Archive | 52 project

portraits of my children {22/52 and 23/52}

becca-garber-lena-portrait-22:52 becca-garber-gil-portrait-22:52 becca-garber-lena-portrait-23:52 becca-garber-gil-portrait-23:52

The 52 Project: A portrait of my children once a week + every week in 2014.

Lena: The puzzle-making continues, as do the interesting choices in fashion! I’ve been taking photos recently of things that she and I do during Gil’s morning nap together, and I’ll do a post soon with some ideas. I’m not the best at craft projects — and I welcome any ideas you might have! — but she loves anything we do together, no matter how simple the idea.

She and I also took a trip to our garage in the middle of town last week, where she was playing with her little wooden bike. We share the garage with some of the props (like this huge painting) for our town’s summer medieval festival. I loved the contrast between that painting and the girl on her bike.

Gil: Elliott’s been gone a lot lately; last week he was at a conference in Germany for six days. We talk to him on Skype whenever we can, and Gil and Lena always get so excited to see their daddy. Needless to say, I’m so glad he’s home now and we can focus together on moving this month.

The second photo is from yesterday after a long day at the beach. I think it had something to do with the fact that we met up with a family (blog readers from Germany… hi, Michelle!) that had two boys, and so he had little playmate. Gil was actually happy all day long in the sand — a breakthrough! — and then passed out in the car within minutes. My tired little Superman.

2 :: in 52 project

portraits of my children {20|52 and 21|52}

becca-garber-lena-portrait-20:52 becca-garber-gil-portrait-20:52 becca-garber-lena-portrait-21:52 becca-garber-gil-portrait-21:52

The 52 Project: A portrait of my children once a week + every week in 2014.
See the whole project here.

Lena: Three years old is a challenging age for me as a parent. (Am I alone in feeling that way??) Lena is a super-interactive child, and she’s never been very good at entertaining herself for more than a few minutes at a time. These past couple of weeks I tried to encourage that more by setting her up with some craft projects (requiring first my initiative and creativity… two things that don’t come easily to me!), painting, puzzles, and a bucket of soapy water in the shower stall more times than I can remember. But then she turns around and surprises me with independence in other ways, like insisting on dressing herself and putting on her shoes (she’s getting really good!), brushing her teeth, and putting together this puzzle a couple of times a day all by herself. I know she’s finished it again when I hear her gleeful giggle and turn around to see her sparkling eyes and mile-wide smile, waiting like only a three-year-old can for her mama’s praise.

Gil: He’s always been more content to amuse himself than Lena is, although at 16 months he takes my full attention on playgrounds and walks to keep him from breaking his neck! This week he started saying “cracker,” and “diaper,” “Siena,” “Lena,” and even “poo-poo” (oh joy) have become regular parts of his vocabulary. Over Memorial Day weekend we went to the Aeolian Islands, and we snapped this photo of him enjoying a very local meal: Caprese salad, fried sardines, an apricot, and bread dipped in olive oil.  He stuffed his face and wanted more and more. But then who wouldn’t with a makeshift high chair made out of pillows and that view of the beach behind you?!


In other news, our Memorial Day “beach vacation” unfortunately involved a lot of rain, but the sun finally came out at the end. Elliott and I did a lot of book writing and book reading (respectively), and the kids napped and played in between excursions to the rocky beach. What were you up to for Memorial Day?

12 :: in 52 project

portraits of my children {19|52}



The 52 Project: A portrait of my children once a week + every week in 2014.
See the whole series here.

Lena: This isn’t the greatest photo (her face is in shadow), but it captured so much about her these days that I decided to include it anyway. These days she wants to climb on anything and everything, fearlessly hang on right side up or upside down, and then jump off or down if she possibly can. The photo also captures her crazy hair, which she no longer allows me to touch without a serious battle of the wills. And it captures her determination to dress herself, and to wear whatever she picked, even if I make a case that things should match. She goes through full wardrobe changes at least three times a day, emerging with all kinds of crazy combinations of clothes, with usually everything on backwards. How does she do that? Shouldn’t there be a 50/50 chance that it will go on the right way? But it’s so cute and innocent, and she’s so determined and comfortable, so… we let it lie.

Gil: I took this right as he spotted a stranger crossing the playground, and his face immediately changed from disinterest to curiosity and then a sweet, shy smile. He’s so personable these days, walking up to people in the airport and holding out a hand in greeting, sharing his toys with any diners near us in a restaurant, content to sit on anyone’s lap after church to see if they’ll feed him. (“Donuts only, please, and none of that fruit stuff. I know the diff.”) And his blond curls and blue eyes will pretty much get him whatever he wants, especially here in Italy. He charms the socks right off his mama most of the time, too, which is unfortunate because he happens to also be developing a strong will and a well-timed burst of tears whenever he doesn’t get what he wants. Amiable baby no more, folks; we have a determined toddler on our hands. Greeeeat…

And finally, random quotes from Lena:

“I did that when I was eight years old.” (She is three.)

“I am sad today because my sister went to fool [school] without me.” (She doesn’t have a sister.)

While staring down at the baby pool on the porch that I was dutifully filling up: “Why did you peel off my paper wrapping? Now I’m naaaaked.” (Took me a minute. She was quoting this.)

While I weigh vegetables and stick labels on them at the grocery store: “We guys want a sticker.”

5 :: in 52 project

portraits of my children {17|52 + 18|52}


The 52 Project: A portrait of my children once a week + every week in 2014.

OK, time to play catch up! I came home from Paris totally photoed-out, and so for all of Week 17 of the photo project, I didn’t want to take a single picture. I did get a couple of iPhone photos, though…

Lena (below): We spent a quiet week at home after Paris. During that time, Lena rediscovered her blocks and built this amazing tower while I was somewhere else in the house. When she called me to see her masterpiece, I was completely impressed. She’s never constructed anything so elaborate before. Her smile tells you she knows it, too!

Gil: My sweet “Aunt” Leslie has an heirloom children’s clothing business, and she made these beautiful color-coordinated outfits for the kids when Gil was born. Last Sunday we took them to church all gussied up in their finery. Despite looking like they stepped out of the 19th century, I think both of them were a lot more comfortable than they are in some of their more fashionable 21st century duds!


This past Wednesday, Elliott’s brother Jonathan and his wife Erika joined us for five days. Elliott took time off work to spend with them, and we spent every day exploring Sicily and introducing them to our favorite towns, sights, and foods. The kids loved having them here, and we were all so sad to see them leave this morning.

(And there I go second-guessing our decision to not move back to D.C. to be near family for the millionth time…!)

Anyway, we spent one day with J+E in the beautiful town of Taormina, which has already been featured on this blog about 10 times. As usual, we ate our way through Taormina, capping it all off with the delicious granita (Italian ice made with fresh fruit) at Bam Bar. Lena’s face says it all once again…

And I’ll leave you to enjoy Gil’s series of portraits with his Aunt Erika below. He’s figuring the important things out in life first, I guess!






4 :: in 52 project, Rosebasket, Taormina, visitors

portraits of my children in Paris {16/52}



The 52 Project: a portrait of my children once a week + every week in 2014.

Lena: What a wonderful week we’ve had! Last Thursday we flew to Paris to meet up with my parents-in-law, and for the next four days we explored the streets, museums, cafes, and boulangeries to our heart’s content. Those of you who follow me on Instagram have seen some photos already, but I’ll be working on the best of them to share over the next week or so. In this photo, Lena is sitting in the children’s corner of Shakespeare and Co. enjoying books with another little visitor. I’ve wanted to visit this bookshop for years, and it was thrilling to finally wander through the book-filled rooms. It’s about as close to Midnight in Paris as you can get in real life.

Gil: We spent one day whole day visiting Versailles, where the magnificent gardens and musical fountains were our favorite part. I took this picture shortly after we arrived, worn out from long lines and ecstatic about green grass. This photo reminded me of one I took of Lena two years ago in Germany in the springtime. We love those buttercups!


And now we’re home, sorting through piles of laundry, restocking the fridge, and helping children get caught up on sleep. I wondered if there would be a horrible post-vacation crash… you know, the one where you just want to go back to wherever the food was better or the surroundings were prettier or the responsibilities were lighter. That is a familiar sensation to me. At other periods in my life after I came home from vacation, I could barely lift my head off the pillow to start the day. Work or school or relationships or loneliness just felt too hard to face. I’m sure you have had times like that, too.

Well, the post-vacay low hasn’t hit me yet, although maybe it will as the routine gets a little less desperate and a little more… routine again. I’ve been realizing, though, that I have a daily life that I really love right now, and so the sweetness of Paris doesn’t feel as much like a sugar rush (and daily life doesn’t feel as much like a sugar crash) as it might if my everyday life or routine was hard to face every morning. I’m grateful for that. There’s a balance and a peace to my life right now, despite the Cheerios underfoot and dinner prep I should have started an hour ago…

How about you? Are you glad to wake up in the morning these days? Or are you looking forward to a time when you’ll feel more like that, such as after you graduate or after your kids are older?

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6 :: in 52 project, Paris, travel

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