Growing Boys

When Tice was our only child, I would hope and pray that another one would eventually be part of our story. If up to me, two and a half years apart would have been a great age difference. My siblings and I are all about two years apart, and it seemed perfect. But when that two year mark passed and Harper still wasn’t ready, I quit hoping for perfect timing and just prayed for any timing.

Now that we are blessed with boys that are three and a half years apart, I realize that it’s just perfect–for us. In fact, I think any age difference can be perfect. The closer in age they are, the more they can play together (and fight together). The farther apart they are, the more the older one(s) can help. We’re kind-of in the middle of all of that. Tice is so helpful but also still close enough in age that they’ll eventually be able to play together some. We’ve been able to avoid jealousy issues (especially at home–he’s a little more possessive of Bebe and Papa’s attention, though).

Tice is a big four-year-old now, and Slade turned seven months today. Here’s a little slice of life from last weekend. The sun had graced us, and after eight days of cold dreary gray, we enjoyed every second of sunshine.

Is it just me, or does Tice look so big here? When did my toddler become so much of a big boy?

“Look, Mommy! He’s sitting!”

He’s just now starting to sit some, but it doesn’t last long.

This is an outtake, but it’s one of my favorite shots because it shows my assistants in action. Tice is so gentle and instinctive about helping with his little brother. Sure, he sometimes gives Slade a snot hair-do or takes a toy out of his hands, but I’m sure that even those things are done with love. Right?

So, the one decent shot I got of Slade, he’s grabbing himself. Oh, well. He’s still cute. I love the light hitting his crazy patch of hair. That hair is always standing straight up, and it’s just about one of my favorite things in the world right now.

We’re supposed to see the sun this weekend, too, so we can’t wait to get back outside! Have a great weekend!

–Natalie

 

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A Yard Full of Toys

Since Harper and I were married so long before plunging into parenthood, we definitely got used to having the place to ourselves. We spent most of our free time and money working on the house and the yard, and I loved having a picture-worthy landscape, even if it was only from certain angles. One of the things that I dreaded about eventually becoming parents was the inevitable toy takeover of our home, and especially the yard. Everyone knows it goes with the territory. Some families do a better job of hiding the clutter, but it’s usually visible at our house. We used to be sticklers about putting up all the outside toys before coming inside, but as the collection grew, it became harder to enforce. Especially since we usually head inside without much warning because one of the boys needs to poop/have a diaper change, someone makes a bad choice, the baby wakes up, etc… And now, of course, there are the big toys–the trampoline, playset, teeter-totter, Jeep–the things that are always in the picture. They make the yard more fun, but I’d be lying if I said they don’t bother me when they’re in the background of most pictures. When I found the playground Jeep and metal slide at a local second-hand store, I even wanted to keep them rusty so they wouldn’t stand out so much in pictures. Of course, Harper and Tice wanted to paint them to make them look new. We ended up compromising: the Jeep is bright blue; the slide remains unpainted.

Like everything in life, you take the good with the bad. This stage is beautiful and fleeting. One day, I’ll have my yard back, but I’ll miss the boys being back there all the time.

One day, I’ll get rid of the retro aluminum chairs, but I’ll miss carrying them effortlessly around the yard to watch the kids go from one activity to the next.

For now, I’ll accept and embrace all the kid gear. I have two really good reasons.

hide-and-seek with Bebe

And sometimes, I’m lucky enough to get a shot without all the background toys.

–Natalie

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Fall Fun

I’ve been taking pictures of the boys each month around Slade’s birthday. These were a little late (taken on Dec. 5), but still show him at five months. Tice is less than a month away from turning four. I can’t handle it! They’re both growing so fast, but I’m so thankful for the front seat view to watch it happen.

Their brotherly love grows each day, too. I’ve noticed that Tice is having a hard time remembering us as a family of three. It’s interesting–he has a great memory and can recall some things from two years ago, but his little brother has become such a big part of his life that it’s hard to imagine that he wasn’t always around. Tice will ask me about something that happened in the past and then ask if Slade was there. If the answer is no, the next question will be, “Was he in your tummy?” and if that answer is no, then “Was he in heaven?” is next.

After many of those kind of questions about our life before him and life before Slade, I explained by saying that the person was in heaven before it was their time to be born. Not sure that’s without flaw, but it’s the best I’ve got for the relentless questions of a little one trying to figure out the world. Since Harper and I were married for nine years before Tice was born, there are a lot of things that predate him–our house, Sargent, the cats, the chickens, etc… And it’s hard for that young mind to imagine a world without him. I remember being the same way at his age–I couldn’t imagine my parents before we were born. What did they do if they weren’t Mommy and Daddy? Mind blowing.

Anyway, back to my little critters.

The leaves fell early this year, so the pecan trees are pretty much bare. We have a nice carpet of brown to play on, though.

Slade’s eyes are closed, but I love their expressions and the bare feet.

Before we went outside, I “combed” Tice’s hair with my hand, so he did this to get his brother camera ready…

I can’t look at it without smiling.

And since Slade was distracted by the chickens and other backyard entertainment, I kept trying to get his attention. My little assistant quickly did the same. Tickling and whistling to get smiles…

Time to move on.

Isn’t he the sweetest? Those big brown eyes and cherub cheeks slay me.

And this little stinker was happy because he got his sucker for cooperating for pictures. It’s a bribe I’ll gladly pay.

He’s figured out a way to teeter-totter by himself.

Sigh.

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The Nest: A Cottage Rental

I haven’t shared any of my photography work lately, but I’ve sure been loving it. I’m not doing too much since Slade is still home with me, but when I have time, I’ve focused more on commercial work than portraits. I still have a steady gig for Hermann Furniture, and this fall I’ve shot for The Nest (a cottage rental) and Leftovers Antiques.

Here’s The Nest…

The Nest is located just a few miles west of Brenham–perfect for Round Top and Warrenton shoppers!

Owners Jay and Sally White transformed a 1940s motor court lodge into a little country cottage. Their beautiful collection of vintage treasures has the perfect home, and the white walls make all those original colors and patina really pop. Designer Holly Mathis took what they already had, added just what they needed, and then styled it seamlessly together.

One of the things I like about it is that it’s not too masculine or too feminine, as many B&Bs tend to be. And I love the vintage pieces they’ve collected over the years. Jay joked that the fabulous Mid-Century table was their inspiration for the whole place. They bought it years ago and didn’t want to part with it even though it didn’t work in their house. The cottage gave them a great excuse to keep it!

I’ll be going back in the spring to capture the exterior and gardens. Jay has a master’s degree in horticulture and runs the popular gardening website The Masters of Horticulture. The cottage overlooks the gorgeous gardens and has a lovely country view to enjoy sunrise or sunset.

As far as I know, The Nest has not been booked yet for Antiques Week. If you’re interested, contact them for details quickly. As anyone who has tried to book a room near the antique shows will tell you–it’s almost impossible. This little treasure will be snapped up in no time, especially with their reasonable rate.

Contact Jay and Sally at nestbrenham@gmail.com or 713-870-9312.

 

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Two Little Pumpkins

I wanted to get some fall pictures of the boys with the pumpkins. I love the how the evening light makes it look like we have more fall color than we really do.

There were plenty of outtakes. Below are two of my favorites. This one is Tice “whistling.” Any time Harper or I whistle to Sargent, Tice immediately mimics us by putting his finger in his mouth and making a high-pitched sound.

And then Sargent took a rather stinky poop way too close to our pretty fall scene.

Of course, Tice had to put on a silly show. Harper was already home from work when we took these, and he kept trying to get Tice to quit being goofy. I guess he didn’t read my last blog post! The little session was about to turn into something stressful, so I assured Harper that I had taken plenty of posed shots, so Tice could just play. And eat leaves?

Ham it up, child. Of course, I want to see how strong you are!

Yes, show me your muscles!

Have I mentioned that this is my favorite time of the year?

–Natalie

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