Tag Archives: boys

Turning Three Years Old

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Jeremiah and Isaiahmy lovable little twin nephews — are back on the blog, and this time they are turning three years old. With age comes added wisdom, like saying “thank you” as a good will gesture, or like understanding the value of sharing (they’re getting there, they’re getting there). Helping them get a grasp of the fun little world they live in is older brother Andrew, who continues to amaze everyone with his vocabulary, his creative and perfectly symmetrical engineering of Lego Empires, and his deductive reasoning. Andrew has always been wicked smart, but after a year in Montesorri School, Andrew is super wicked smart.

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Here’s Isaiah, negotiating a counter-proposal on a house in Briargate (Ben’s hands were covered in cake icing and he was in no position to handle the phone). In reality, it was my mom, calling before leaving the house for the party to wish the boys a happy birthday. Isaiah was great on the phone, right up until the point when he lost interest, set the phone down and walked away while Mom kept talking to him.

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By the way, Ben was baking a birthday cake. Two birthday cakes. The recipe? “Death by Chocolate.” Jeremiah’s got a few more years before he can grow a goatee like Daddy, but he’s well on his way here.

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Isaiah and Jeremiah’s third birthday party had a definite theme going: Cars, the film by Pixar. Nothing makes the boys happier than Lightning McQueen, especially Isaiah. “Ka-chow!”

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“Death by Chocolate” is finally unveiled at the birthday party.

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Happy birthday guys.

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The Stone/Canino Family

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Last weekend, I did a second photo shoot for the Stone family, this time with more family members: Ryan’s sister Shana and her family (the Caninos) and their mother, Charlotte.

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The shoot was a mixture of outdoor environmental portraits at Southmoor Park, and indoor portraits in front of — you guessed it — the white seamless backdrop.

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And rather than tell the story and put these shots in chronological order, I’m feeling like we should shuffle things up. Here’s brother Matthew and sister Lilli. Such great kids.

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I’m not inclined to do a lot of black-and-white photography — kind of goes against my natural style, especially when it comes to travel photography. But perhaps portraits are another matter. I decided to try a few of these desaturated and I kind of like them. You can click on each photo to see them larger. Thoughts? (let me know in the comments box below).

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Here are all the grandkids with Charlotte…

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…and the Canino family portrait (Matthew, Matt, Shana and Lilli)…

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…and the parents on their own.

We had a pretty tight list of arrangements to go through, and with a rough wind kicking up (we were 24 hours from sub-zero temps here in Denver), we had to move quickly from one arrangement to the next.

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Thank goodness for snowballs and a sense of humor:

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I’ve added a wider roll of white seamless paper to my Christmas wish list. Any bigger and I’ll need an assistant in setting it up, but with groups of this size, it will be so much easier to frame everyone in front of it.

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We had a lot of fun, and I think the kids responded to some of the loosy-goosy moments.

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As I was packing up my camera gear, Matthew asked if I could take a picture of him eating his graham cracker. “Sure…chomp on the count of 3? 1…2…3!”

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Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitchers

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Vacation days are for the taking, especially this time of year when the paycheck arrives in your mailbox with more PTO hours than you know what to do with (and a memo from HR saying “use ‘em or lose ‘em”). Now, of course, I try to stash my PTO like a squirrel stashing nuts (three weeks in Italy, anyone?), but I must say, Wednesday’s day off was one of the best days of the year.

We went and baked Christmas cookies with our nephews: Andrew, Isaiah and Jeremiah.

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Hosting the festivities was my mom, who the kids affectionately call “Oma” (German for grandmother). Joining Hailey and I — and meeting the twins for the very first time — was Hailey’s mom, Diana. The kids took to calling her “Nana King.” Things got off to a rip-roaring start when Hailey and Nana King turned the mixer on and sprayed powdered sugar all over Hailey (above left). The kids, undeterred, snitched sprinkles off the kitchen table.

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I started off by helping the boys with icing the gingerbread cookies. Those metal canisters aren’t easy to operate for 5-year-old fingers (let alone 3-year-old hands). As I showed him how to push the tip down to dispense the icing, Isaiah had a great idea: “in my mouth?” He tilted his head back and opened wide.

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Pretty soon, the boys were in the mood to leave the kitchen and go play, and that pretty much ended up being the rest of my day. Isaiah dumped a deck of animal flash cards on the floor, and Jeremiah promptly showed me which animals were what (above left).  St. Nick had also recently visited, and delivered some cool kitchen-tool figurines for the boys. A man with a spoon head. A man with a spatula head. A man with a whisk head. Andrew quickly noted their “bungus”  and I only encouraged him to say “bungus” some more by taking pictures of Mr. Spoonhead’s “bungus.”

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Is that Colonel Klink hiding in the pantry (below)?

Each one of these boys is a natural comedian. Andrew and Isaiah can be absolutely rubber faced sometimes, coming up with these hilarious expressions out of nowhere. And Jer’ — Jer’ just knows how to make up a good time with any toy.

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The boys and I went downstairs to the living room and played dodgeball for an hour, but to make sure we didn’t break any of Oma and Funpa’s stuff, we rolled the balls at each other. Isaiah — always the independent, self-entertaining type — decided he’d rather play pretend and be a doggie. So as I rolled balls with great velocity at Andrew and Jeremiah’s feet, Isaiah would crawl over with a ball in his mouth, drop it and pant. So we played fetch, too. His idea. Honestly.

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After about two or three hours of cookie crazed mayhem in the kitchen, Oma took a break to carry on the renewed tradition of reading “The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher.” I just looked this out-of-print book up on Amazon and its paperback is selling for $200! It’s a great book, one from my childhood, and for the past five years, Mom has dusted it off and read it to Andrew, and now, the twins.

It’s a cute story about a goofy fur-covered villian with feathers and wings who steals an entire town’s Christmas sprinkles. The whole village cries, and a determined little boy sets off to make things right again by retrieving the stash of sprinkles.

Below you can really see each boy’s personality: Andrew, rapt with attention; Jer leaning forward into the story and scanning the illustrations, Isaiah hanging back and listening from afar.

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I was charmed by Jer during the reading. He’s very sensitive — a kid with a lot of heart. During the part of the story where the villagers cry about losing their sprinkles, Jer wore this concerned look on his face:

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After the reading, it was time to suit up and sled before the sun slid behind Carpenter Peak (which happens at 2:30pm this time of year). Andrew, Amy and I went down to a slope below the house which Funpa had recommended. Shortly after we arrived, Oma showed up, towing the twins. Jer — as it turns out — is a little daredevil and loves sledding. I mean, check out that smile…

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Amy and Andrew went down the steeper part of the hill. Despite Andrew’s reservations, he joined Am’, only to roll off the back ten feet down the hill (below). Then I took Jer down the steep part. I somehow managed to spin us and go down backwards…whoops.

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Back at the house, Hailey and Diana were busy putting on the finishing touches on the brandy balls. Isaiah parked himself at the table next to Nana King and told her about the cookies (and pretended to be a doggie again). A few more snitches, a few more sprinkles, and then it was time for the kids to pack up and head back home to Colorado Springs with Amy.

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Below are just two of the seven types of cookies made. On the left, Amy’s hazelnut chocolate chip cookies, and on the right, Mom’s German linzer cookies. Speaking of which, maybe I’ll go have one here.

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Us Kids Know

Yes, it’s time for another installment of BAJIA: Ben, Amy, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Andrew…my brother and his family, who live down in Colorado Springs. We drove down there last night to take Amy and Ben out for dinner to celebrate her birthday. We ate at an awesome Japanese restaurant, tipped back a few Belgian brews at the new Trinity Brew Pub, played a round of slap-happy cribbage, and then spent the night. In the morning, it was play time. Andrew is five years old (he was born on our wedding day…a lucky kid), and the twins — Isaiah and Jer, pictured above — are 2 1/2. Man, what a fun age, but exhausting.

“Hey: what’s Uncle doing in the backyard?” Yes, Uncle is setting up his white backdrop. Uncle is obsessed.

“How come that paper doesn’t have any color?” Because you look cool in front of it…

“Can we color it?” No. That’s where Uncle becomes no fun and says “gentle…don’t crease the paper. I paid good money for that paper.”

“Why?”

“Because…well, here, dance to ABBA for a little bit.”

Get Mama to dance, too. She loves “Super Trouper.”

“Uncle, can I do my mummy?” Sure…

That’s Andrew on the left, Isaiah on the right. Izzy stole Hailey’s hat while getting a piggyback ride. This was followed by Jer’ wanting a chance to wear it (top photo). Here he is, in one of those “I can see what he’ll look like when he’s older” kinds of photos.

All of these shots occurred in the span of 10 minutes while my brother was upstairs closing a real estate deal. The boys quickly moved on to other things. Andrew dawned work gloves, boots and held a “bug cage” for capturing crickets that live on the hill behind the house. Isaiah and Jeremiah emptied the front closet of winter gloves and hats and spread them on the floor of the living room.

As quick as it was, it was a cool moment. The boys being boys, each one expressing themselves as only they can. As different as they each are, there is a kinship that is real that will only deepen as they get older. I mean, look at these two:

That hug was not provoked or staged. They just hugged. How cool.

If you have kids that you’d like to have a portrait session like this — and you are in Colorado — send me an email.

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