First Day of Camp

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We’ve been anticipating this day with equal parts excitement and dread (at least on my part!) knowing that Jasper would be getting on a bus by himself for the first time and going to a camp where he’s never been before.

I’ve blogged many times before about how he’s not great with transitions and this will be his first change since he started at daycare when he was just 3 months old.  Even still sometimes when I would drop him off to daycare pre-k where he has known everyone his whole life he would still beg me to stay for a few minutes with him.. and that’s why I just can’t imagine him getting off that schoolbus with his little monkey backpack and his baseball cap and seeing a whole unfamiliar world surrounding him!

Jeff did bring him to meet his counselor yesterday at the meet and greet and he will be in the same troop as three of his good friends so I’m 90% sure he’s going to be fine – probably MORE than fine, but I just couldn’t help but be completely weepy when he greeted the bus counselor shyly and climbed aboard:

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After he got on the bus at 8am sharp, Jeff went to work and I got the girls ready for our day and the house was so quiet without Jasper.  As I ran around gathering our supplies for the girls at daycare I would see Jasper’s daycare bag with his sheets for nap (they don’t nap at camp) and just get teary all over again.

I’m just so in awe at how quickly he’s growing up.

And Jasper if you ever read this someday, I want you to know how proud your daddy and I are of you, and how you willingly got on that school bus to meet whatever unknown awaited you like the brave boy you are.

We love you so much and can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

 

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His Almost Graduation Day

Jasper’s will turn 5 in August, which is after the cutoff date for public school Kindergarten so everyone has been very surprised that we have decided to keep him back in Pre-K one more year.  Now in Waldorf school (where I HOPE he will go next year??) the cutoff is much later and they routinely hold children back depending on if they show signs of readiness that have nothing to do with birth date so it’ seems natural to me.  But I’ve gotten many raised eyebrows about it that I feel like explaining.

Mostly it’s that he tends to be a bit shy – I don’t want him also having the additional “handicap” of being one of the youngest boys in his class.

This hold back/ vs send early is actually something that we experienced in our family growing up as my sister and I are both early fall birthdays and  I was not held back but she was.  As a result, I was always one of the youngest in my class and she the oldest.

Now I didn’t struggle per se, but I was VERY conscious of age.. like I would think people wouldn’t want to be friends with me if they knew I was one of the youngest. For some reason it seemed like a  huge stigma to me.

My sister on the other hand was such a leader in her class.. a total queen bee!   So I’ve always known that if I had a choice, I’d rather give Jasper the confidence advantage that comes with age.

The problem with this decision is that nearly ALL the kids that have been his close friends in school (some since they were infants!) are now moving on, leaving him with just two of his close friends left in a classroom that now has some kids that are almost 2 years younger than him.

I could have had him switch schools to do his final year of Pre-K at the Waldorf school, but honestly I just am not quite ready to tackle early school day closings, multiple holidays, summers off, having him in a different school than his sisters and all the logistical gymnastics it would take for him to switch. So he’ll be doing one more year at his current daycare Pre-K where he will be the oldest child. Fingers crossed I don’t regret my decision!

So that’s the rather long preamble to the fact that last night was “graduation day” for almost all of friends.. many of whom are younger than Jasper!

Here is his crew of great friends, only two will remain next year:

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And here is their whole class with some of the younger children as well:

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Just as we were about to leave, I saw Jasper’s longtime crush (let’s call her “G”) looking very sad.  I asked her mom what was wrong and she said that she was sad to be leaving Jasper. There is a whole long backstory here about G and Jasper, but lest just say he really worked for her affection! So it was so sweet to hear she’d be missing him too. When I asked her if she’d like a picture with him before she left she readily agreed:

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It was hard for me to take these images because the twins were also there, but I’m SO glad I was able to capture these memories for Jasper (and ok, his overly sentimental mama!) of the early strong friendships that he made in daycare.

So Happy graduation to Jasper’s dear friends.. we will BOTH miss you terribly!

 

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The month he turned into a fish..

Our “new” house (that we moved into over a year ago) has a pool.  Its a wonderful glorious thing, and I honestly feel like I’m vacationing every weekend. In my own home. It’s that fabulous

But as the mother of now THREE young children, the fact that we have a pool and children that don’t know how to swim is also quite terrifying.  So terrifying that I actually signed up Jasper to go to a local daycamp for two months this year despite the exorbitant price tag, because they are known for their strong swimming program.

Campers swim twice a day, once for instruction and once for free swim.  So even though I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes every time I think about the fact that in one week I have to put him on a schoolbus to go to a place he’s never been before – I knew it was the best thing for his safety.

Well, in typical Jasper fashion,  Jasper took things into his own hands and basically started swimming on his own.!

To truly understand how unlikely this transformation truly is, you have to realize that just a few short weeks ago he would come completely unglued if he got so much as a drop of water in his eyes during bath time.

Now, he is completely fearless of going under, getting his eyes wet, snorkling and even of DIVING. Yes diving, headFIRST!

I didn’t even realize how crazy it is that he just decided to dive yesterday and did it right the first time with no practice or instruction until my mom pointed out how normally someone TEACHES  you how to dive.. and then yes, I started remembering such lessons myself: stand or kneel at the edge of the pool, put hands on top of head and kind of “fall” into the water… nope, not my boy:

(please excuse my reference to how much time we have left, this was my first instagram video and I’m used to 6 second vines!!)

When I think about this, I realize what a perfect metaphor it is for my Jasper. Stubborn as the day is long – you can’t push him to do anything. But the second he is ready to do it, he dives in head first and doesn’t look back.

Can you tell I’m a proud mama?

And just because, here are a few more pictures from our poolside weekends!

lots o kids.

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I hope you all had a wonderful summer weekend as well!

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Happy 8 months Sasha & Willow!

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My dear sweet girls.. how did you get to be 8 months old already? This age is just so fun and sweet that (minus that sleep deprivation) I would seriously consider freezing time if I could.   I love watching your skills and personalities develop.

Sasha you are a CHAMPION jumper. You could bounce the whole day away in the jumperoo if we let you.  Not just dangling with an occasional jump, I mean jumping at full speed.  More recently, you learned how to clap and now you clap ALL the time. It’s really so sweet!

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Willow, you have started babbling in earnest this month – now saying Daddadadda and mammmama and most recently you discovered how to make raspberry sounds!  And as always you are sweet and smiley and a joy to be around:

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But there’s nothing that I love more than when you babble to each other.. speaking a language only the two of you can understand..

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Oh the secrets  you will share someday..

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Your 8 month birthday just so happened to correspond with your first time swimming!  You both took to it in ways that befit your personalities perfectly. Sasha, you swam and flapped and kicked your legs and smiled:

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And Willow, after the initial shock of the temperature wore off you promptly put your head down on your outstretched arm and proceeded to nod off as you floated. It is truly amazing how you can manage to find a way to recline in any situation!

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And here I am in my “Is-it-pinup-or-just-gramma-style” swimsuit, with my two beautiful girls and their little swim pods – it was a happy moment (thanks to Ami for snapping pictures of the three of us together!)

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I feel like you are both on the verge of SO MUCH right now.. your random mammas and dadadadas seem to correspond to the actual person in  your presence – it is starting to feel more and more like you are talking and not just babbling! I am simultaneously excited and terrified at the new mobility that is just around the corner for you.  For right now, I’m trying to enjoy every last minute of the sitting but not yet moving stage.. which isn’t hard when you look this cute!

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I’m so excited by the arrival of summer, and sharing the way our home feels like a vacation house every weekend..with friends, BBQs, swimming -we all love you so very much and can’t wait to share all the summer fun with you both!

 

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Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you all had a fantastic mother’s day. I’m happy to report that my guys went to great lengths to ensure that I had a wonderful day.

The festivities started off Friday afternoon at the Mother’s Day tea at Daycare. I have to say, the teachers really outdid themselves with craft projects this year. Preschool crafts make me all teary, they are just the sweetest things! I love my flower, mamapiller, card and silhouette I got from Jasper:

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And these adorable handprints in frames from the girls!

Then when Mother’s Day Sunday rolled around I got to sleep until 8:15!!! I can’t even tell you how luxurious that felt.

We all had breakfast and Jeff & Jasper went off to soccer practice during which time the girls took a nice long nap which gave me some much needed photo editing time on my computer.

When Jeff and Jasper got home, Jeff hinted that maybe I should go “clean the kitchen” so they could “clean the living room”. As Jeff was setting up my gifts, Jasper would keep coming into the kitchen and give me a report on how clean the living room was and if I could come in yet or not.. it was so cute to see him trying so hard to keep up a ruse, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him be complicit in anything like that before!

Finally when the living room was “clean” I walked in to find the most beautiful cards, flowers and gifts! I got the weights AND the tripod I asked for. Such a lucky mama!

Next, we headed out to meet my parents for a wonderful lunch at a new restaurant in town that has been getting rave reviews and I was dying to try. As you might imagine, I was a bit worried that the girls would make our dining experience anything but relaxing..or worse, that they would ruin everyone ELSE’S dining experience. But once again, they completely surprised us by being so well behaved that almost every employee at the restaurant stopped to tell us how delightful our babies are! They sat in their stroller and chewed on breadsticks for the better part of 45 minutes and promptly fell asleep.

This is the sort of behavior that I used to marvel at in other people’s babies and just shake my head.. I remember years ago at Jasper’s gymboree class when moms would bring their second 6 month old babies in who would contentedly play in their car-seats for an hour and just wonder what it would be like to have such an easy going baby.. and now I have not only one but TWO! It’s such a blessing.

The food at the restaurant lived up to expectations and was delicious –  and the white rose they gave every mother was a really nice touch!

After lunch my mom and I went to go get pedicures to continue our luxurious day of relaxation.. (during which time the twins apparently made up for lost time with their fussing!)

Speaking of fussing, Sasha has been “talking” a lot as of late. She started with Dadada, which, as Jeff pointed out can sound quite accusatory when whined. But that was NOTHING compared to her recently acquired ability to say mama:

When I tried to teach her how to say mama, this is DEFINITELY not what I had in mind!

The only thing missing from the day was that I didn’t get to put my new tripod to good use and get a family photo – between all the naps and events we just didn’t have time. I’m hoping that Jeff will indulge me for a few minutes at some point next weekend because that is what I would love more than anything else to remember how full my heart was being the mom of THREE for the first time this mother’s day.

 

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Babbling Babies

My dad has been nagging me since the day the girls were born that we haven’t taken enough videos of them, and sadly, it’s true.

Yesterday I put them in their high chairs and they were being SO cute while they waited for me to prepare their food that I ran to grab the video camera. They aren’t doing anything specifically amazing, just being their delightful little selves, babbling and “talking” to eachother, banging on the high chair trays and in Sasha’s case swaying..

I love these little beings so much it makes my heart ache sometimes..  I must resolve to make more videos of all their adorableness!

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Adobe Mother’s Day Discounts

If you are a photographer, you’d have to be living in a black hole not to have heard about Adobe’s bombshell announcement that the CS products will no longer be sold as boxed items as they will ONLY be available via Creative Cloud (CC) subscription.

Most of the reaction I’ve heard has been negative, but much of that is coming from users who are Photoshop users and don’t dabble in Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premier Pro etc and the subscription price amortized over two years (typical major release interval) is quite a bit more expensive than an outright purchase of ONE product.  I regularly use all the products in the Creative Master Suite and so the subscription price (at least at the $30 per month promotional price) seems like a good deal.

Those who are adamantly against a monthly fee are rushing out to get CS6 and plan on holding on to it for the foreseeable future which is a completely understandable reaction. However, before doing so I urge photographers to take a look at some of the new features that will be available via CC subscription only.  I’m particularly excited about the deblur tool which is simply magical!

Regardless of your reaction to the CC announcement, everyone likes a discount right?

If you’ve been wanting to get your hands on LR or Elements or Premier Elements, now is a great time to treat yourself to an early mother’s day gift by taking advantage of Adobe’s Mother’s Day sale. Here are the details:

Mother’s Day Pricing: Valid April 27 through May 11—Discount Code: SPRING30

· Lightroom 4 — $30 off (originally $149)

· Photoshop Elements 11 — $30 off (originally $99)

· Premiere Elements 11 — $30 off (originally $99)

· Photoshop Elements 11 & Premiere Elements 11 bundle — $30 off (originally $149)

What’s your reaction to the Creative Cloud announcement?

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A Weekend of Firsts for Jasper

Sunday (yesterday) was Jasper’s first day playing Squirt Soccer. It actually should have been his SECOND time, but last weekend he came down with scarlet fever! I didn’t have a chance to blog about that fun episode but I should take a moment to explain in case anything similar every happens to your little one:

Friday morning as we were getting ready for school he was complaining that his tummy hurt and that he was tired. So tired that he wanted to go to the guest room to lay down. I should have known something was up, but he often doesn’t get enough sleep so I didn’t think too much of it until I felt his head – and he was burning up.  His fever stayed between 103 and 104 so I gave  him some motrin and an hour later the puking began… I think he threw up at least 7 times in a 24 hour period, but I just knew instinctively that it wasn’t just a garden variety stomach virus. I think the fever just seemed too high for that. So I started googling high fever and vomiting and the first two results were moms who said their kids had those two symptoms and it ended up being strep!

When I called daycare to see if anyone else had come down with anything, the director told me the only sickness at the center was a child in the toddler room who had strep. Bingo! It’s weird because he only mildly complained of a sore throat, but apparently what happens is that the swallow all that strep bacteria and that’s what causes the nausea and vomiting.   Then the NEXT day when he woke up with a bright red rash I knew without a doubt it was scarlet fever which is caused by the strep virus. A rapid culture at the pediatrician confirmed and Jasper got his very first course of antibiotics ever (well, since being at the hospital when he was born).  He’s fine, in fact he was able to return to school Monday!

So that’s the long story about why Jasper missed his very first Soccer practice.

Fast forward to yesterday and he was extra excited to finally be able to meet his preschool friends and play!

Here’s my handsome boy all “suited up” for practice:

Of course with Jasper, one never knows how he will take to any given group activity.. in fact, the LAST time we signed him up for soccer a year and a half ago he set foot on the field and promptly REFUSED to participate.

So I anxiously awaited reports from Jeff about how it was going.

Then I got this picture via text from my friend Chastity who’s son is also in the league:

I was so relieved, he was having a blast!

Then I get a text 5 minutes later from Jeff. It’s probably easier if I just post our text exchange:

I was so, so happy that he went from not even wanting to play to being SO proud of himself for scoring twice! I hope those goals make him more eager to jump in and play next weekend.

Here’s a sweet one of Jasper and his best buds from preschool courtesy of Chastity, my “eyes’ on the field! These kids have been friends practically since birth:

I’ll miss them and their families so much when we all move on to different schools. On a separate note, how tall is my former shrimpy little guy?

So that was the story of Jasper’s first soccer practice.  Now, our second first was Jasper’s first big boy bike (with training wheels of course!)

This came about because now that the weather is getting so beautiful, we love taking the girls out for walks. But Jasper gets tired about 10 minutes in and Jeff ends up having to carry him on his shoulders. Not that he minds TOO much, but I had the brilliant idea that while we walk, Jasper could be riding his trikey… except that he’s grown SO tall recently that his knees were to his ears on his old trikey!  Time for a real bike. Sniff.

I only have these two instagram pics to document the occasion, but it was mostly a success. Well, other than me having mini heart attacks that he was going to fall because those training wheels are SO wobbly and he’s so high off the ground now:

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First ride on the big boy bike (Jeff picked out the helmet - obviously!)

All in all he seemed to enjoy riding, though he did want to stop 20 minutes or so in because his butt hurt! :)

I guess he needs to get used to a bicycle seat vs the armchair-like seat of his old trikey.

I’m just so happy that the weather has changed and we are all getting outside and being active – and the girls will finally get to get some fresh air and take in nature for the first time in their lives!

 

 

 

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Happy Seven Months Sasha & Willow!

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This has been such a big month for you two! Both of you are practically pro sitters which makes our photoshoots so much more fun! It also means that we can prop you up with boppys to catch you in case you fall and let you play with your toys. It’s fun to see how each of you approaches the task so differently.

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Sasha, you have to play with EVERY toy.  You go through the toy repertoire in a matter of minutes, playing with each one for a few seconds before tossing it to the side and going for another. Then, when you’ve exhausted the options, you squawk in displeasure at your boredom!  Willow, you tend to play with each toy for a longer period of time, sitting up only until the effort seems to much and you gracefully recline back into your boppy content to just lounge and chew your giraffe wubbanub’s foot (how you LOVE that giraffe!)

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Sasha, you have the most graceful hand movements – well, your right hand anyway. You wave it around amost in slow motion like the queen wave so I’ve taken to calling it your “queen hand”, though your pop-pop thinks it looks like you are hula dancing.

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You finally have become a master roller, though you only seem to want to go from back to belly and then get frustrated because your belly is not really where it’s at for you.

Willow, since getting your helmet off you seem much closer to wanting to roll and in fact so much happier in general! You are the perfect eater, where your sister tends to talk while she’s eating and get more on her face and bib, your bib is squeaky clean because you open your mouth eagerly and take each bit tidily and wait impatiently for the next…

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That is the other major change this month: solid foods!  You both love your solid food.  In fact, even though we started out with the Baby Led Weaning approach, we had to switch to spoon feeding because you both would howl with displeasure that the food wasn’t getting into your bellies fast enough. I can’t even say what your favorites are because you haven’t actually refused anything. I hope this lack of finickiness lasts a good long time!

You both have become much more vocal, Sasha in particular you spend most of the day babbling away – Dadadadada is your favorite (we are still working on mamama!) You even babble in your sleep, and certainly when you whine. Willow you are babbling too, though you still tend to coo a bit more – you have an impressive way of matching the exact note with a coo when anyone sings to you!

Some of my favorite things you both do is the way you reach out and grab my face and try to put my chin in your mouth, or the way Sasha you flap your hands in excitement or Willow the giant smile that transforms your whole face.  Watching you both change and grow so much this past month has been amazing – I can’t wait to find out what next month will bring!

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Bye Bye Helmet!

After 7 weeks in treatment for Brachycephaly, Willow “graduated” from her helmet!

We thought we had a few more weeks left, but she started to get a lot of random red spots on her head – in different places each time so I kept the helmet off for 36 hours until we could get back to Cranialtech for one of the Orthodists to look at it.  It turns out that when the babies outgrow the helmet it can cause that kind of symptom (redness in many different places as opposed to say one pressure point.)

When I took her back in, they said she was indeed outgrowing it but that her head was now “perfectly normal” and it didn’t need to go back on anyway. YAY!!!!!!!

They took some “exit pictures” so they can do a before and after study so we can see just how far we’ve come. We haven’t received that little dossier just yet, but they showed me the pictures and there is a big difference. She still has a wider more square head than I think is “normal” but the back rounded out so nicely that we are very happy with her progress. They even gave her a little diploma!

Her first diploma!

And here’s a picture of my little beauty, doing her least favorite thing (tummy time!)

I am so thankful that she has that thing OFF just in time for the warm weather we’ve been having.. it feels to wonderful to snuggle her soft helmet free head once again.  And despite the fact that most people told us over and over again that the babies totally get used to the helmets and don’t even notice it, we have noticed that her general mood seems MUCH less fussy since having it removed.  So all in all, it was an exciting and much welcome day to say goodbye to the helmet for good!

 

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