My journey into photography classes has come to an end.  Two straight months of assignments became a bit grueling, and I will admit I flaked a bit on the last week.  The final assignment, a sort of culmination of all that I have learned, was to take a photo walk and capture the moments and surroundings.  Exhausted, overwhelmed by switching to WordPress, and frustrated or not, I knew I had to make time for that one.  A tribute to my hard work and an excuse to get Little Boy Blue all to myself.
  

 Happiness is little kids running with abandon.

We started at the Quechee Green and followed the Ottaquechee River to the waterfall, located under that covered bridge. 

Have you ever told a preschooler that they were going to see a real live waterfall and that we had to go on a journey to find it?  Behavior problems vanish.  Eyes widen in awe.  A waterfall is like a mythical creature; to see one up close would be too good to be true.  I suggest you go out of your way to find one.  Or maybe create one somehow.  It would be worth the trouble, I promise, especially on a hot summer's day.

Our journey was probably about a quarter mile long, but with a valid excuse to photograph absolutely everything and a willing subject, it took us about an hour.  A wonderful, intimate hour with just me and my firstborn.  Really getting to listen and pay attention to just him.  We relished the glorious golden hour between dinner and bedtime, which is usually a little cranky but today was full of color and sounds and excitement.  Full of promise of a waterfall, and that's all I needed for this little guy--

to be my enthusiastic partner in crime.

First, we explored a very cool rock wall that only looks like he's about to fall into the river.

  

 

I don't know if he realized that he wasn't exploring uncharted terrain, but I wasn't going to tell him.  He was having too much fun.

I realized my kid is immune to my photographic idiosyncracies when asking him to pose is not surprising or even questioned...

 

....nor is a request to photograph his shoes.

I've broken his photographic rebellious spirit.  He usually does what he's asked now, as long as he can see the image on my camera directly afterward.  I'll take that as a good trade.  He probably thinks all kids have paparazzi-parents and that this is normal.  Sorry, kid, your mom's just a little crazy.  But it's also becoming clear that quality time one-on-one with either me or JDubbs is a treat enough to warrant good behavior.

So, back to our photo walk.  In addition to interesting backgrounds, we had plenty of opportunities to stop and smell the roses, if you will.

After which we continued to explore, investigate, poke, and prod as we liked.  And when you're two-and-a-half, whimsy strikes with frequency.

Doors were opened.

Seriously?  Check out that door.  How could you not?

Stairs were scaled.  Signs read (and promptly translated into Enter Here.  No need to relive my inability to grasp the French language).

Ramps tested and more doors opened.

 

This is the entrance to Simon Pearce restaurant and showroom.  Our experience inside will be a post unto itself.

The neighborhood was observed.

And then, finally!  A walk down some stone steps...

...and a peek over a stone wall...

...to reveal the waterfall and all its glory!

Let me tell you--this kid who is impressed by the waterfalls created by child's play in the bathtub.  To him, this waterfall crashing less than a hundred feet from us was like the 8th Wonder of the World.

 

Having been to Niagara Falls myself, I still always love waterfalls, no matter their size or scope.  There's nothing like sunlight reflecting on water and the  mist floating above a waterfall to make me glad I stopped and took a moment to appreciate nature.  I want to share that appreciation with my kids, in hopes that they will never take opportunities like this, even if we were to pass by this place every day, for granted.

And I must remember to never take adventures alone with my buddy for granted, either.

Impossible.  I love that face too much to ever forget how special he is.

 

I am so grateful that I was able to spend time alone with just Jax.  To hear and be able to respond to every thought or question that came to his mind was a treasure.  To acknowledge and applaud all of his discoveries and thrills was a privilege.  I am so lucky to have such a special little guy.

I am also so lucky to have such an awesome mom, who paid for me to take this second class as an early birthday present!  Thank you, Mom!  And I am grateful to my teacher, Faith (of Simplicity--my life in {mostly} photographs--see that button on my sidebar?  Go check her out!) for all that I have learned!  You are an excellent teacher!  And lastly, grateful to my husband who understands and also loves having time alone with each of our kids.  Don't forget, while I was having Mommy-Jax time, he was having Daddy-Em time!  What an amazing family I have.  What a fabulous day.

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