24 June 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: Taking in the surroundings.
Joshua: Always ready for an adventure.
Jessica: The way she looks at her brothers makes my heart smile.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

Yay! I'm finally caught up on this series. I can't believe I never fell behind last year. This year…well, it's been a busy one. I normally don't post a portrait of all three kids from all the same moment, but this moment captured my heart and I in turn wanted to capture it here. This is where I grew up and I love that I am able to bring my own children back here. I have such fond memories of spending my summers lazily on the lake, splashing and laughing with friends and staying out on the docks until well past dark.

The summer of youth is a time to remember and a time to capture.

23 June 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: Playground fun and summer sun go hand in hand.
Joshua: My little swimmer, who also came in first for his age group for the backstroke!
Jessica: Always with a smile on her face and a breeze in her hair.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

I'm almost caught up with the series! I'll be posting 25/52 later today, hopefully.

21 June 2014

Seven is good

I believe in magic. In creating moments and memories that will last a lifetime. A birthday to a child is one of the most magical moments they will experience. Over the years that excitement dwindles down and eventually it fades. I'll be honest, when my birthday rolls around it almost feels like any other day, except that I am one year older. Something I am not as excited about these days. But to a child? It's everything.

If I can help foster these feelings, if I can somehow add on to the joy that already exists then I am doing my job. A few years back we started the tradition of decorating the kid's rooms on the eve of their birthday. It's one of those traditions that once you start there's no going back. So every year we bring out the balloons and banners, the streamers and in this case, an oversized Darth Vader. For the first time ever, Joshua actually woke up as I was strategically placing balloons all over his room. He sat up, looked at me bright-eyed, smiled and went right back to sleep.

He claims he doesn't remember, but deep down I think he is smiling because he does remember. Let's just hope he remembers and is still smiling thirty years from now. Let's hope I can make these memories and joyful moments last that lifetime.

Happy Birthday Joshua. SEVEN is awesome! Here is your day in photographs.

A decorated room | Presents to open | Star Wars Legos | Pancakes topped with strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream | More Legos | Pool Time | Seven is great | Crème brûlée with a candle | Sleepy time for Jess | Couch cuddles | Bedtime

In the past:
Turning six | Turing Five

20 June 2014

don't miss a moment

I know things have been extremely quiet around here. In fact, so quiet that I feel like I hardly even blog these days. Between working hard with Babiekins Magazine (new issue due out soon, yay!), some freelance writing I've picked up and the festivities of summer, I have little time left on my hands. And honestly, that time I do have left is spent absorbing my children and family. Summer is a magical time of the year and I don't want to miss a thing!

I don't want to miss a moment of watching The World Cup, of jumping up and down and shouting with the boys. Of cheering on Brazil, Argentina, España or the USA. I don't want to miss a second of the pool time that we tend to take for granted. I want to dive in and splash the time away with my children. I don't want to miss out on roasting s'mores, so we've probably been roasting one too many, but who's counting anyways.

I want to sleep in and wake up to a bed full of little feet and happy faces, a husband who is probably falling off his side and our Bailey dog sprawled across our toes. I want to enjoy the mornings, take them slow, and walk around the garden with my hot coffee in hand.

There are so many wants in life, I need to make sure my focus is on the right ones.
I've slowed down.
I've stepped away.
And I've opened my eyes.

This summer is about enjoying life and those I love.
It's about taking that time to slow down and step away.
It's about absorbing every single moment we have, because I'm learning that those moments go by just too fast.

17 June 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: The slip and slide, a sure sign of summer.
Joshua: A proud graduate (and even prouder mama) of kindergarten.
Jessica: Her first attempt at golf.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

11 June 2014


"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Jonas: Always curious and always exploring.
Joshua: Final school days call for final projects.
Jessica: Her love of bunnies is always with her.

Thank you Jodi for hosting this series.

10 June 2014

field trips + volunteering in the school

As the school year comes to a close, I've had the chance to look back and reflect on the year, my children's performance and all the time I dedicated to them and their classrooms.

When the boys reached the school year ages, I stepped away from commitments in the community to focus my time on their studies and my involvement with the school. In my opinion, if I am going to be involved with volunteer work, the school should be my first priority.

Even though it’s the end of the school year here, I thought I would share a few tips for becoming involved in your child’s classroom and school. It can certainly be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know other families or staff.

Reach out.
Reach out to the teachers, the office help and the principal. Let them know you are willing to be involved and that you want to help. But don't hesitate to set parameters. Volunteering can be time consuming and you can't do it all. Pick a few areas that you feel bring out your best traits and qualities. Are you good at organizing? You may make a wonderful homeroom mom. Do you have a visual eye? Perhaps the yearbook would be the place for you.

Get to know the teachers.
Knowing who spends the day with my children is very important to me. I want to know about their personalities, their teaching style and their likes and dislikes. If I have a question or concern, I never hesitate to reach out. Email is a great way to stay in touch and keep the lines of communication open.

Meet other parents.
While your child may not be best friends with everyone, they are bound to form relationships in school. Meeting other parents allows these relationships to grow and develop over the years. You may often find that you form your own new friendships with other parents in the school.

Get organized.
The school year is full of activities, dates and events. Keep yourself organized so you are on top of these activities. The last thing you want to do is forget about a school party, project or play. We have a master calendar that hangs in our kitchen where I write and highlight all activities that are school and non-school related. I’ve made a habit of checking this calendar daily!

Do you have any tips for getting involved in the school? Do you feel it's easy to reach out and meet other parents?

02 June 2014

finding magic. just pretend kids

She found magic buried on the forest floor, under the winter remains and spring vines.
She found it tucked beneath the lilies of the valley and spreading ivy.
She found it rooted and intertwined with the ground.
It was her natural instinct to pick it up, clasp it in her small hands and hold it close.
She knew, she knew this gift was special.
When she finally released her grip, each tiny finger unfolding one at a time, her innocence was revealed.

Her magic was play.
The ability to travel new lands,
to escape to castles built in quiet forests.
To twist and twirl under a canopy of stars,
to become the summer queen,
the rescued princess
the hero of the enchanted woods.

This gift, this gift of magic, she held close to her heart.

jess woods
We pretend and we play. We embrace every moment of our youth. I encourage this magical gift and hope my children will never ever loose it. I still catch my almost seven year old acting out stories that I will never understand, but in his mind he is there. He is the hero, or sometimes the villain, who prances around his room, boldly jumping on beds and protecting his kingdom.

Just Pretend Kids is a brand of costumes, tutus and play accessories that inspire children to play, dream, learn and "Just Pretend." A message and philosophy we believe in and fully embrace.

When Jessica stepped into the Annie Purple Tutu she became the fairy queen, ruler of the enchanted forest and purple flowers. Her mind carried her away to a magical land of towering ferns, butterflies and castles.

I encourage you to play this summer, pretend and become lost in imagination!

You can see more of what Just Pretend Kids has to offer here.
And you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

*This post is in partnership with Just Pretend Kids