Summer’s last hurrah

Destination: Williamsburg

Kings Creek Plantation and Busch Gardens Water Countryw IMG2409

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Pool party? Yes, please

It’s been about two years since we’ve had our passes for the neighborhood pool. And since the kick off of each season includes food and music, we decided that we’d wait no longer to test the waters. w IMG0062w IMG0300w IMG0101w IMG0315w IMG0097bww IMG0077w IMG0252w IMG0142w IMG0100

Mini Vaykay

Williamsburg, we couldn’t stay away.
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Wonderland continues: a game of croquet

We’ve been in this commercial photography circuit for a few months and have learned quite a bit about it. There’ve been some products we’ve been sent that are hardly worth the effort to wear, let alone photograph. Other opportunities have given us amazing costumes, clothes, and accessories. You might say it’s a toss up and not every booking need be accepted.

When Chi and Ri were booked for modeling Halloween tutus, I initially didn’t think much about it. I should’ve. The kids – – all of them — take great pleasure in working together on Mommy’s photo shoots. And Chi, especially, loves to take on new personas.


I don’t know if Cara (Cara’s Custom Tutu’s) had seen our Wonderland shoot. Then, Ri was a Mad Hatter and Chi was my modern interpretive Alice. Cara wanted the girls for a Queen meets Alice costume set. I accepted, knowing her work is quality and it’d be fun to pursue Lewis Carroll’s fantasy further. Although I suggested otherwise, Chi was cast for Alice and Ri was to be the royal Heart. “I wanted to be the queen!” Chi complained, but she graciously obliged me in completing her role.


In the end, after a consult with the original text, our croquet game came together well. The girls were in character (though I hardly think Ri has any idea what hers was) and the location was perfect. We even had a visit from a photogenic dragon fly who – unlike the Cheshire Cat – was willing to stay long enough for his own portrait.

Fearless when she’s around

I witnessed something that pulled my heart strings.

My son, just shy of his fourth birthday, stood apprehensively in the kiddie area of a local water park. He watched as babes far younger than he frolicked through the water features, splashing as they jumped and slid and chased each other. The laughter was abundant (as were the Moms-with-camera who watched and snapped with attentive amusement). But Ya was having none of this fun. Instead, he planted himself in the knee-deep water and observed everyone else.

Only once did I convince him to climb the cargo net to get to the slides. The life guard attendant tried for some time to convince him to coast down the twisted water coaster, and though he meandered quite close, he would not dare sit down and allow himself to sail down. He looked to me for saving – some way to get back down to the lower level without having to slide. I knew of none. Reluctantly, he walked to a small, straight slide, but before he could comfortably sit to descend, the slick surface caught his foot and he slammed down hard onto his behind, cracking his elbow against the side as his arms tried unsuccessfully to buffer the fall. And that was the end of his water play.

Chi was busy on the super slides, the lazy river, the “big kid” pool activities. She needed to be free, and we’d granted her time away. But without her, Ya was unwilling to do anything. The curse of being the youngest sibling, perhaps?

So Ya spent his time burying his plastic alligator in the sand (while dodging the volleyball players who insisted on having a game despite the large number of kids playing in the sandy area). He tried to make the best of his time and even chanced a few trips back to the water, where he stomped on low spraying bursts of water and then quickly ran to avoid the blast of water when he moved his feet.

Finally, after several hours as the “only child,” big sister returned. Suddenly, he was fearless. Chi goes under the water shower, and Ya follows. She goes down a slide, and right behind her is little brother.

Then, he took the lead. He insisted on going down the slide – again and again and again. He stood below the downpour of the mushroom umbrella and laughed as the water careened across his face. He was, finally, willing to do anything and everything now that his sister was standing near.

Never mind that Mommy was there all along, it’s Chi that makes him feel safe, invincible. With her, he is capable of doing anything and even if he slipped and fell, he jumped back up and kept going.

It was amazing to see how much her support motivates him. She’s proved herself to be an amazing big sister and Ya trusts her without fail.

If she says he can do it, he can do anything.

Luckily, she enjoys her often-complicated, often-unfair role as older sibling. “I had the best time today at the Kiddie Pool with Ya,” she admitted.
And that statement melted me.

Poolside ponderings (of the evil stepmother)

JD stands. He’s clad in heavy jeans (despite the heat) and his favorite anti-chores tee. His hat remains haphazardly set upon his head — the very head that was newly discovered to be harboring an unwelcome ring worm and has caused the entire homestead to be blanketed in a fog of Lysol and disinfectant.

He is bored. And thirsty. He ignored the recommendation to bring along a cold bottled water and some form of entertainment. (Next time, children, listen when I offer advisement). Occasionally, he whimpers, as siblings three laugh and splash in the deep end waters. He remains under the umbrella, alone – isolated at a crowded community pool.

I can’t help but wonder how hard it must be to be “odd man out” all the time, stuck between two families and two many parents. Uncertain of when to let his guard down and when to stay on high alert, he remains aloof. Each household demands strict adherence to rules and expectations foreign to the other abode and each includes siblings who are permanent residents of their respective homes, not part time dwellers.
He sighs. Wipes his nose. Searches for the ones who’ve left him. They laugh together – loud enough for him to wonder about the joke he’s missed, been left out of while sitting perched at the edge of his lounge chair. They create games, mingle arms and legs in chase, push one another under water in playful “gotcha” games. He buries his head in his chair – a nap and dreams commence (far better, I assume, than wishing he were part of it all).

Perhaps he’s been struck by the earlier comments about his ever-increasing fear of water. Even the youngest knows JD wont willingly don his swimsuit and join in pool play. He sits up minutes after beginning his soft sleep, and wearily looks toward the rippling blue waves. No doubt he sees the infants happily floating along in blow up boats with inflated sun shades shielding their sensitive heads. Or, the toddler jumping fearlessly into mama’s waiting arms, giggling even as she wipes water spray from her face. And the kid who’s probably about his age? He jumps in, too, quickly bounding back to the surface and hopping along in the shallow on his tip-toes, water up to his chin. It’s a whole society of swimmers.

Does he wish he were somewhere else? Is it fair to treat the others to activities he will refuse to partake in?

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