10/30/13

trick-or-treating + jon's birthday.

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the traditional halloween photo // my little owl // these two // new shoes // dragging a bag of goodies // ninja josh // finally, a family photo // way too much dessert // birthday wishes

Not a bad Sunday!

10/28/13

43/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Absorbing the autumn sun.
Joshua: Tired and on a mission.
Jessica: Just happy.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

sunday stills. photo 43

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: The tradition of Trick-or-Treating.

The neighbors lingered on their porches, anticipating the arrival of ghosts, goblins and creatures. This year we arrived on those doorsteps, with our treat bags ready, as an owl, a ninja and a Star Wars commander. We always have a Star Wars character in our group. Parents gathered on street corners quickly saying our hellos before a child whisked us away to another house.

Trick-or-Treat will always remind me of my childhood, but since having my own children it has taken on a whole new meaning and every year, I eagerly await its arrival. How about you? What did you and your little ones dress up as this year? Do you get just as excited about Halloween and Trick-or-Trick as I do?

10/25/13

happy birthday jon!

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I know that Jon secretly wants to celebrate for forty days, since this is the big 40, and maybe we will but, regardless, today begins the celebrating. A morning where he can sleep in, guilt free, coffee waiting for him in the kitchen next to a mason jar lined with breakfast parfait. And a note, scribbled with happy faces and children's drawings, sharing the details of the weekend and the week to come.

We like to celebrate birthdays in our home. Decorated rooms for the children, the occasional surprise party for the adults (although I learned my lesson on that one, turns out Jon doesn't like surprises) and the birthday feast that is always filled with good food and select wines. In our home, the celebration is important. Over the years I have learned that it is far greater than just celebrating another birthday. We are celebrating life, family and new traditions. Those late nights of decorating the children's rooms are creating memories that Jon and I will talk about years from now. "Remember that year, when Jonas slept through our laughter and silly voices as we filled his room with a hundred balloons?" Or "Remember the morning when Josh ran into our room and jumped on the bed, shrieking with joy that is was his birthday?"

These are the moments that we will remember.
This is the true meaning that hides behind the presents, the cake and the wrapping paper.
Underneath it all is a gift far greater, a gift that can be appreciated throughout the years.
A gift that we can share as a family.

Late last night I dug out a box of old photo albums. I came across Jon's 30th birthday. Moments shared with his family and my family, moments shared with friends at our favorite local bar that always echoed music off the walls. Sometimes, those moments feel like yesterday. And sometimes, I feel fortunate to be standing where we are today. I think Jon would agree with me that we stand in a better place. That ten years of marriage, three children, a couple moves, several vacations, budget planning, school talks, holidays, good times and bad times have brought us closer together.

These years have showed me just how much I truly appreciate my husband. How deep my love for him runs and how much I value him as a friend, a husband and a father. Because honestly, I couldn't have asked for better friend, husband or father to my children.

He is patient and kind.
His heart welcomes the world around him.
His work ethic is unlike any other I have seen and it is parallel to his determination.
He is gentle and loving.
He is funny and quirky.
He can hold his ground in a light saber fight and sure knows how to have a tea party with Jessica and the dolls.
He claims he's not creative, but he is. I see it. He thinks outside of the box on a daily basis.
He knows the meaning of family and would do anything to protect it.
He values life and chooses to live it to the fullest.
And for this, I will always stand by his side.

10/22/13

42/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Caught between the sun and a reflection.
Joshua: On the search for the best autumn leaves.
Jessica: Dancing in the streets.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

10/20/13

sunday stills. photo 42

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: My children are a constant reminder that I should step back, view life from a different angle and embrace each moment. They remind me to focus on the meaningful and to not allow myself to get caught up in the trivial times that can consume us.

10/17/13

Sweet Corn and Jonah Crab Chowder.

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Summer has quickly been swept away and replaced with the cool autumn winds that flutter across our days. I can't help but keep the thought of Ohio sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, watermelon, berries and basil on my mind. Our sunday dinners prepped on the grill have been replaced with hot beef stews and homemade chicken noodle soups. My freezer is loaded with leftover basil that has made its way into pesto, hot peppers waiting to be stuffed and tomatoes pure├ęd for a sauce. I know the time has come to let go of summer, to set her free and welcome her next year. And I'm okay with letting go because I know that fall in Ohio is one of the finest. I know that when the crisp air hits my face I smile inside with warmth on the heart.

I look forward to those times when chilly fingertips tightly grasp a warm latte, when nothing keeps you warmer than a thick knit hat and scarf and when it is acceptable to wear a button down flannel, jeans and wool socks as a daily uniform. I look forward to the fine scents of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla that drift down our hallways and the essence of the warm fire that seeps into our sweaters.

But for now, I'll enjoy one last batch of corn chowder while I hide beneath my flannel shirt and wool socks!

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Sweet Corn and Jonah Crab Chowder

yields: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 serrano pepper, minced
4 ears corn, husked and kernels removed, reserve cobs
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
8 oz lump Jonah crabmeat
juice of 1 lime

Instructions

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and heat oil. Add onion, pepper and corn. Stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes, until onions are translucent.

2. Add chili powder, cumin and paprika. Stir to combine. Turn up heat to medium-high and add stock and 1 cup water. Add reserved corncobs and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Remove corncobs. With an emersion blender carefully (soup will be hot) blend to desired texture. I prefer to keep mine on the meaty side and do not over blend, but you can always blend it until smooth.

4. Reduce heat to low and add crabmeat, cilantro and lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for five more minutes.

5. Serve and enjoy.

10/14/13

41/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Embracing the gifts given by fall.
Joshua: Surrounded by hues of autumn.
Jessica: An inquisitive look.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

While Jessica's birthday was a success, I am devastated that it ended with a crash - literally. My camera fell and my lens (as in my favorite, I don't use any other lens) broke. I took it into the shop immediately and was even more heart broken at the price tag to fix it and the six weeks it will be gone. I've decided to experiment and embrace with what I do have in my camera bag. My 50mm was quite dusty after not being used for so long and it is a nice change (not really, but I'll just say it is) to switch up the view point of my photos.

As an anniversary gift, in addition to fixing my lens, Jon surprised me with a flash. I'm pretty excited because I have never ventured down this road. While I prefer natural light in photography, I know that at times a flash is necessary and I would like to learn those techniques.

Do you have any tips for using a flash? I would love to hear them!

10/13/13

sunday stills. photo 41

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: A perfect autumn day dusted with hints of red, orange and gold. Friends gathered, children played and happiness lingered in the air.

This past weekend Jess and I had the chance to head to Columbus for a quick gathering with friends. Over the years time has taught me the true meaning of friendship. I understand that people will come and go out of our lives, but my girls from college are still, to this day, my girls. We have each grown with individuality into unique independent women, and although many years have passed, we still manage to pick up on the same page we left on. That, my friends, is true friendship.

10/11/13

celebrating ten years of marriage!

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Today, we celebrate ten years of marriage. Well, we actually celebrated last night with dinner up in Cleveland, but today is that actual date. Ten years. Ten amazing years of marriage. When I thought about what words I wanted to write in this post so many ideas and memories came to my mind. I decided to gather all those thoughts together and rather than write a blog post here I wrote a letter to Jon.

These past years have truly been the best in my life and we have created so many everlasting memories together. I look forward to another ten years overflowing with joy, love and dedication to each other.

This is our actual wedding song, and every time I hear it I am always whisked away to our night. So many good memories from that night! I love that we (and others) still talk about it to this day. But for us, I had to throw a Phish song into the mix :)

Waste by Phish on Grooveshark
I was hoping to share a few of our wedding photos, but since the move I'm having a hard time tracking those discs down. Perhaps I'll share some next week! A long time ago I wrote a post about "the story of us" you can read that here if you want :)

10/10/13

Turning Three.

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She is a child.
Her soul captivates
her glow illuminates
empty rooms.
Soft blonde curls become
memory keepers, eventually
tucked in a golden locket
in a drawer
around my aging neck.

She is a child.
Her ethereal eyes
blue then hazel
an endless sea of wonder, infinite.
Forever captured on my film
framed inside my house
placed in books
written on hearts

She is a child.
She is a gift.
She is my Jessica.

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On Sunday we celebrated Jessica's 3rd birthday with family and friends. A casual get together with children running through the backyard, adults catching up over light conversation, good food, fine wine, apple cider, Hello Kitty cakes, chocolate zucchini cakes and more. It was just the kind of Sunday that I needed, a day dedicated to family.

One thing that time has taught me is the value of family.
I believe in individuality, creativity, finding yourself.
But I also know that I wouldn't be me without my husband and amazing children.
They have taught me growth, truth and love.
They have taught me to be a better a person.
To reach out to others, to open my heart.
And for this, I am forever grateful.

10/9/13

40/52

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"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Jonas: Is turning into quite a young man right before my very own eyes.
Joshua: Has started to read and is full of pride.
Jessica: Turned three on tuesday. It feels like we just brought her home, a swaddled newborn tucked in my arms.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

Some of my favorites included: sweet Lily in the pool, the happiness in this photo, the feel of nature here, the movement of wind here and the creative angles of these photos.

10/7/13

sunday stills. photo 40

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A single photo once a week.
To capture my emotions, to sum up the days.
To collect my thoughts and hold them in my hands.

Every Sunday, one photo.

On this Sunday: How is it possible that my little girl turns three this Tuesday?

Is there is a secret to stopping time, to holding still just for a moment? At times I feel like my life is passing me by and I am sitting, patiently, outside watching as it fades away into the distance. My head constantly turning, back and forth, as I was my children race through life. And as they race and grow it seems that I am standing still, stuck in my confusion and distortion of time.

Time is confusing. Life really does goes by that fast.

Yesterday, I blinked and we were celebrating Jessica's third birthday, Jonas was sleeping over at friends and Joshua started to read. How is this possible, I think to myself. I can still remember so clearly when each of my children were born and it still feels like yesterday.

But what I'm learning is that yesterday was eight years ago, six years ago and three years ago. "Yesterday" are the memories that we have created over all those years, yesterday are the photos that I tuck away in frames and drawers, yesterday are the words that I write and share. I am learning to embrace the today, the now. I am learning to let go and not get caught up in small moments, I am learning to step away, I am learning to turn off the computer, to set down my phone and spend those moments of today with my family. Because right around the corner is tomorrow and today is gone.

Today becomes yesterday which becomes just a memory, and I want those memories filled with children, family and laughter.

With that being said, I am off to embrace today. The kids are off school and we have a full day planned. You'll find us playing kitchen and house, building legos, painting, working on puzzles, going to the movies and jumping on beds.

10/3/13

Matilda Jane. Paint by Numbers Collection

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October has quickly fallen into our lives and my heart is silently smiling. There is moment of peace and joy when we are surrounded by the changing leaves, when we watch them dance and float in open air, when we smell the scents of nature and spice lingering all around us. We find the same peace and joy as we watch children run and play in the cool breeze that we call autumn.

Matilda Jane has been a long time favorite clothing line. I can remember back to when I was pregnant with Jess and I attended my first trunk show. Would you believe that Jess still wears clothes from that show? The skirt that is 18 months continues to fit her and is perfect paired with leggings. Dresses simply make their way into tops that can be worn with skinny jeans and boots. I'm not one for rambling on about reviews, but we have always had amazing luck with Matilda Jane. The clothing is stylish, comfortable, wears well and washes well.

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Jessica is wearing the Paint by Numbers Collection. All Matilda Jane pieces are made to mix and match, which is great for our lifestyle. The look is a little bit shabby chic and a little bit bohemian and the perfect style for any occasion.

Turtledove Knot Top // Skyview Puffer Tee // Gleam Leggings

What pieces would you mix and match?

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own.