Stop. And. Breathe.

I'm not going to lie. Life at the Smith Homestead is uncharacteristically manic right now. Canaan, the eldest, has gone and made mama and papa proud by landing a big role in the community children's theater play. Not an easy feat. And now he is immersed in upwards of 20 hours a week of practice leading up to three weeks of performances.

So there's that.

Ezra is on track to become David Beckham (even wearing his cologne...yes, it exists). He's honed in on some pretty fancy footwork for an 8-year-old playing on a 10-year-old league. I never thought I would be a soccer mom. And I can't believe I'm saying this but I seriously L.O.V.E. being a soccer mom. Otto's following suit and has donned the cleats and shin guards for his first season as well.

The magazine keeps me challenged every single day. And Mr. Handsome is making his own mark right now in his industry. Proud partner I am.

But even with nightly schedules to keep, remarkably we are really, really.....chill. We've found a workable flow and it feels incredible. There's still nightly dinners around the farm table (albeit a bit more rushed than usual) and there's cuddles on the couch, dance parties, date nights, baking, painting, laughing and goodness at every turn.

And then there's this.

Our beloved Othniel Rockland (Otto) has become a bonafide photographer. Yep. That unpredictable third child who just turned 5 in February swiped my Nikon D60 (not the newest thing on the block, but its still worthy of a good shot now and again) and started taking pictures a couple of months ago. I attribute it to a Curious George episode he watched ad nauseam.
At first, I was uneasy about the whole idea. "Otto, go put the camera down. You might bang it and mess up the lens." He put it down, but the next day had it in hand again - I could hear the click of the shutter in the next room.

I decided to bend on my own knee-jerk rule. I let him take a handful of pictures.

Over the past few weeks, he'll pick up the camera as he sees it laying on a reachable shelf and he'll start photographing. The pictures run the gamut. And lets just be clear before I start bragging on this little genius, 99.8% of his pictures are waaaaaaaaaaaay blurry. Like unidentifiable objects blurry.

I finally sat down and emptied off the card. A memory card filled with Otto's pictures. I was blazing through them at lightening speed, stopping every so often to appreciate a good angle, have a laugh at a funny face his brothers amused him with or simply squinting to make out where in the heck he was at the time of that photo shoot.

And then I was stopped dead in my tracks at the set here. Mike had told me that Otto was eating breakfast and said aloud, "the light on these flowers is so pretty! I need to take a picture!"
I got a bit choked up seeing these. I don't really know why but I think it goes back to that manic/peaceful thing we're experiencing right now. These images confirm that we still are carving out times for slowness and beauty and creativity. We are teaching our children to appreciate...not just run through life, head down. Usually I might say something like, "its a good reminder to me to do the same..." but you know what? I actually am. And I am totally high fiving myself on that one.