My friend Hannah recently posted 12 photos from 2015 on her blog. I thought that was a great idea since I've barely posted here at all this year. I went at it aiming for certain photos, images that immediately came to mind when I thought of a particular month; something that captured a special moment, or memory, or feeling. I learned 3 things by doing this: 1) a lot of life happens in a given month. 2) I capture a lot of that life (though not all...never all...). 3) It's really hard to narrow that down to one per month.
So I came up with 24, plus a bonus. (P.S. Don't look too closely, I think I resized these just a little too small for a blog...I am still learning my new photo program and I'm not going to take the time to do it all over again, sorry!)
January. Six weeks after adopting Ladybug.
February. We had a crazy warm winter, followed by an early spring. Even though thick blankets of snow still covered most everything, we went for an early trip down to the river, fishing, inspecting deer skulls and looking at their teeth. It was in this moment, that we realized how awesome homeschooling could be.
March. Back in November, I had asked my husband to get a daily picture of me with the kids, interpreting that however he wanted (usually my face is in the image, but sometimes not). He would not call himself a photographer, but this is one of my favorites of his images: the kids always snuggle with me, wrapped in their towels, after a bath.
April. I started taking the kids for hikes early and often. This is us.
April. We also took a huge, massive trip to Maui, Hawaii. We met several relatives there, but my mom was there with us the whole time. I was so proud of her, for wanting to make memories together. I love this image of my mom and Hazel playing in the sand. (Juniper was there too, but ran off before I could catch her.)
May. The kids had hatched-out chicks in an incubator at their preschool and we took home 3 (then bought 2 more at the feed store). Juniper is a chicken-whisperer. She will not hesitate to tell you how much she loves animals. Her love of creatures makes my heart swell.
June. I don't have them in a lot of photos, but my in-laws came out and we did bunches of fishing, kicking off our summer of camping, fishing, floating, hiking and fun.
July. We did so much camping. Wyoming is truly a spectacular place.
August. For the first time since Juniper was 5 months old, I drove the kids out to Oregon on my own. It was shockingly fun! The "Magic Tree House" audio book series kept the kids more than occupied in the car. We landed at my mom's house and this moment, right here, is what I will remember most. As a kid, my mom loved dolls. We had given the kids some of my old "Fischer Price Friends" dolls that my mom had made so many outfits for. The loved it! In turn, my mom got out her old Tony doll. It was her favorite, she even remembers exactly what she wrote in her letter to Santa and her mother, my grandma, had made beautiful, detailed outfits for her Tony doll over the years. She brought them out, and for the first time in forty years, she tried all the outfits on as the kids kept asking for more. It was beautiful.
After my mom's house, we met my dad and step-mom north of Portland where they treated us to a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge swim park extravaganza. I didn't get many photos (since we were swimming most of the time), but this--of Juniper and my dad--is what comes to mind. Captured in front of the giant fireplace in the lobby.
September. This sentinel of a mountain behind our home is always spectacular. But early falls bring the best of every season. Green in the aspens, crimson in the maples, snow on the peaks, and a layer of cloud for good measure.
I don't get a lot of photos of my kids' friends. I tend to put the camera away and focus on conversation during playdates. But I need to do more. Here, is a little gal exactly between Juniper and Hazel in age. We have known her since she was 3 months old and her mother quickly became my first real friend when we moved to this town. They are such an honest, hard-working family. Love them.
Lastly in September. It's true I try to be a fun, spontaneous mom and I want my kids to experience life to the fullest. That being said, sometimes it also pays to have a photographer for a mom because she will let you play in a mud flat (in the hopes of getting some fun images). In Juniper's words: "Mom! This is the BEST DAY EVER! This is my DREAM COME TRUE! A GIANT MUDDY LAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!" Anyway, they had so much fun I think we'll be back next year. But I think I'll leave the camera in the car and dive in myself!
October. Our last camping trip of the year included some antelope hunting. This was the first time we have been able to hike the kids in fairly close to the kill site and have them help work up the meat. They were thankful to the antelope, fascinated and helpful. It was their job to take pieces of meat and rinse them in the creek before dropping them into a canvas game bag. I had an antelope tag too, but the herniated disk in my neck was flaring up at the time, leaving me in a semi-crippled state and sporting a neck brace. (Better now, thanks.)
And probably the most fancied up for Halloween my husband and I have been since...2001? It was a family affair. Juniper was a vampire, my man a vampire-dad, Hazel was a fairy and I was a fairy who'd been bitten by a vampire. Obviously.
November. I turned 40!!! Need I say more?
Hazel turned 4. She has always been a little lover, but she is also unbelievably stubborn and defiant. Sometimes she and my man butt heads, but lately they have found their rhythm. I am so proud of my husband for figuring it out.
A November visit from the cousins. We hadn't seen them in a ridiculously long time; almost a year. Too long.
December. I made the decision last spring, but in September I started homeschooling Juniper for kindergarten. It has been a wonderful decision. I don't have many photos from our schooling, but this is one, in the middle of a math lesson.
Our chickens! You haven't seen the whole group in a while, have you? From left to right: Holly, Louise, Ice-Cream Lollipops, Funky, Lacy, Orange Peel, Mama Brahma, Rosy, Abracadabra, and Daisy.
My mom came for Christmas. She makes cookies while her "helpers" snitch the dough. Isn't that how it always goes? A timeless activity, spanning generations.
Lastly, for those of you who didn't get one, this is our Christmas/New Year's card: Wishing you peace, happiness, bravery and adventure in 2016!