in a time-out (yes, I'm that kind of a mom) his soul seems to be pretty mad at me.

What his soul doesn't realize is that it's not okay to hit his Mommy. But in due time, he'll learn. I hope.

He probably won't be pleased with this photo when he gets old enough to realize it...





Day 11. Dreams. I have many of them. I have to remember that I can't let anything or anyone take them away from me.

Back in the day (or should I say before I had kids) I used to read for FUN. Yes, I used to pick up a book and get lost in it for recreational reasons, something I probably should have done more often as a wee little college kid with a textbook.

I would read mostly fiction, and enjoyed humorous books by David Sedaris, girly books by Sofie Kinsella and even some non-fiction open-your-eyes books like Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser.

Then I had kids.

Many books still adorn the bookshelf. All different shapes, sizes and colors. And maybe one day, hopefully soon, I'll pick up another book and get lost in it. Again.




Space (Where They are Comfortable)

Day 10. Space. No, not the Final Frontier, but where they feel comfortable. My boys love to rough house. They love to be goofy. They love to scream and shout at the top of their lungs for "fun." And really, indoors isn't the best option for all three at the same time (my ears and sanity can give you many reasons why it's not) so we usually retreat to our backyard for outdoor fun.

The swings? Fun. The slide? Even more fun. But the trampoline!  SO MUCH FUN! It's like a self-contained wrestling ring with a springy floor. Who wouldn't act wild in that? On the trampoline, it's okay to wrestle (who says you have to jump on the trampoline?) It's okay to run in circles until you lose your balance. It's okay to practice your best karate kick, even if you're not in karate.

It's also okay to lay down and watch the clouds go by.






Passions and Hobbies

Day 9. Passions and Hobbies. My son is a jock. A baseball playing, tennis loving, basketball junkie jock. He's interested in the players' numbers, names and what team they currently on. He can perfectly emulate most of the Dodgers' batting stance (well, last seasons team) and even showed off his skills to some of the players on The Jr. Dodgers Show. You can see him on the show here.

Although baseball is his favorite sport to play (well, it was a couple of months ago) he's really been into basketball lately. Everything is a slam dunk, whether it's a basketball going through a hoop, a toy that needs to be put away, or his pajamas going into the washing machine. We'll see if basketball still holds the court come Opening Day for T-Ball, which is next month. Be on the lookout for some T-Ball posts...


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Gift From the Heart

Day 8. Gift from the heart. When I read today's assignment (well, yesterday's) I couldn't really pinpoint one thing that my husband has given me, or my kids have given me. I can think of sooooo many things but I wanted to find that one thing that truly represents my most treasured gift from the heart. And then it hit me. I looked at my little bottle of  lotion next to my keyboard (amongst the stack of papers/toys/unpaid bills at my desk) and the name of the lotion said it all. Falling in Love.

I'm so thankful that my husband has been there for me. For me to fall in love with him. For us to have a family of our own to fall in love with. I love my boys, and I tell them that constantly all day.

Love is the gift my husband and kids have given me. And I love the opportunity to love them back.

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Who They Love

Day 6. Who they love. Well, besides my husband and me. As you may know, the subject for this monthly series has been my two boys. And as cheesy as it sounds, the answer to today's topic, "Who they Love" is: each other.

I grew up with one sister, and as much as we fought, we were always the closest of friends. Well, that is until she complained I kept copying everything she did (I am the little sister, you know...)

We played Barbies together, she made me clothing patterns for my Cabbage Patch dolls (we didn't have the money to actually buy new outfits for them, so we made our own) and she even taught me how to write my name in cursive when I was still in Kindergarten. What a cool big sister.

I think of these things every time I hear my boys play. And even when the laughter suddenly turns into crying and complaining, they are still communicating, right? I mean, having my 2-year-old slide right into his brother, at full-speed of course, at the bottom of the slide is "bonding," right?

I know that they will continue to be the best of friends. Even when my oldest complains that his brother keeps copying him.


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Love to Hate

Day 5. Love to Hate. I love, love, love my little guys. I love it that they need a hug from me when they fall down and scrape their knee. I love it that my 2-year-old calls me "Ba Ba" instead of "Mama." I love it when 5-year-old gives me a kiss and tells me that I'm the cutest Mommy.

But boy, does it irk me when they pick their scabs. Over and over. Again and again.

I've tried putting Band-Aids over the freshly picked area, but somehow, they find another sweet spot to scratch at. I just can't win.

I should take stock in Neosporin and Band-Aids.

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What They Wear

Day 4. Getting the hang of this. If you haven't noticed, I have boys. Boys who like to wrestle. Boys who like to dive head-first into the couch cushions. Boys who like to get dirty and don't really notice that they have maple syrup or banana or oatmeal all over their shirt.

So getting them dressed in the morning isn't that much of a challenge. My older one picks out his clothes for the day, and that process usually takes a nanosecond. Getting himself dressed and not running around in just his underwear is another story.

So here's what they are wearing today. No fuss. No pink.

My 5-year-old loves sports (yes, that's a jersey, and yes, that's a play broom he's tucking under his arm. He pretends it's a bat and constantly does his own play-by-play) and decided to bling it up this morning with some Toy Story rings. Oh, and I cannot forget the tattoo on his other arm.

My 2-year-old's fashion statement is more of a factual statement. Trust me.