Sunday, January 25, 2015

{3/52}

A portrait of my kids, once a week, every week.


anders // My boy, you are expressive and passionate. We like to play a game where I name an emotion and you quickly pull a face that communicates it best. I like to think I'm teaching you words that you will one day enlist to describe your feelings, but I'm pretty sure you mostly enjoy the theatrics of it all. This was your 'angry' face, and while it doesn't look especially angry to me in the picture, I loved how your whole body reacted as you lunged towards the camera. 


aksel // You are curious, and you love to chase the sunlight. Many mornings after breakfast, you walk over to the sun dancing on the wall and attempt to touch the golden light. This particular afternoon, you plopped down on the patio in a harshly bright area to inspect the chiminea. You used the racing flag pole from Anders' Big Flyer (that you boys typically reserve for digging in the sand box) to prod the charred wood. In this moment, and so many others, I find myself wondering at the innate boy-ness with which I am surrounded.  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

{2/52}

Creating habits is tough, people. On some level I knew that keeping up with this project would be more difficult than it initially appeared, but I have been surprised at just how challenging it's been to capture glimpses of our days. It takes discipline to pause, to identify seemingly mundane moments as potentially special or unique. And even beyond that, it's required a fair amount of discipline to lug around and reacquaint myself with my camera. But it's Week 2, and I made it. And I suppose the point of this whole exercise is to instill new habits. Good habits. So, here we go.


anders // After spending an early afternoon hiking and playing at a playground, you insisted you didn't need a quiet time. I made a special exception and allowed you to watch a movie instead. This was the first time I've ever seen you fall asleep on the couch, and honestly, I lived to regret the decision. You woke up after a brief half hour and were in a terrible mood. But during that short-lived nap, it sure was sweet to sit next to you and listen to the steady rhythm of your breath. 


aksel // We were greeted with sunshine and amazing 70 degree weather in the middle of January. Far assembled a new water table, gifted to you boys at Christmas by Aunt Signe and Uncle Michael. I tried to sneak you to the backyard to explore and enjoy on your own for a bit, but Anders caught on to our plan about 90 seconds later. Of course you both loved playing and were completely soaked in no time. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

{1/52}

Well, friends, it's been eight, long months since my last blog update. I don't have a worthwhile explanation, so I'll spare you my excuses. But know that I am excited and determined to post more regularly. I'm starting with a simple goal - a portrait of each of my kids, once a week, every week, in 2015. This first week I approached the portrait project in a very literal sense, but in the future I hope to capture moments and memories, details from our daily life.


anders // 3 years and 10 months


aksel // 21 months

It's hard to believe that in early February, this series will require a transition from two weekly photos to three, but more on that later!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

{Real Life: #boymomproblems}

Okay, okay, before anyone gets their feathers ruffled, let me provide a disclaimer. I realize that this post title is a gross oversimplification. The following scenarios could totally apply to a girl, and all boys do not conform to these stereotypes. But...my boys do. Also, I don't actually view my kids' tendencies towards dirtiness and wildness as problems. The laundry and heart palpitations, however, are a different story.

If ever there was any doubt this kid is crazy expressive, these pictures are the only evidence required to settle that debate. Aksel has a very curious personality. He loves to explore and isn't afraid to get messy. Last weekend he ventured into the herb garden while I was cutting Andreas' hair in the backyard.



At first Anders was 'helping' me, but he couldn't let Aksel have all of the dirty fun. At least his delayed interest gave me time to peel his clothes off before he dove in. He kept assuring me he wasn't 'sitting on my flower beds' because he was kindly avoiding the tiny basil plant in his bucket. You can't see it, but Aksel was actually semi-crushing my rosemary starter.



The boys had an awesome time. And even though they were a giant mess, it was nothing a quick bath couldn't remedy. Also, by some miracle, neither the basil nor the rosemary were harmed during their adventure.



Another habit I'm attributing to testosterone is the monkey-like tendency Aksel has recently started exhibiting. The kid is climbing everything, and from what I can tell, he has no concerns regarding personal injury or any risks to my health (such as the shortening of my life span that most certainly occurs as a direct result of watching these acrobatics). Today I decided to follow him around the house and document his exploration.

His first stop was the bathroom. He immediately sought out his toothbrush, a favorite tool for our teething toddler.


Our next stop was the bedroom. Please notice that he wasn't satisfied by merely standing on the seat of his rocking moose. His desire for greater heights required him to conquer the antlers! He also loves to perch on the ottoman in his room, but today he settled for a more relaxing position.


Not featured is the living room, where just today he demonstrated his ability to crawl up and down both our chairs. 

Lastly we have this gem. Andreas and Anders were out mowing the front yard, and what better vantage point to watch the activity than the window sill next to our front door?! Clearly he didn't want to miss a thing.


Even though my laundry is never-ending, bath time almost always results in a dirt ring around the tub, and I basically have to shut every door in my house to prevent my one-year-old from ascending the furniture, I wouldn't want it any other way!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

{Holiday: Easter}

Our family had an amazing Easter weekend. We spent a lot of quality time together, enjoying Easter traditions and talking about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. 

On Saturday, we dyed Easter eggs. Anders had an awesome time coloring and decorating the eggs, but I'm pretty sure his greatest thrills came from directing Andreas and me. He would tell us what color to dye which egg, remind us when he thought they needed turning in the dye cups, and choose what words or pictures he wanted drawn on each. 


While Anders was excited to decorate the eggs, Aksel was more interested in eating them.


Truth be told, we only ended up with 5 eggs at the end of this activity because the boys kept begging to eat them. Kids are so weird. 

On Sunday after church, my sister and I both attempted to take some family photos. The picture below is a pretty fair representation of the results. It was extremely bright, neither of the boys was all that interested in surrendering his Easter basket loot (Aksel is holding a mini spatula and Anders a Pez dispenser), and almost no picture features both boys actually looking at the camera. I take that back. There was a group of pictures where they were both facing forward, but in all of them Anders is making his favorite 'cheetah face', which looks more angry than happy, so I decided not to share any of those. Anyway, you get the gist. The boys wore adorable, matching outfits that made them even cuter than normal and it was virtually impossible to say no to their (read: Anders') incessant requests for just one more piece of candy.  


After church, Easter baskets, brunch, and photos, it was finally time for the egg hunt! Andreas helped Aksel discover what all the fuss was about...


...while Anders ran around collecting 90% of the eggs despite our constant requests that he leave some for Aksel. Typical oldest child ;)


And that concludes the bulk of our festivities!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

{Holiday: Aksel's 1st Birthday!}

Our sweet babe just turned one! And the good news is that his birthday dramatically improved from this point...



Primarily because we very quickly acknowledged that removing the cupcake from in front of him, even for a minute, was a baaaaad idea. The kid had never even had a cupcake! How did he know it was worth missing that much?! Perceptive little guy. The picture above was the result of momentarily swiping the cupcake in an attempt to remove a portion of that massive pile of icing. After that I had to go into full-on ninja mode just to remove the cupcake liner before he started shoveling.


I mean look at that determination, perfect form for minimum crumb loss.



I think it's safe to say he enjoyed the cupcake.

But let's rewind. The cupcake incident actually occurred the day after Aksel's birthday. 

The day of his actual birthday began as all birthdays do in our house, with presents! Sadly I don't have any pictures because both Andreas and I were too busy monitoring Anders 'assisting' with gift unwrapping to whip out the camera. We busied ourselves the rest of the day playing with new toys and reading new books, only taking the occasional break for a Chick-Fil-A ice cream or McAllister's macaroni and cheese. Basically everything a one year old boy's dreams are made of. And with all that excitement, I flat out forgot to get to the cupcake place before it closed.  Buttttt, our boy deserved his cupcake, so we just picked one up the next day!

The birthday celebration continued on Saturday morning with a low-key brunch.



There was plenty of yummy food...



...and a bunch of black and white photos to share some of our favorite memories over the past year.



In lieu of a birthday cake, I opted to artistically stack donuts on a cake platter. Eat your heart out, Pinterest moms ;)



Aksel didn't seem to mind one bit. While the parents ate and mingled, the kids crawled, cruised, walked, and ran around the house, playing with toys, begging for donuts, and generally having a great time.

What a joy this year has been. Aksel has increased the size of our family, expanded our capacity to love, inhibited our ability to sleep, bestowed the. best. cuddles., and tolerated a fair amount of rough affection from his older brother. He is the perfect fit in our foursome. We love you, Aksel!


Monday, February 24, 2014

{Holiday: Anders' 3rd Birthday!}

I have a three year old. I can hardly believe it myself, but Anders turned three today. I'm not going to get all sappy, but I do want to say this in case someday, somehow Anders happens upon this online journal. He is an absolute joy, and the last three years have been the most fun, most rewarding, and most sanctifying of my life. I am beyond grateful to be his mom. But that's not really where I'm going with this post. 

We actually celebrated Anders' birthday yesterday since it was the weekend and Andreas was available to participate in all of the fun. We began the day in classic Vang tradition, singing Happy Birthday (Andreas in Danish and me in English. Surprisingly it doesn't sound all that bad, albeit a bit confusing.) and allowing him to open all his presents in bed. As you can see from the picture below, no one loves him and our relatives aren't generous at all...hopefully you are sensing the sarcasm here.



One thing I planned was to give Anders a bunch of small items, grouped in threes, to emphasize his new age. I mean, when you've been reinforcing the number 2 for an entire year, you can't exactly expect your child to understand that they are suddenly a different age! So we gifted him a bunch of these little groupings throughout the day, each time counting the gifts and discussing his new age. It was actually a lot of fun! Three pairs of socks, three pairs of sunglasses, three punching balloons, three cups, and three spinning tops and water guns, which aren't pictured. Some of these items he needed, and others I pulled from the dollar bins or clearance sales at Target.



In addition to the little packages of three, Andreas and I also got Anders a Big Flyer Tricycle. After shoveling a special donut breakfast, we headed outdoors to work off the sugar rush take it out for a test drive! So far, it totally has my endorsement. Anders is juuuuust short of comfortably reaching the pedals, but using a folded hand towel for extra cushion has mostly eliminated that problem (although he still struggles to pedal through turns). It has three different seat positions, so it should be usable for years to come. And if he tires of it, I'm sure Aksel will be happy to take it for a spin.



Just a little later in the morning, my sister arrived to hang out with Aksel so that Andreas and I could get some quality two-on-one time with Anders. Our first stop was Cosmic Jump, an indoor trampoline park. Most of the experience looked like this.




Just kidding! Anders really did have a great time. Now don't get me wrong. He fell. A lot. But it was hilarious, and he wasn't ever hurt. For anyone interested in doing something similar, I would vote this a total success. Andreas has been to another indoor trampoline park and said this location was pretty ghetto, but there are several other companies to choose from in the area. If somebody has a favorite, leave a comment and let me know!



After an hour (yes, an hour) of jumping, we had worked up quite an appetite. Since Anders' favorite restaurant (Chick-Fil-A. He has a very refined palette.) isn't open on Sundays, we weren't really certain where we would eat. By some sort of happy coincidence, we decided on Steak 'N Shake, and it was perfect! With paper hats and a cardboard race car, Anders was more than happy with our choice. And to top it all off, they comped his meal! Some quick Googling after-the-fact turned up several threads that say Steak 'N Shake has a Kids Eat Free on the weekends policy?!



The last stop of our expedition was the movie theater, where we watched Frozen. I didn't take any pictures, but imagine a large, dark room with stadium seating and a little boy covering his ears for almost two hours. Hahaha, in his defense it was super loud! Anders did enjoy the movie, but it usually takes more than one viewing for something to really gain favor with him. I, on the other hand, thought it was amazing and can't wait to listen to the soundtrack again!

On the way home we picked up a couple of cupcakes to share. One word, people, Gigi's. You can thank me later. 



After yet another meal/snack whose main ingredient was sugar, we headed back outside to burn some of that energy.



I think Anders would tell you it was a pretty awesome birthday. I better start planning for next year!