Frank. And only Frank. Thanks, Kid. I’m now sick of Frank.

Every night and every nap for the last two years my daughter has had to listen to Frank Sinatra’s “In The Wee Small Hours” album while she’s falling asleep.

I’ve tried to change the music without her knowing but as young as two she would look at me and say “no. I want frank.” In the beginning she called him “Frank Satra,” but as she grew she knew how to pronounce his name clearly and she let me know no one else would do – no Nat King Cole or Diana Krall or even a different album by Frank.

I finally slipped in some Dean Martin from his “Sleep Warm” album, skipping over the slightly faster songs thrown in the middle of the more gentle and melodic tunes, and she accepted it.

Last night I decided to try some Sarah Vaughn, who I’ve never actually listened to that much, but we only got two songs in before I heard an exasperated sigh in the dark.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, hoping to God she did not ask me for the snack she’d tried to tell me she needed a few moments earlier, even though it was way past her bedtime.

“It’s the music,” she said with exasperation dripping off each word. “It’s just not working.”

Now it was my turn for a sigh. I switched the Apple Music on my phone to the playlist of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

She relaxed in the darkness, obviously content, and in less than five minutes she was fast asleep to the smooth, soothing baritone of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

Someday we’ll find another artist who lulls her into a state of pure relaxation but for now Dean and Frank remain our close and repetitive friends.

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She’s quite fond of the slimy creatures. 10 on 10 for June

My 3-year old daughter is a caretaker.

She takes care of her stuffed animals and our pets and other people’s pets. Sometimes she takes care of me and once in awhile her brother (though she’s usually bossing him around). What she really enjoys taking care of, though, are worms and bugs. I don’t get it, but she likes rolly pollies and worms and wants to put them in containers to keep them safe whenever she finds them. I try to explain that they are safe outside because that’s their home, but it doesn’t always work.

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We had filled the pool in our backyard one night this week and for some reason the water on the grass drew a huge worm, one we country folk call a “nightcrawler” right out of the mud. My toddler was delighted. DSC_0104DSC_0101She was delighted to show it to her brother and make a video for her dad, who was at work, and she was delighted when I said she could keep the worm in a plastic container from the kitchen if we added some wet soil to it for it to live in for awhile.

She most likely wouldn’t be delighted that yesterday she couldn’t find the worm so I took it all outside to look myself and discovered the worm was indeed gone. My closest guess is that our very large, moody cat ate it.

I think we’ll have to be a little more careful about taking care of our worms in the future.

This post is part of a monthly blog circle that publishes the 10th day of the month and features 10 photos from the previous month on either one day or throughout the month. To continue the circle please click over to Shea Kleundler’s blog

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Are you a blogger, advertiser, or have you been put in charge of advertising at your church or another organization? Maybe you are in need of some faith-focused images for your project, whatever that project is. If so, you can find some great images at Lightstock.com. I’m a photographer contributor and simply a supporter of the site. While I am a contributing photographer I wouldn’t expect you to feel obligated to use my photos from the site because there are some amazing artists who you support when you purchase from Lightstock. *disclaimer: by clicking on the link you are supporting me as an affiliate and I will receive a small payment for that referral.

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Four on Four for June and the messy kids

Welcome to Clickin’ Moms Four on Four blog circle. For more posts featuring four photos from the previous month click on Bianca Symons and follow the circle all the way around.

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The oldest found a ditch full of mud and soon it was all over his hands.

 

And then it was all over her, hands, arms, legs, bright red dress with tiny, white polka dots.

And instead of stopping them I photographed it.

There was a warm breeze and the sun was shining on a day the weather man said it would rain. I always know I’m going to get into trouble on the days I take photos instead of stopping them. I weigh the pros and consand decide if the gentle, usually joking commentsfrom Mom or the husband are worth it. 

“You just took photos while they stomped in the mud?”

“Put the camera down and grab him!” Mom told me when my son was a year and started up our stairs. Of course, later we all laughed watching his chunky, diapered rear end waddle up one step at a time, me only a few steps behind.

Though never putting them in danger, there is something thrilling about pushing the photographic risk to the edge to capture the defining shot, knowing your documenting life at its best. 

 

Defining childhood.

Defining heartbreak.

Defining joy.

Defining moments.

Simply with the click of the shutter. 

Definition of life’s little details, forever solidified frozen for future generations. 

The little girl who loved ants

I’m not sure how Miss G’s fascination with ants started or even when but since it’s started we have had to learn to leave enough time before we go somewhere so she can to stop and watch the ants scurry around in their little world on the sidewalk in front of the house. She also needs time to talk to them and have a little conversation.

Maybe it all started when we watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and the kids befriended that ant while they were miniaturized. Shortly after we watched it she was on all fours on the sidewalk, talking to the tiny insects about her plans for the day and asking them how they were.

One day I dropped a piece of chicken on the ground while trying to carry the groceries in and by the time I went back out to get the rest of the groceries ants were beginning to swarm the meat, break it down and carry pieces off to their home. 

Miss G had already noticed them but I pointed out how they were moving the food and how strong they were , despite their size and she began watching and talking to them. We broke the chicken into smaller pieces and she tossed pieces down saying “here, ants… food!”, trying to take care of them, much like she does our cats and did our sweet Copper. Of course in true toddler style she sort of forced her hospitality on the animals by following them around with their food dish and demanding “eat, kitty! Eat!”

Her interest has now expanded from ants to other insects, including a caterpillar we found one day on our walk after school. It took a lot of convincing for her to finally leave the caterpillar outside. She had decided he was coming inside to be her pet. We even carried him to our front sidewalk but then I told her he needed to stay outside so he could find his family.

This story backfired on me about a week later when we went to the spare room at my parents to lay down for a nap and found a odd looking insect. Out of panic I tossed a book on top of it which prompted Miss G to say “don’t hurt him! He has to go back to his family!” 

I can just see my future – being like my dad and scooping creepy insects up with a piece of paper and a cup and putting them outside instead of squishing them under my shoe. 

So far she’s decided she doesn’t like spiders, probably because I make it clear I am not a fan of them. At least I don’t have to spare the lives of spiders I find in our house. I’ll do almost anything for this little girl but I’m not sure I can bring myself to scoop up one of those in a cup. 

What are we waiting for? | Ulster, Pennsylvania Child Photographer

I  meet my son’s bus at an old school parking lot and usually we head home right away to make dinner and get ready for karate or to get homework started.

This past week we’ve had warm temperatures and sunny days but I’ve been too busy to enjoy it. By the time I have been ready to experience some of the warmth, the sun is already sinking below the hills that surround the small town we live in.

One day I took my daughter out of her seat as we waited for her brother and admired the golden light of the already setting sun. When my son got off the bus I heard myself say:

“Oh wow… Look at that light … It’s amazing.”

I knew we had to get home, get dinner done and get to karate. No time for photography or having fun or just cutting loose. I had to start being responsible and stop being such a goof off, as I tend to find myself being.

“Then what are we waiting for?” I heard my son say and before I could remind him we have responsibilities he took took off across the still green grass, tinted golden by the sun.

Without even thinking I was carrying the baby across the grass and watching my son climb a tree limb that had broken off one tree and fallen against another.

Soon My daughter was trying to eat dried black walnuts and I was admiring the sun flare behind her head.

I forgot schedules and responsibility and we ran down a hill and laughed and hugged each other while the sun set behind us.

Sometimes we need those spontaneous moments of joy. We need to put aside what we tell ourselves are responsibilities but are probably only things we do because someone else does and we don’t want to look like a bad parent to someone else.

My son seems to often transform mundane moments into magical ones. Watching him climb the tree limb, sitting at the top,proud of his accomplishment, I found myself admiring his willingness, maybe even his determination to seize the moment and go with the flow.

Before I had children I saw parents as the teachers and the children as students but now that I’m a mother i realize my son often leads me and where he leads me is into a world where the focus is on what is true, real and important.

Letting go is hard to do. A letter to my son | Athens PA Child Photographer

This is part of a series called Letters to My Son, where I write a letter to my son once a month.
To my son:

I’m not going to lie. I’m having a very hard time with you going back to school in a day. When I say hard, I mean my chest gets tight, my face scrunches funny and my eyes feel hot with tears and I feel weak in my knees.

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I’m not ready for you not to be home with me every day. I’m not ready to not be able to rub your little back or kiss your cute head whenever I want. I’m not ready to not hear you building your Legos and creating stories with them, or listening as you tell me what you’ve made on Minecraft that day.

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Someday I won’t be able to reach the top of your head to kiss it, I know that. Someday I won’t hear you ask me to come see your latest creation on Minecraft or your latest drawing. Someday you won’t even care if I watch you jump off the side of the pool or ride your new bike, or build your latest Lego robot.

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You are so bright and creative and witty and fun. You make every day better, more fun, more interesting, and definitely more worthy to live. I never know what new adventure awaits me when your feet hit the floor each morning and that’s a pretty awesome (yet sometimes scary) feeling.

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You’re such an amazing big brother. I hope you know that. You care for your sister, keep her out of trouble, help me care for her, and, as Grandma once said, you show her how to love by being loving to her. Each hug, each kiss, each cuddle shows Gracie what love really is and the fact you know this at only 8-years of age makes me realize we must be doing something right as your parents.

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So here we are with only a few days left of summer. I can’t put the brakes on time; I can’t make it stand still, no matter how much I want to. Instead, I’m trying to enjoy each time you put your arms around me. I’m trying to focus on each moment we have together, each story you tell me, each kiss you give me and each laugh we share. I’m letting my cheek linger against the top of your buzzed head when I hold you.

You’re going to have an amazing school year. I know that. Third grade is going to be challenging. There will be tears. You and I will both get frustrated. We may even yell at each other a bit. But we’re going to survive it – together.

Love you, kid

Mom

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