Sunday, August 28, 2011

brother and sisters

He may annoy them, get into their stuff, interrupt their play dates, cut our outings short when it's nap time, or steal their attention, but they love him...more than they may want to admit. I see the look of pride in their eyes when their friends are around..."This is MY little brother!" is what I nonverbally see in them.  When the mood permits, they love showing him new things, like how to ride a bike, how to sit on the potty or read a book. They take his hand and walk him down the stairs, want to play with him in the bath, and set up his train tracks for him.  They dress him up in cute outfits (some do have a princess theme) and help him out of his crib.  In between the "Mooooommmmmm, come and get the trouble maker", I catch little glimpses of tenderness and nurturing that can only come from a big sister. He looks up to them, tries to copy them, and wants to ride the school bus with them.  They know how to console him when he is upset and quickly forgive him when frustrations lead to pain inducing pinchy fingers and sharp teeth.  Cole and the girls spent more time together than usual this summer and I know this week without them has been a little tough on him, even though he can't quite verbalize it yet.  I am really looking forward to their relationship growing and evolving as he gets older and can do more things with him and their age gap isn't so apparent.

My girls have always been close...they are 2 years apart in age and are different enough that they get along fairly well. I love being a parent to sisters and watching their relationship grow. This is new territory for me as I grew up with a brother. I sometimes have to remind the girls that they are forever friends...the closest relation you have in this world and that they should always have each others backs.  I feel like I model this with my close relationship with my brother, my friend and someone I can always go to...the workings of which they see on a daily basis.
Sydney helping her little sister at the bus stop on the first day of school.

Skyler got Cole's backpack all set for him to walk to the bus stop with her.

Cole with the big kids at the bus stop.

Sydney helping Cole "ride" his bike. He hasn't figured out how the pedals work yet.

The girls pushing Cole in the stroller at Botanic Gardens.

The girls helped me out by pointing out the butterflies and finches.

I love that they'll still humor me and pose for pictures...I know this won't always be the case.

Cole would have sat here as long as I wanted him to and smiled. He loves having his picture taken.

The Chicago Botanic Gardens is such a beautiful place.

The Gardens has a model train display that is outstanding. Cole was beside himself with excitement every time a train went by. The hardest part was keeping him from hopping the fence to play with them.

He loved pointing out the trains to his sisters. They acted excited each time a train rolled around, especially when it was Thomas.

A quietly captured moment. They still readily show affection towards each other. I quickly took this photo as their energies were depleting. I want to hold on to these moments...and all of those times they want hugs and kisses from me...even at the bus stop and in front of their friends...for now!

Some of my hopes for them are to see the value in each other and become each other's confidants and best friends, both things I am lucky to have with my brother.  And no matter how much they may infuriate and annoy each other, that they always have a love and respect for one another that surpasses any challenges that come their way.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Endings and Beginnings...

Our summer of travel, exploration, and discovering new things - both about the world and ourselves - feels like it is coming to an abrupt end. Never has the phrase, the days are long but the weeks are short, had more meaning to us. As long as some of those days were, especially the ones where we were lost in translation, the summer has flown by.

For the past nine years, the beginning of the end of summer has been marked by my baby girl's birthday. Today, Sydney is nine.  I know it's a bit cliche to say... I can't believe she's nine...where did the time go...she's getting so big...all in the blink of an eye...enjoy it because it goes by so fast...but, cliches are there for a reason. They apply to the masses. And they are so very true.  It does feel like yesterday that we were bringing her home from the hospital, laying down with her curled so tightly on my chest as I would watch the snow fall, encouraging her to take her first steps, her first ride down the slide, recording her first words, preparing her for a new role as a big sister...

Yesterday, we took Syd shopping for her big birthday present, a new bike. Although she never complained about it, I noticed that Syd's knees were about touching her chin when she rode the bike she got for her birthday the year she was entering kindergarten.  It was time to take the next step up in the bike world...she is now tall enough to ride a true woman's bike.  I am predicting that my little girl will be taller than me by her 11th birthday...I may have to let a tear fall on that day.  It took her about two minutes to get the hang of switching gears and using hand breaks...and then, she was off, like I know she will be in so many more moments in her life.

School starts in two days - 2nd and 4th grades for the girls - and another first, preschool, for Cole. These days are always filled with anticipation and a little anxiety (more on my part than the girls). Cole and I will miss the girls during the day and will miss our little adventures, but I am excited for them to begin their next chapter. I may also be starting something new as I begin to look into starting a business. I am including some pictures in this post from Colorado, but hope to create a portfolio soon that will be more extensive. 

This one is for you, Grandpa Harley!


Uncle GG and his doppelganger...

The Brown Bears and their Cubs

A view from the reunion cabin

A night time view of the reunion courtesy of my dad, Fred Share.

We had a Minute to Win It game night. All that yoga taught me enough balance to win this task. Photo courtesy of my dad.

Cole was Trevor's shadow all week. He really looks up to him and I caught them in several sweet moments.

A view of some of the other cabins on the YMCA property. Gorgeous views abound.

Cole playing while his cousins jam on the piano.

My beautiful niece, Emme.

Taken on the back porch of the with Grandpa.

Photo courtesy of Skyler...had t prove I was actually there!

Skye and Ally were joined at the hip all week. They played, laughed, and continually got silly together. Love it!

Trevor and Sydney also had a blast together. I hope they realize how cool it is to have close in age cousins they love seeing and playing with...all 6 kids get along so well. It's a relationship I really look forward to seeing grow...

...and I know they will always have each other's backs...

The Burger cook off was a huge success...the Bernie Burger v. the Garbage burger...

These next photos were taken on our family hike in the Rockies...

At Nymph Lake, we saw gorgeous yellow pond lilies . Skye asked to take a picture of her in front of them for her 1st grade teacher, Ms. Taylor - she loves lily pads.

Skyler and I look for letters in nature...she wants to make a book of, we found "j"

Cole was very brave when he got a boo boo.

As we climbed to higher elevations, the weather changed dramatically.  There's nothing like cool mountain air on an otherwise warm day.

Candid photos of me with the kids are few and far between. I handed off my camera to my brother, Greg, for this one. Thanks, GG!

This flower caught my eye. It was all by itself and had what looked like the most delicate leaves. I wonder how it survives the mountain climate.

On our way down from Dream Lake, we hiked past Nymph Lake again. The lily pads took on a totally different look with the reflective, still water. Seeing the clouds and mountains reflected in the lake was incredibly peaceful.

The girls and I took an archery class at the camp. It was so much fun!

Going to Colorado and reuniting with family from all over the country was the perfect way to end our summer. We had an amazing time with great people in an unending array of beautiful landscape. I'm already looking forward to our next reunion in three years.

As I sit on my front porch typing this, the girls and their friends are having a lemonade stand. They are working hard at marketing themselves...using Cole's power wheels to ride up and down the block shouting for customers. This was Sydney's wish for her birthday...a big play date and selling's so simple yet makes her so happy. They are donating the money they make to the American Cancer Society.  I won't break the news about the initial money needing to cover the cost of the materials before they can donate it.  I can't burst their bubble and real life can be put on hold for them for a few years yet.  Watching them and the innocence that is their childhood makes me smile.  Nine is going to be a great year!!!