Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Our Family, in Rainbow Colors

So about 3 hours after publishing my last post our photographer sent me our proofs! And I LOVE THEM. I love the downtown location, I love the lighting, I love the colors. I love that the blue water wall made me look outside my usual blues for clothing colors. I love that we're all wearing clothes from our closets and looking generally like ourselves, just a little spiffed up and a lot excited about eating ice cream afterward.

We hadn't done a photo session in about 20 months and while I feel like Claire looks about the same, Landon and Cora both look a half-step older. They each moved up a phase in between, from toddler to kid and from kid to tween. I'm so glad to have captured them all again so beautifully.

Because while I don't find parenting older kids to be as peaceful or intuitive as parenting young ones, I do just adore the people they're turning into.

And I love how close they are with each other. It's the end of the school year so both big kids are bringing home all their works from the year. I was reading Landon's writing journal last night and was struck by how often he writes about his sisters. He paints them as fun and funny; he describes their quirks and the games they play together. He would truly have loved to be the oldest in a family of ten, but I'm glad he at least had two babies to call his own.

He's nearly 11 and he is so very much himself. He is super smart and super organized and we've never seen a piece of homework from him since he started school. He's sweet and thoughtful and loves planning ahead to make things for others. He never lets a holiday go by without making gifts for the whole family and anyone else we might be seeing at the time, hiding them away in his backpack to surprise all the recipients at the right time in the celebration. He's independent and fairly sure he's ready for college, but he also runs back to give me a hug whenever he's leaving a place where I am. He is going to be a national geographic explorer and/or national park ranger when he grows up.

He loves to run and play tag. He still wants to climb on everything. He is very close to James and their Sunday night chats span an incredibly wide range of topics. He loves his friends, arts and crafts, swimming, READING, playing games, talking without pausing for air, wearing bright colors, discussing the great tragedies of world history in great detail, and organizing his room. He has serious crushes. I found out yesterday that at our pool party he pulled one of our friend's daughters aside to tell her about his crush on her best friend and ask her advice on what he should do about it. This is quintessentially Landon. There was never a girls are icky stage and it's going to be entertaining to watch from the side.

Clairebear turns 8 on Monday. She wasn't even two when we moved here and I find her big kid status shocking at times. She continues to ADORE school and the pleasing of authority figures. She loves her friends and always wants them over at our house. Cora alternates between still being her baby, but increasingly being an equal partner in crime. She loves tiny things, gives elevated "treasure" status to the most random of objects, and prefer that nothing remain as part of a completed set. She is going to be a teacher when she grows up.

She has never been into dress-up but has always been very into her real clothes. She still asks for "new dresses" for all gift giving occasions and snuck on makeup the afternoon of our family pictures. (Makeup I rubbed off as soon as I noticed it when we got out of the car.) She has many fears but can be surprisingly brave and strong. Her favorite colors are pink and teal, her favorite book is whatever one she can read out loud to me, and her favorite food (and upcoming eagerly anticipated birthday dinner) is BBQ Quinoa Salad. She remains our snuggler and will ALWAYS be on a couch I am sitting on, preferably with six loveys and a fuzzy blanket.

Cora is precisely 4.5. She will "never" be "sebben" and our insistence that she'll have to be five and then six and THEN seven causes her much distress. She remains an intriguing mix of incredibly easy going and incredibly opinionated. She is rigid about certain activities. School is for "hard work" and she will not do any Montessori work that isn't the writings and worksheets her teacher prints off for her- no imaginative play for Cora, this is business. At recess, she tears up the playground, giggling and laughing and having the best time with her besties. Then it's back to the classroom where you had best not maintain eye contact and if you touch her work she will never, ever forgive you.

At home we do NOT do work. We play babies and kitchen and princesses. We brush our dolls hair and change their clothes and tell them "shh it's okay, mama's here now." She adores her friends and is going to marry her best friend Jojo. She is surprisingly strong and very athletic. She remains an exuberantly affectionate member of the pack and she always screams my name when I come up to the back door after work. We have double-paned windows, so I can't hear her, but I see her mouth open and yell "MAMA!!!" and her whole face light up in joy and I know that I am home indeed.

She loves flowers, the color pink, babies, all dogs and cats, her blankie, her brother and sister, my lap, maxi dresses, and wearing her sunglasses upside down always. She is incredibly skilled at getting out of doing what you asked her, but incredibly apologetic when you catch her at it. Landon and Claire remain her people, and while she knows she wields enormous power over them, she also truly loves them with her whole fierce little heart.

They are each so different. From each other, from us... they're increasingly themselves and you see those little flashes of adult Landon or adult Claire (and god help us, adult Cora; do NOT touch her work) and I'm reminded of what we'll have to look forward to when they're grown. But then they're back to needing hugs or band-aids or someone to brush their hair (not Landon) and I like where we are now.

And that's our crew in 2018. Our party pack. We travel well and often, react favorably in water, and all agree that queso is the best cheese (even the one of us who thinks he doesn't like cheese at all). We were all born in different cities but we like our current one very much.

2018 has had some challenges. Personal ones of varying types that took us by surprise along the way, but these are my people. I am myself with them in a way I'm not around anyone else. Being a parent, being a spouse, is a constant self improvement project and I've done a lot of improving this year.


Anyway, I love these pictures.

I liked the ice cream afterwards too.


  1. Love this! This might be one of my favorite posts from you.

  2. those yellow heels! they're the bomb.

  3. I've been reading since we were both in law school (even though you were in Chicago and I was at Georgetown!), and I've never commented... how is that possible?! These are some of the most beautiful family portraits I've ever seen. The one of the kids in front of the fountain is perfect, as is the "outtake"!

  4. These photos are so wonderful and made me smile like crazy.
    Also, how's Landon 11?! I've been following your blog since pre-Landon days and refuse to believe it's been that long!

  5. Your little current updates/descriptions of the kids always make me well up/ smile. Your words are going to be so precious someday! Also, how is it I am just now seeing so much of your husband in Cora?! There was something about one of the pictures of her that completely shows her dad DNA! I also want to know how it is that you look so stunning in family pics every time!! These are beautiful!

  6. Beautiful pictures, beautiful writing ❤