Our Families, Our Stories Part 3

We are collaboratively committing to capture the everyday lives of our families, to photograph things we don’t want to forget, to express our love for our families through our cameras. This is the third of hopefully many installments of “Our Families, Our Stories.” These images were created in December, leading up to Christmas Day.

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Your Elf, Star, came home on December 1, as she has for the past 4 years. You anxiously awaited her arrival and enjoyed her daily antics and surprises until she left to return to the North Pole once Christmas was over.

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Every year you receive an Advent calendar to celebrate each day of the holiday season. Building with ‘Legos Friends’ kept you busy this year.

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We have a stash of Christmas books that only come out for the month of December. I began collecting these books since before Shaw was born and have added to the collection year after year, and you both have received many more as gifts from family members.

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It is a family tradition to adorn the tree with a new ornament each year. This one represents Lauren’s current love of music. Shaw’s ornament for this year was one with the Stetson University logo, but unfortunately, mama dropped it and broke it before it was photographed.

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One Friday night in December, the school hosted a movie night in the gym. You enjoyed watching ‘The Grinch’ in an unconventional place, but you loved playing with your friends afterward even more!

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December means new a new pair of warm and soft jammies and more-than-usual servings  of hot chocolate.

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Christmas lights are absolutely magical! I very much admire and appreciate the people who go all out with their displays so that families like ours can enjoy the gorgeous eye candy.

-Love and hugs and kisses, Mama Julie

~~~

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   Little Man, This picture tells so many stories for me… you are like your Mama and love to watch life go by outside the window. It also tells me about the excitement and anticipation you had this year for Christmas. Your little body is growing and your feet are getting so big. I wish that I could freeze this Christmas season and  hold on just a little longer.

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     You boys had so much fun playing in the snow. (It doesn’t snow very often around here and it rarely sticks for more than a few hours.)  O, you were a little too cool for snow pants or zipping up your jacket.

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   Our Christmas Fairy, Charlotte, brought Christmas jammies at the beginning of December. Of course, Mama wanted to get a picture of you all. I took a few shots to test my settings and L, you were so upset as you thought I was taking pictures without you.

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        In our house, the Christmas tree goes up early in December. Once Daddy gets down all the Christmas boxes, he usually sits back on the couch while the 3 of you carefully decorate the tree with all of our special ornaments and treasures. And Mama takes pictures. Santa hats and Christmas jammies were the outfits of the evening.

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          One night, we decided to write your letters to Santa. We found 3 different letters that would work for your different ages. Middle Man, you needed a little convincing that you could write a good letter but of course, you did it! Afterward, we addressed the letters and walked up to the mailbox to mail them to Santa. Maybe he will answer your letters?

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L, you were finished school extra early this year so you got to have a little extra screen time while Mama rushed around trying to finish Christmas cards and baking before the big kids finished school.

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     We played hooky on the last day of school. Shhhhh, it’s our tradition!  We went for breakfast together and then went to see Santa. It was so magical as Santa greeted each of you by name. You were all so excited to see him and Mama was a big old puddle of tears.  #mythreeintheframe

Believe in the magic of Christmas!  All my love forever, Mama Andrea  🙂

~~~

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My little son you are growing so fast and you are on the move. There are moments that you still seem so little and so much like a baby and then there are moments when you are striking out and doing your own thing, fearless and happy. Seeing you drag this favorite Christmas toy around makes me think you wish you had a doggie or kitty to walk with you.

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These days where you two still enjoy showering together remind me that you all are still so young but those days are leaving far too soon. When you ask why Momma brings her camera to the bathroom, this is why. I don’t ever want to forget that you all were this young and we were a family all together in one space. Before you all grow up and the time comes where you crave privacy and need your space. You tell me that you will live with us forever, would that it were true. ❤

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Being together like this means the world to me. Seeing my whole world in one space and one moment in time is something I always want to remember. The chaos of the days with school and then holidays on top of it can be overwhelming, but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. I am exactly where I want to be when I am with you all. You all mean everything to me ❤

Love you all, Momma Ronne ❤

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Christmas is my very favorite holiday!  It’s not the actual day that’s my favorite (although Christmas is pretty wonderful), it’s the whole month of December and all of the special and unique traditions that only Christmastime can bring!  Snowflake’s arrival usually kicks off our holiday and is the most treasured tradition in our home.  Squealing can be heard throughout the house when she arrives.  She always brings a breakfast of snowballs from the North Pole and usually includes another treat or two!

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Christmas trees are another fun tradition at our house.  We lovingly refer to Miss Rowan as the “Tree Nazi.” You have very particular rules as to how the tree should be decorated.  You refuse to let us turn on the lights until after all of the decorations are up so that we can have a “big reveal” at the end.  This kind of kills your photographer mother, as she would love to get beautiful and artistic photos of you decorating the tree. Lucky for me, we have 2 Christmas trees, so I allow you to have your rules for one and I get to have the lights on while decorating the other.  I’m trying to figure out how to have 3 trees next year!  Perhaps Emme will have to develop her own set of rules!

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At some point during the month Snowflake always brings gingerbread houses to decorate.  I’m never sure who gets more candy–the houses or the two of you!  Although Snowflake brought 2 separate houses this year  (in the past she’s always brought one but fighting usually occurs), they both turned out looking remarkably the same.  That seems to be the way with most things these days.  Emme sure loves her sister and tries to emulate everything she does!

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The live nativity is quickly becoming another favorite tradition.  It’s freezing cold (Californians are wimps!!), so we bundle up in our warmest jackets, scarves and hats, grab a starbucks treat with friends and sit with a number of other people from the community listening to the story of Jesus birth and signing old traditional hymns.  It’s beautiful and peaceful and embodies the spirit of the season.

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One of my favorite things to watch this Christmas was the joy you each had in making homemade gifts for the family.  I certainly hope this becomes a tradition!  I love giving and receiving handmade gifts and there was nothing quite like watching the 2 of you get involved and excited about creating meaningful gifts for others.

I have always loved Christmas, but being able to spend it with the two of you has magnified the holidays for me.   My heart is filled with so much joy watching the 2 of you and experiencing your excitement that sometimes I think it just might burst!

love you like crazy, forever & always!  Mom

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Our Families, Our Stories Part 2

condWe are collaboratively committing to capture the everyday lives of our families, to photograph things we don’t want to forget, to express our love for our families through our cameras. This is the second of hopefully many installments of “Our Families, Our Stories.” These images were created from November 20-30.

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Pop’s garage has been a place where Shaw has listened to a lot of words of wisdom over the years, and when he was home from Stetson for a long weekend, this was no exception. I’d love to be a fly on the wall to hear what they talk about.

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Her beautiful artwork adorned the entryway to Gramma and Pop’s house on Thanksgiving Day.

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Lauren, you will never be this age again. You love your dolls. You love wearing anything costum-y. You love Tuesday evening gymnastics class. You fully love life. I hope you always will.

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I believe in traditions. I have tried to live in such a way and raise my kids in such a way as to create traditions and to celebrate and revere our traditions. One special tradition for Thanksgiving is Gramma (my mom) cooking her mom’s stuffing. Shaw has been ‘breaking bread’ with her in preparation for the stuffing for many years.

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Silly puppies. They follow us wherever we go in our home. They think they are four legged humans and have to know what we are doing at all times. On this particular afternoon, Lauren was decorating the front window for Thanksgiving, and the dogs were right there beside her, inspecting her every move.

-Much, much love from Mama (Julie)

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Lucienne when I see you here holding your camera and looking up at me, it’s one of those moments that reminds me of how great the influence a parent has on their child. For now you want to be just like me, and it won’t always be this way. One day you will be your own person and those traits that are like me will either be the ones that bother you the most or that you embrace with love. I am down for the entire ride and will always see you as the child who made me want to be a better person. ❤

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Nohl you are so lucky to have a Daddy that will get on every piece of playground equipment with you. May you two always share the playful gene and never outgrow the desire to run free. ❤

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Lucienne you are so much like your Dad. Always trying to climb to the highest places. I can’t wait to see how high you climb in life.

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Mathais you are so in love with your Daddy. You two share the most special of bonds and I know you will have his wicked sense of humor.

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My family all together for one moment still ❤

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He is so happy and proud to be a Dad and no one has ever done a better job ❤

We are so fortunate ❤

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Nohl when you asked me for a picture of George Washington and told me it had to be on a dollar bill I would have emptied my bank account for you. Words cannot tell you how much love I have for you and I see the special qualities of your personality in ways I think only I can ❤

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Baby girl you aren’t so babyish anymore but you still fit in the small spaces and as always you bring light wherever you go ❤

Love Momma Ronne

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Middle Man and Little Man, I am so grateful that you have each other.  The two of you spend hours playing sports together. (The walls and doors of our basement are marked with the swipes of hockey sticks and pucks. So now you are stuck playing with mini sticks and soft balls.)  Although there is much competition and strong feelings between you, I know deep down that you love each a lot.

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My sweet girl, you are so artistic and creative. Lately, you love watching  Youtube  “How To” videos so that you can make towns & objects for your Little Pet Shop toys. Tonight you were very busy making a Christmas toy slide for your beloved Hamster, Blossom.

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O, this picture may not be very exciting but to me, it has so many elements of “you, aged 7” that I want to remember. You are still a very picky eater but you LOVE your bars and Cheerios (with no milk , of course.) You love watching mountain bike videos on your tablet.( In fact, you told me that you will one day ride in Redbull Rampage and play NHL hockey as well. Dream big, my boy.)  You are never without your T-Bird hockey hat. (I LOVE how your little ear is tipped down by your hat. It reminds me of my grandfather who had the same ears when he wore hats. So sweet!)  You only wear short shelve t-shirts right now (and your black Nike pants & sweatshirt. Every. Single. Day!)

fhweek2-7 Christmas is such a special time of year. Darling M, it is all still so magical for you and I hope that you BELIEVE in the magic of Christmas for all your days. Your sweet and innocent heart is just one the many things that make up the amazing you.

All my Love, Mama (Andrea)

_mg_0367-editDecember is truly the most magical time of the year and something I look forward to and dream of all year long!  Magic is everywhere in December and I love seeing this season through your eyes!  It is all beautiful and exciting!  My sweet girl, you are 8, and I think I always imagined that the magic would be over for you by now, but that could not be further from the truth.  I love how excited you are by our family traditions

_mg_0352Part of what I love about December, in particular, are all of the evenings spent by the fireplace, watching movies, cuddling and spending special time together in our home…

_mg_0591An unexpected visit from your bestie…and on a school night!!!  The two of you had so much fun “catching” snowflakes.  With all of the banging on the garage, I thought the house might fall down!  But even all of that noise could not compare to the sounds of your shrieks of laughter…

_mg_0451We try to fit in so many special outings during the holidays, but you have told me that of everything we do, the tradition of hot cocoa and cake at the Madonna Inn is your most favorite!  It’s a wonderful afternoon filled with love, laughter and sweet treats with the special ladies in our life.  I look forward to many more Christmas hot chocolate dates with you and your sister at this magical, completely over-the-top, gaudy, beautiful place!

_mg_0953More than the expectation of presents, what I hope the 2 of you remember most when you look back at the holidays, is the time spent making memories with the people we love.  These days are so fleeting and so special.  I hope you always spend December making time for what matters most…

Love you like crazy forever and always!  Mom

Our Families, Our Stories

We are collaboratively committing to capture the everyday lives of our families, to photograph things we don’t want to forget, to express our love for our families through our cameras. This is the first of hopefully many installments of “Our Families, Our Stories.” These images were created from November 12-19.

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Lauren, you love playing with your neighborhood friends in the afternoons. Sometimes you ride bikes, sometimes you play Barbies on our front lawn, sometimes you run, giggle and dance. It is a joy for me to watch you through our kitchen window…to watch you simply being a carefree 7 year old.

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Our Bailey-Girl is 12 and a half years old. She has always been a part of your life, Lauren, and as for you, Shaw, I doubt you really remember life before her; she has been a sweet constant for all of us. We all love when she chooses to lay near us, to keep us company.

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My love, you do not travel lightly, and I have to admit that you get that from me! This photo represents a typical school morning for you, with your backpack bulging at the seams, your lunchbox in one hand and water bottle in the other, your purse layered across your body and your jacket draped over your arm. With all of these belongings, I think it is safe to say you are always prepared for whatever second grade has in store for you.

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Daddy had been fighting buying a pair of reading glasses for quite awhile and finally gave in a couple weeks ago. On this particular night, you were working on a science assignment and asked him to help you find a magenta colored crayon, so he needed those glasses to see the tiny print on the crayon labels!  He took his job of crayon finder very seriously by ‘Googling’ magenta to see what shade he was searching for.

~ Julie

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Darling girl, I am so aware that you are on the cusp of being a teenager when I see you like this.  You and your tablet are joined at the hip these days. Thankfully, you are usually watching Littlest Pet Shop craft videos. Then you spent hours designing and creating little building and structures for your LPS figures.

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L, This is the last year of having you home every afternoon so I am trying to savour this moments.  You wanted to play Monopoly JR. with me this afternoon.  So we got out the game and set up the board. Then you plopped yourself down in my lap and we played. (You beat me, by the way!)

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Little Man, You are almost 5 and slowly losing those sweet remnants  of  a preschooler. In many ways, you have grown up faster than your brother and sister, yet you will always be the baby of the family. (Oh boy, do you ever treasure that role sometimes. 😉 )  Today you went to a birthday party and you completely embraced the simple magic of the party… facing painting, songs, a story and cupcakes. It was a joy to watch you just being you.

 ~  Mama (Andrea)

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You are our youngest son, our gift, the one who came along and completed our family. You have just learned to walk in the most bowlegged way and you are in love with moving. I spend too many days in this chair looking at your longing face and for that I am sorry. I promise to be here for you always and to show you everything I know. You will be among the best and the brightest and our family and the world are better for having you in it.

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I’ve always got my eye on you. My heart, my middle son. No matter how many of us are in the room and how much chaos is going on around us, we have a bond that I am so privileged and grateful for.
“When you smile I am undone
My son
Look at my son. Pride is not the word I’m looking for
There is so much more inside me now….. you outshine the morning sun.
My son
When you smile, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart”

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The fog of your baby years is thick and I honestly don’t know how you are 7,  our oldest child. The days where I get to make you your hot chocolate in your Noel cup are numbered and I don’t want to take one marshmallow minute for granted. I hope we are always as close as we are at this age. You are such a light in this world and the thought that I won’t see you everyday some day is more than I can take.

~ Momma (Ronne)