Favorite Photo Friday: New Beginnings

A cool windy November day on the beach...
no sunbathers, frisbees, brightly colored umbrellas, coolers, laughter, sandcastles.

Somehow the quiet yet powerful sound of the waves lapping on the shore
reminds us that the possibilities are endless.

We weren't planning on being here today, but sometimes in life...we're put right where we should be
just to allow us to witness the next beautiful thing that will surely come our way.

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To New Beginnings!

It's Favorite photo Friday.
Head on over to Lisa's place to see some great photos from some awesome photographers.

the long road


Favorite Photo Friday: Smiles & Stripes

Sweetie and I took a ride down the shore to visit a dear friend of mine last week.

While we were chatting, I saw her through the screen door on the patio; overlooking the beach, amusing herself and just enjoying the absolutely gorgeous day.

As I grabbed my camera I told her that if I ever
had a little girl one day I'd like her to be just like her...

Diptych Jade Striped Lollipop

To which she responded.....
MOMMY!!  I'm already all yours!

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Oh, little girl...you are my dream come true!

It's Favorite Photo Friday at The Long Road to China...head on over to see some really great snaps from some very talented photographers!

the long road


Sunday Snapshot: Leaving 3

Yep, that's right....we are winding down the last few hours of 3.
What a wonderful year it has been.

The memory of my Sweetie at 3 will bring a smile to my face always. 
I'm so glad I took the time to chronicle this year in photos as a reminder of the wonder and joy she has brought to all of us this magical third year.

At 3, my Sweetie's absolute favorite place to be (other than with her Nana) is in front of a plate of sushi at the best sushi restaurant in town.

Jade Sushi 3

She loves her Daddy to pieces.

JR Jade 3

And her brother? Well, it's more than fair to say he is adored beyond words.

Ant Sushi 3

Every single day she surely exemplifies sugar, spice and everything nice
 (with a smile and a soft little voice that has been known to melt even the coolest of hearts)

Jade Sweetness 3

She has just the right dose of charm and sass to ensure that no matter what life brings she will ingratiate herself wherever she wants to be and have the smarts, guts and gumption to pull it off....all by herself!

Jade Many Faces 3

Thank you for sharing THREE with us, my Darling Girl.....
I cannot wait to see what year FOUR has in store!

You are our heart!
(a.k.a. the luckiest Mom in the world!)

It's Snapshot Sunday over at Ni Hao Y'all and its Poppy's Birthday...
Head on over and share the love!
Sunday Snapshot


See With Your Eyes

Mom...can we just go and look at that fountain over there?

Oh, well.....okay, just don't get wet we have several more stops to make after this.
Okay, Mom........we won't touch it.....promise....

Kids Fountain WM Web

Kids will be kids!
And I wouldn't have it any other way!

It's Favorite Photo Friday at Long Road to China

the long road


Black & White Wednesday: Nose to the Grindstone

With all the hustle and bustle going on 'round these parts
 I've been keeping my head down,
 trying to get the things done that I've been putting off for way too long
 and focusing on the future...taking it
 all in stride one day at a time.

JRR BW Portrait

Sure am missing my old blog hopping days though....
I may be out of sight, but you're never out of mind, Ladies!
Hugs.....from your old friend.

To see some fun black and white images from some fab photographers,
 click on over to The Long Road to China 
for Lisa's final installment of Black and White Wednesdays

the long road

But never fear.....the ever creative, ever talented
has always got a Plan B
Can't wait for
Favorite Photo Friday!
Whoo Hoo!
the long road


Daddy's Girl

JR was off from work today.

His sidekick was busy as a bee following him around and "helping."

I heard music outside the garage (the beat of JR's unmistakeable dance music reliving his old club days) so I thought I'd have a peek what was going on.

As soon as I opened the door I saw her there....topless.

I asked where her shirt was and she responded..."Papa's not wearing a shirt so neither am I."

And she happily went about her business.

JRR Washing Car WM

The green marker on both their faces was her morning art project.

I hope JR remembered to let her use the washable markers!


Snapshot Sunday: {Strike A Pose}

Evidently, the camera that is appended to my anatomy has given rise to a one-girl posing machine.

No matter where she is; what she's doing....she'll look up at me and say, "Mom, this would make a good picture, wouldn't it?" (Even when I don't have the camera in hand!)

When we drive she'll see a wooded field, a green golf course or an architecturally interesting building and she from the backseat we'll hear..."Mom, that would be a great place for pictures!" JR and I crack up...she's always thinkin' that one.


Whatever did we do before she came into our lives?

Striped Shirt Smiling Dyptich Blog Board

For some fantastic snaps of some super cool kiddos....head on over to Stefanie's crib and join the fun!

Sunday Snapshot


Black & White Wednesday: Snakeskin Boots

Sixteen years ago my precious niece, Tigerlily, received these custom snakeskin boots from Grandma & Grandpa when they traveled out West.
BW Boots Single

The moment I saw them on her I just knew that there was no way I could ever part with them...and if she had to grow up...well, then, the boots would remind me how little she was forever and ever and they do....

Color Boots Double

Actually, they remind me of Tigerlily and WonderBoy because he sported them too. A rite of passage of sorts...cooler than cool; the kind of hand-me-down kids can't wait to get their feet into.

BW Tryptich

And now, the littliest of the 3 babies in my life finally fits in them. I was saving them in the back of her closet for her to grow into a wee bit more...but I don't really need to tell you how willful she is now, do I?

BW Boots Double

She called me out to the yard the other day and there she was, proud as a peacock in this little ensemble put together by none other than Princess Darling herself.... she was hunting for "glow in the dark" bugs she told me (lightning bugs, as I call them....or fireflies).

Boots Walking

I didn't have the heart to tell her that she wouldn't be finding any in broad daylight.

I'm.never.giving. these. boots. away.

It's Black and White Wednesday!
To see some great images from some fantastic photographers,

click on over to The Long Road to China

the long road


I Heart Faces: {Friendship}

Two special boys who started out arch rivals.

Lo and behold....have become the best of friends.


Hop on over to iheartfaces to see some fantastic Friendship entries



Precious Moments

I took these shots the night of the kids' first ever dance recital

Diptych Kids Recital


We were so fortunate that they had a chance to experience this special moment together and I'm even happier I got to capture so many precious memories through my own tears of joy!

It there was ever a question as to the love shared by these two...here's the answer!

Hip Hop

Though she's the Tiniest...Sweetie isn't the only dancer in this house.

WonderBoy started taking a weekly co-ed Hip Hop Class at the same dance studio where his sister took ballet all year.
Much to our surprise and delight, he loved every minute of the classes and this handsome young man can add Hip Hop Dancer Extraordinaire to his resume!
He was absolutely fantastic in the final at the end of year performance (the same performance his sister was featured in much earlier in the evening.)

JR and I were so incredibly proud of him, all the hard work he put in throughout the year and his enthusiam and stellar moves; let's just say it was hard for this Mama Bear to hold the camera still I was so excited.

WonderBoy was a SUPERSTAR!


(not one of the best pictures I've ever taken but I love his expression here and I just had to include it even though it is not in focus)

And, here's the long awaited VIDEO!

Be sure to go to the bottom of this blog and pause the music so you can hear the T*aio Cruz* song the kids danced to before you press play on the video


Tiny Dancers

Sweetie had her very first dance recital last week.
She and JJ have taken ballet and tap lessons together every Saturday for the whole year.

This was their moment to shine.
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Blog Board 1
And shine they did.
Yeah, it wasn't easy holding the camera wiping back the tears.
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Girls...you were OUTSTANDING!


A is for Audrey

Sweetie has a drawer of play clothes that she can choose from when she wants to dress herself.
When she spilled chocolate ice cream all over the shirt she was wearing I asked her to please go to her "play clothes" drawer and change her shirt.

She dutifully obliged and on her way out of her room she said, "Mama, close your eyes because I have a surprise for you." I closed my eyes....(peeking ever so slightly)


Then with sheer delight she said,

"Open your eyes...SURPRISE....I'm wearing YOU on my shirt!"

Oh, my daughter...bless your great big heart.....how you made my day!



Black & White Wednesday: Intersection of Long Road to China & Darling Street

This is one of my favorite intersections on the Long Road to China.

The Fab Five and we Darlings have met up on several occasions over the years.
It started innocently a few years back...just Lisa and me having an impromptu lunch. Lisa's job takes her near and far...luckily, one of the "far" spots is an hour and a half across the border into the Garden State.

Lisa Waving Color WM
We've spent time together at photography workshops, get togethers with friends/fellow bloggers, etc. Our rendezvous' vary...sometimes they include some of the kids, all of the kids, both the kids and husbands, you name it. We're even apt to throw in a Texan or Two, we're crazy like that!

This time we decided to make a weekend out of it and, despite the rain that poured down on our BBQ causing us to move indoors THREE times, we weren't dissuaded from having the stellar time we always do.

Blog Collage Kids Yard I

Lisa, ever the overachiever, wrote all about our weekend last week HERE and, in true Dita fashion, I am late to the party...but I come bearing gifts...lots and lots of photos!

The girls cornered the market on bubble blowing and perched high atop the swing set for the better part of two days.
Blog Collage Girls Bubbles II

They did occasionally take time out to make some tea for themselves and their littlest tea party guest.
Blog Collage Girls Tea Party

The boys played video games, ate, watched movies, ate, horsed around, ate, riled the girls, ate, smooched Reagan, ate, slept and ate.

Blog Collage Saying Goodbye Reagan
Adoring Look WM
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After her bath, Reagan discovered the joy of light sticks and I'm not sure who had more fun with them; Reagan or my mom watching Reagan's fascination with them!
Blog Collage Ragan Lightsticks
The slightly over 20 contingent gabbed incessantly, drank yummy sweet peach tea cocktails, ate, enjoyed one another, ate, smiled watching our kids play so sweetly together, snuggled Reagan, ate, moved the food in and out and in and out again...ate, slept, ate and generally had a great time just hangin' in on a rainy weekend (eating!) so effortlessly together.

Sweetie got "sweet" on Handsome Nick!
C'mon, with a face like that and the personality to match, can you really blame her?
Blog Collage Brothers & Sisters
And I believe I could hear Sarah's heart pounding with excitement from 10 paces when the Boy Wonder would sneak up on her in plain sight and "scare" her. Yes, I can hear the screams of glee still in the backyard!

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part.
No one was happy to say goodbye to our friends...but it did hit Sweetie like a ton of bricks...
she sobbed "Nick, NIck....NICK!" the second their car pulled out of the driveway.

She definitely deserves the Oscar....or the NICK, as the case may be!
Blog Collage Saying Goodbye Kids

There was no consoling her and, as you can see from these photos...it was so heartbreaking even JR got misty...AND Wonderboy, well, he got awfully quiet and just kept telling me he missed them and what a good time they had.
Blog Collage Until We Meet Again

Of course, we've begun making plans for the next visit already, but for now, the memories of our wonderful weekend together remain tucked in each of our hearts.

Lisa Waving BW WM

To see some great images from some fantastic photographers, click on over to The Long Road to China

the long road