All I want for Christmas…

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”

Yes, feel free to sing that in your head…it’s ok, I did.

This weekend’s mission with the boys was to get our Christmas Tree, and with the addition of some snow, what better way to enjoy it than taking some pictures too!

So after a slight detour to Kohl’s to pick out some items to complete their outfits, we set out in the mild 29° weather through the tree farm! Which shout out to Hansen Tree Farm and their amazing location!

As the boys and I were walking through the endless rows of trees, the conversations were abundant and completely random. Discussing footprints, animals tracks, different kinds of trees, why some trees were purple, chemicals and ingredients in hand warmers, what they want Santa to bring them, tractor rides, and the list goes on and on.

But it made me think about about one thing from my childhood growing up.

Family.

I don’t remember the toys I got from Santa, the gifts from my parents, the latest craze that every kid seemed to have after Christmas vacation was over.

I remember the home cooked meals that Grandma would spend all day and night preparing which no one could reproduce. I remember the nonstop playing with all of my cousins that we saw only a handful of times a year. I remember the staying up all night building forts with every pillow, sleeping bag and blanket we could get our hands on. I remember long car rides to and from Chicago to Wisconsin.  I remember my mom making breakfast for my brothers and I and building snow igloos using 5 gallon buckets and freezing water just to have a place to play.

I remember being with family.

I’ll bet money that 20 years ago I would have a different perspective, but as I reflect over the past as I get older, I’d take family over anything else in a heartbeat.

Material things are replaceable. Family is not. Would I be heartbroken and upset if my camera were to get lost, stolen or broken? Oh absolutely! I’d probably even cry. But I could always get another.

So as the holiday season continues, I know that I can always rely on family and friends. I know that I can cherish every second I have with the boys and capture the moments of their silly faces when dad makes them always take pictures, which I might add, they really seemed to like the vests.

I hope everyone is fortunate to have someone to spend the holidays with and be able to live, love, and laugh and know that in a moments notice, anything can happen.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

Happy 3rd Birthday to my Baby Boy

1,095 days ago Hudson was welcomed into this wonderful world.  His brother Bennett was so excited to meet his new baby brother.  Family traveled countless miles away to get a glimpse of his first smile.  And aside from the little scare that sent Hudson back in the hospital for about 10 days, everything worked out in the end, and the little champ pulled through like the rockstar he is.

Time flies so quickly when you have kids.  For those of you who don’t have any, it’s a feeling you’ll never understand until it happens.  So you may have to take my word for it.

There are many milestones I look back on.  Sitting up on their own.  Crawling.  Standing. Walking.  First words.  The list goes on and on…and just when I thought that Bennett would never be topped with his silliness and humor, in rolls Hudson and steals the show…well sometimes.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love BOTH of my sons equally.  I’d do anything for either of them, but what I believe most parents of multiple children can attest to is how different children who come from the same parents can be!  It’s truly amazing.  The personalities grow and evolve.  Traits from the parents, habits learned from their older or younger sibling. It’s just puts me an awe on different they become as they grow into themselves.

So today Hudson, Bennett and I celebrated Hudson’s wonderful 1,095th day on this earth.  We saw some aliens, we played games, we opened presents, and even ate cupcakes that dad baked.  *side note, I’m not much of a baker, but the little girl down the street said they were delicious.  So i’ll take that as a win.

All in all I’m one lucky dad.  I couldn’t ask for anything more than to spend the day with my two little show stoppers.  Happy Birthday Hudson.  You and your big brother will always make me proud.

Hudson Turns 3

 

Fall. Tis’ the season!

Fall.  Probably my most favorite season of the year.  The trees morph their leaves into breathtaking colors that you really get to enjoy for about 3 months of the year.  The neighborhood smells of roasted marshmallows from weekend bonfires with the kids.  And who doesn’t love throwing on your favorite hoodie and jeans while watching nature unfold it’s colors right before your very eyes.  Oh yeah… and no dang mosquitoes!

This past weekend, the boys and I set out on another adventure with dad and his camera to find some colorful leaves, and acorns… which I found lots of acorns in my back pocket.  Thanks Hudson.

So even though it’s football season, get up, go outside, take a break from your computer and take a moment to acknowledge the beautiful world that we’re surrounded in.

Forget the selfie, You take the picture!

So a couple weekends ago, I took my boys downtown Minneapolis to the Stone Arch Bridge to capture some pictures with fresh new scenery.  So as usual, we pack our bags, grab some snacks, buckle in the car and we were off to another photo shoot with dad…which I might add, they actually were more excited than usual that dad was going to be taking more pictures of them because we got to go to a “cool” bridge!  They were so excited they even picked out their own matching outfits!

Not only was the sunset beyond perfect, the area was crowded with people walking their dogs, holding hands, admiring the architecture, smiling, and it was just overall a positive atmosphere.

The best part though, was that I was approached by a couple to take my picture with the boys.  At first I graciously declined, but she insisted and said “I’m a photographer and I know how seldom I get my picture taken”.  So at that point, I couldn’t help but say no, and as I look back at this kind gesture, I’m extremely grateful she offered, and I couldn’t thank her enough.

So that got me thinking.  How often are you out and about and you see the typical scenario of a couple learning back as far as they can to take a selfie of themselves?  Or see the father taking a picture of his family only to be left out himself. Or perhaps you’re walking through park only to see a single parent also trying to take pictures of their little ones.  So my challenge for you is to notice.

Notice the people around you.  Notice your surroundings.  Notice the scenery.  I among everyone else is guilty of being glued to a piece of technology, whether it’s my cell phone, tablet, or camera.  But as I get older I start to appreciate the little things more and more. The little but bigger moments and memories that until you look up you’ll never appreciate to notice.

So go next time you’re out and about, look up, look out, and notice the people and your surroundings and offer to take that picture.  I know I will.

 

Don’t blink! You may miss something special!

Five and a half years ago, I never would have pictured myself where I am now.  A lot can happen in five years.  A lot can happen in one year. No matter how prepared you think you are, life will always throw you a new obstacle to overcome. You think you feel ready for certain milestones, but you never truly know the outcome till it happens.

Today was Bennett’s first day of Kindergarten.  It feels just like yesterday when I was holding him in my arms trying to calm him down crying, and as a first time parent you have no idea how to make it stop!  So… what would any tech savy person do? Google  “how to stop your baby crying”.  Then you find a random video gem such as this, which as weird as it is, actually seemed to work!  At least at that time I convinced myself it did.

Anyways I digress…

The day Bennett turned 5 years old, he immediately asked, can I go to school now?!  He has been so excited to start Kindergarten, and this morning you could see it in his eyes.  You could hear it in his voice.  I could see it when he walked with his backpack, which was half the size of him filled with new goodies slung over his two little shoulders.  He was ready.  I’d be lying if I said I was.  I really tried to prepare myself over the past few months of all the questions and worrying thoughts that run through a first timer kindergarten parent such as myself.  Is he going to make friends?  Is he going to cry when he gets left alone? Is he going to actually like it? Is he going to be bullied?  Will he fit in?

Even though the first thing he did was take off his shoes and put them in his locker, his first day was a success!  He left with a smile, wanting more!  He talked about how he saw his friends from the summer, and a new class pet, and how he ate a hot corndog, which was odd, since he was sent with a cold packed lunch.

But here is something I didn’t prepare for.

The feelings of Bennett’s little brother Hudson, who for the first time in his little 3 year life span would lose his daily partner in crime.  Out of our entire family, I never would have guessed that the almost 3 year old to be the most emotional.  When his mom dropped him off alone at daycare, you couldn’t help but see him fighting back tears of wondering why his big brother Bennett was not with him.  You could imagine the wheels spinning, the process of the little curious mind wondering what was going on.

But as most things are short lived with a 3 year old, he soon became distracted, and began to make new adventures with new friends at an amazing daycare.

So long story short, don’t blink, because the moment you do, you may miss out on something special.  You’ll feel like one day you’re holding a little baby who is sound asleep in your arms, and the next day it’s as if you have a little model on your hands posing for the cover of the next GQ magazine.