Noah's Newly Discovered Talent

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quite by accident, he discovered he has a knack for the spoon-on-nose trick. And in his delight at this discovery, he promised me I could take portraits of him the next day showcasing this talent. SCORE!! For a kiddo reluctant to sit for photos, this is a BIG DEAL.

And I LOVE these photos. I love this kid. At 6.5 years old, he is one-of-a-kind: 

* he is so tall, and so OLD to me. He is just finishing kindergarten, but he seems a year older to me, all the time. 

* Noah is obsessed with Minecraft, reading books, playing Sim City on my iPad, the new Mickey Mouse short cartoons released on the Disney Channel, jumping on the trampoline, learning how to ride his bike (still FIRMLY on training wheels for now), and most recently he cannot stop talking about/reading/watching Teen Titans, and has identified strongly with the character Raven. 

* Noah loves daily peanut butter and honey sandwiches and is a really good eater of all other things we ask him to eat. 
* He is a really great brother to Lucy and Quinn--- truly he enjoys their company and their different abilities to be playmates, and almost never seems to resent that they are needier and more demanding of parental attention. 
* Noah will TALK YOUR EAR OFF when he is exited about things. Talking endlessly about Minecraft (which he still calls "MiningCraft"), or replaying scenes from Teen Titans, etc., he seems like he will never run out of steam. 
* He wears a full suit to church each Sunday and just got a new one from his grandparents since he outgrew last year's suit. He used to complain ALL THE TIME about dressing for and attending church, but somehow this has helped him a lot, and he never puts up a fuss anymore. And looks completely handsome to boot! 
* He recently confessed to having TWO girlfriends, one from AM kindergarten and one from PM kindergarten, the latter acquired when they went on a field trip to the zoo as a combined class. He told me in secretive tones one evening as I lay snuggled with him and Lucy on Lucy's bed, prolonging their bedtime a bit to just snuggle them and talk.  I love that he felt comfortable enough at that time to "confess".

* Noah reads at an exceptionally high level-- somewhere between 3rd and 5th grade. It boggles me even now to realize just how much of a natural he is at it. Most recently, as we have family scripture study, he demands to be given the longest verse and he reads it in the most unbelievably smooth, unhalting way. Amazing. 

* He also lives in a world of his own invention--- just thinking in game-terms and make-believe all the time. It is so amazing and cute and irritating and wonderful. Example: one day when he was practicing on his bike, he said to me, "Hey, Mom- I'm at about 40 power now!", talking like he'd "leveled up" and such. He is always talking about things like they're a game-- "level up", "power source", "health", etc. I SWEAR he's not playing video games all day, but he really has internalized the process of how video games work and loves to live "in" them. 

* When he wants us to play along with him in his make-believe world, he calls them HBG Games, a name he coined from the term "Who Be Games".... as in, "Who do you want to be?" He'll say, "Let's play an HBG game. Let's play Teen Titans. Who do you want to be? I'll be Raven." He's been doing HBG Games for a couple of years now... and my favorite is when he sees a new movie that catches his imagination, he'll "upload" that HBG Game and we have to play it--- but he will often still be his FAVORITE character, even if it's not from that new movie, while Joe and I have to be characters from the new movie (Example: Joe and I are from "Wreck it Ralph", but he is still Raven from Teen Titans.) He's got this whole complex system of worlds in his head, and I love it. 

* He is so sweet and so willing to help when I ask him for favors. I try so hard to remember to step back from treating him like the most useful kid, the oldest who should know all things and do them well, and try to let him revel in his childhood, too. I try to praise him a lot, and hug him a lot, and listen when he's asking for something different--trying to read between his words to see if maybe he's just asking for more of ME for a minute. 

He's so dear to me.... But he is getting so big, and so complex, that it is easy to forget how young he really is. Lucy and Quinn are lovable, kissable, SMOOSHABLE little ones still... and he's getting angular and toothy and sheepish at times... But he still needs me to hug him too much and tell him he's so cute.... To dote on him like we all do naturally with our babies. So I try to remember to listen and to pay attention and to let him go on and on and on and on about his passions.... and I relish the moments he lets me hug him too long, and I celebrate like crazy when he lets me take "real" photos of him, with REAL expressions. 

Like the ones above. 

That spoon-nose-talent kiddo of mine. My Noah. 


Way Back Six Months Ago: Fall Baby Photos

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Back in the fall, when I set up a backdrop set in my garage to capture some Quinn 9-month photos...When Lucy helped me check my settings, and Quinn himself just grinned gummily for the camera. Back before he was uber-mobile and totally unwilling to sit for photos... Back when it was still fall and the leaves were bright red. Photos I love. One of these Quinn images will get printed on canvas, big, to join my favorite 9-month image of Noah and my favorite 9-month image of Lucy. It's such a lovely age for catching a baby portrait, and I love having each of them immortalized on my wall. 

For tonight, here are my favorites from this day. 


1,000 Gifts: Pt. 1

Thursday, May 8, 2014

1. Waking up in my warm, comfortable bed, sun out, the sound of my husband and son downstairs getting ready for the day.

2. That season of time when Noah would sing along to Regina Spektor's "Eet", including the T...t...t...ts at the end.

3. Footrubs.
4. My son Quinn's ready smile, especially when I enter the room. 

5. Strettttccchhhing out on the couch and taking a mid-afternoon nap in a sun patch. 

6. Treasure-hunting at a flea market or thrift store... (I found that high chair in perfect condition at a shop just a mile down the road.)

7. Alison Krauss music. 

8. The way that Lucy wakes in the morning-- a brief moment of confusion, followed almost instantly by a shy stretching smile that takes over her whole face... Like sunshine. 

9. Combing her hair in the mornings as she eats her breakfast.

10. Going to a movie at the theater, with a cold drink and contraband (cheaper) candy.

11. Long phone calls with a best friend.

12. Sisterhood circles-- those women that just get it, and get me, and love me anyway.  

13. Noah's vast imagination and pretend worlds he lives in-- so completely consuming and irritating and wonderful and perfect. 

14. When my kids want to make art-- to paint or play in clay or use scissors and hole punches... 
(Do you see Old Mai?)

15. This kid's bold, brave, belly-first toddle.

16. Fresh raspberries. 

17. And asparagus. 

18. When this guy gets home. From work, or school, or a trip away... When he is home, home is home. 

19. Crouching down with arms outstretched, and one of my kiddos runs pell-mell into my hug.

20. Perfect spring evenings.

21. Catching a real smile with my camera. 

22. Sweet light. 

24. Baby boys in onesie rompers.

25. Kissing my babies' necks, tips of their noses, feet... all over. 

26. The nostalgia of smelling freshly-cut grass and hearing a lawn mower purr in the distance. 

27. Driving on a perfect evening, before it's fully night, with the windows down and great music playing loud.

28. Getting packages in the mail. 

29. Hugging Joe from behind. 

30. Finding a book you can't put down. 

31. Burt's Bees chapstick. 

32. Moms. (Grandmoms.)

33. These big brown eyes and how much he needs me.

34. This trampoline hair. Every time. 

35. Jump shots. 

36. Getting outside as often as possible. 

37. Dandelions. I don't care what the world at large thinks of them. I love them. 

38. This one's curiosity and sponge-brain.

39. Mama selfies.

40. Fresh journals. 


Keep looking, keep listing.... more show up all the time when you're open to them.... 1,000 gifts. (Thanks, Ann Voskamp, for the phrase, the book....Thanks, Sarah Ban B. for planting the original idea over 13 years ago. Gratitude is magic.)

Hey, TigerHead.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Just one day back in February, average day, typical Lucy moment--- donning random things to wear, asking for my help to get each of her little fingers in the finger spots of those grown-up gloves, left behind by a one-time babysitter we'll probably never see again. Photos I love because they catch such "her"-ness.... I know one day she'll be so different, and I want to look back at these and feel this age of hers viscerally. Photos I love because even though they're from the big camera, they feel like my Instagram images, and that makes me happy--- that sometimes, somehow, I can change the way I shoot..... edit.... SEE. Photos I love and I am sharing and that is all I have for tonight. 

Wishing everyone peace and clarity tomorrow.... Sunday...a good day for peace and clarity, dontcha think?
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