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The Little Things...

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

Day 11 - March 26, 2020

Today was opening day of the MLB baseball season! Okay, what would have been if the MLB baseball season hadn't been postponed, but we had our own little game in our own little diamond anyway. I know that I'm sharing more that one picture here. (My rule for myself about doing this was one picture a day, but if I made the rule then I figure I can break it.) Playing baseball in our field while the sunset shines on us is one of my all-time favorite activities. It was just a coincidence that we happened to play today, the day of the would-be season opener, because the weather was beautiful! We sure will miss baseball if it doesn't happen this season, but we are staying hopeful. Play ball!

Day 10 - I'm just going to leave this right here as evidence that their dad cheats at 2-hand touch football.

Football was fun, but the highlight of our day was by far a FaceTime call with Grandma.

Day 9 - It's been a quiet day since it's cold and rainy again. These little melting beads have been keeping the boys busy and were a good last minute buy. I'm just waiting for the day that the cat decides to pounce on the ones that are rolling across the pan.

Day 8 - I spent a lot of time today editing a photo session that I was lucky enough to sneak in before we hunkered down with staying at home. The boys played a game of hide-n-seek and Grayson took this opportunity to check my pulse while taking a turn hiding under my desk. He makes a cute doctor.

They snuck in a little baking today as well. This is a pretty common rainy day activity. They don't look so sure about the results, but it turned out all right.

Day 7 - "Sundays are for rest." That's what my mom always said. I remember Sundays from my childhood as the day we would eat dinner at my Grandma Paul's house, hand-wash dishes together and play in her sun-filled living room. I can almost feel the rugged carpet, the warmth of the sunshine and the way my eyes would squint from the brightness while we played with Fisher-Price toys and looked at those odd 8-track tapes.

After my grandma passed away, Sunday dinner after church happened at our own home. It was the only day of the week I really remember my dad sitting down in the living room with us in the middle of the day. He was a dairy farmer, so on most days (especially school days) I really only saw him for dinner and after milking in the evening. But Sundays were for rest. Every Sunday we went to church together and my mom would make a big lunch, usually baked chicken or pork roast, and we would all sit down in our own sun-filled living room together. I remember watching football, nature shows, and sometimes "a good western." Most times, my dad would take a nap while we played around him. His blanket made a good hiding spot for a game of hide-and-seek. Sometimes my brothers and sisters and I would take naps ourselves.

We don't really follow the "Sundays are for rest" rule at my house, but sometimes I wish we did. In a house where we both work out of the home, weekends (including Sundays) are for getting things done. We still go to church, but the rest of the time often includes endless loads of laundry, grocery shopping, preparing meals for a busy week, and often extra sports opportunities for the kids. I'm sure that's true for many families.

But today, Sunday was for rest. Hudson has been on us all weekend about going for a bike ride. Ever since we had a few 40-50 degree days, my boys have been deceived by the sun and think they can go outside in shorts and t-shirts in 30-degree weather. So the sun today made Hudson think it was perfect weather for a family bike ride. While he was waiting for me and his brothers to finish up a few things he crawled onto Jake's lap for a few "puppy snuggles" and within a few minutes he was out. Puppy snuggles are my favorite. I'm a little jealous I wasn't the one resting on the couch, but I still enjoyed this moment. Despite the unfortunate reason for it's occurrence, I'm thankful that this Sunday was for rest.

*** Hudson did get his bike ride and it was FRIGID!

Day 6 - At first I said "No, No, NO!" when I saw them (thinking that they were) sneaking the mattress up the stairs this morning. Then I thought, why not?

Day 5 - Nothing like a good old-fashioned game of 4-square to lighten the mood... except for elementary 4-square apparently now comes with all kinds of intense new (I'm pretty sure made-up) rules like the "pizza" and "spud" and "rainbow."

And in the spirit of teaching old dogs new tricks, Charlie is teaching me and Jake how to use his rip-stick. Lucky for all of us there are no pictures of that!

On a more serious note, today I am very thankful to be putting away their devices for a while. I'm glad we are able to stay connected, but school at home has been intense and we all need a break from those screens. Happy Spring Break!

Day 4 - Recess happens rain or shine at Mom & Dad School

Day 3 - It was an upside-down kinda day. When I look through the pictures I had a chance to take today (not many), there were several where the kids were hanging upside-down like little monkeys. Maybe not a surprising result of a day when it was cold and harder to be outside. The focus is off in this picture; a result of the moment passing really quickly and me not actually looking through my viewfinder when I took it. All of that is fitting for a day that was far from perfect, but this moment made me laugh.

Day 2 - Like most other photographers I know, when I started down this path of exploring the world with my camera, it was really for personal reasons. I wanted to be able to capture the everyday moments of life with my kids and family. Sure, I take pictures every day with my phone, and those are special to me too. But using my "fancy camera" adds an element of art to it; a challenge to think creatively about what is unique or important about a moment and how to capture that in the most beautiful way possible.

The Little Things - Today: Happily pouring water out of his mud boot and telling me, "It's not that wet."

It doesn't happen often, but when I have time I read about the work of other creative people who I admire. So many of them talk about the importance of "working for yourself" and doing the work that you find most inspiring in the midst of creating work that is for other people. That all sounds beautiful in a book, but in reality there are only 24 hours in a day. For me, those hours are usually filled by being a School Counselor (my day job that I love as well), chasing around my 3 boys making sure they are clothed, fed, exercised, and loved, and at the end of the day I need some sleep. I'm not complaining. This is the life I chose.

Then suddenly (or not so suddenly) this unexpected thing happens that makes the whole world slow down in a way I've never experienced before. And it's scary. I'm praying like crazy that all of our families get through this, but I fear there will be loss. And I fear that people won't care for each other in ways that we can and should. I worry about all of my students who might not have parents who can stay home with them during the day to help them continue to learn, make sure they have food to eat, and reassure them that they will do their best to take care of each other during this unusual time. In this way, I know that my family is more fortunate than many. I also know that I would tell my students that we cannot live in fear so I'm going to do my best follow my own advice.

I'm taking this opportunity, while my regular life seems to be on pause, to spend extra time appreciating the beautiful and special things; the things that I might not otherwise have the time to notice. I'm going to use my camera for it's original purpose; to capture my own family's unique or important moments in the most beautiful way possible. I've decided to challenge myself to my own daily photo challenge in an effort to appreciate the little things. I'm going to take a few pictures every day of moments that I appreciate, but I will only share one. And while I'm fairly certain there will be plenty of moments in the coming days that are less than beautiful, so often finding joy in life is about perspective and I'm going to do my best to keep things positive for myself and my kids.

The Little Things - Day 1: My son playing the piano without me having to set a timer to fit it into our day.

I would love it if you would share some of your own images of the little things you appreciate about this time with your family and ways that you notice people helping each other. Let's get through this together!

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