Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the category “Photography”

Still growing….

2012-04-18 010

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Just Call Me Jiji

I’ve changed my look…

Well not my look, but the look of my blog. I wanted to go with something a bit more user friendly.

And with the changes comes a new name for my blog……   “Just Call Me Jiji”

~me, pretending to be me. ~now, where did I put my cape?

I discuss my life, my family; the issues we face, the things we enjoy doing as a family, and the things I enjoy pursueing by  myself

With this new look, you, the reader get to go straight to the content you are interested in.

This is what I write about and why I write about it.

My Home Page – All posts in chronological order starting with the most recent. My blog tells my story and the story of my family; warts and all!

Hello World – About me, this is who I am, or at least who I try to be.

Disabilities and Special Needs – I discuss those disabilities and differences that we, as a family face on a daily basis; and the treatments and accomidations that accompany them.

  • ADHD – My son Leon was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder-combined type, at the age of 5. It has severely impacted not only his life but both his father’s and mine as well. I’ve learned a lot from my little boy, and I suspect I too was born with ADHD. At this time I still remain untreated, but I am working on that.
  • Aspergers/ Autism –  At the time of this writing, it has been 6  weeks since Leon was diagnosed on the Autism  Spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). This is is my first mention of it on my blog. It    has taken me this long to let it sink in. I am sure there will be many posts on this topic to come, because as of right now I feel as if I am starting all over again. I am a newbie again and have a lot to learn.

  • Comordids –      
                         …Oppositional Defience Disorder (ODD) – Along with Leon’s ADHD      diagnosis he also recieved a diagnosis of O.D.D, and boy is he ever. His defiance aside, my strong willed kid with some pretty strong convictions.
                         …Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) – Leon has always presented with sensory issues. I have long suspected that he has SPD, and have written about it in the past. Now, with his new diagnosis of Aspergers, it makes a whole heck of a lot more sense.
  • Fibromyalgia (FMS) – I was diagnosed with fibro when I was about 28, although symptoms were present much earlier than that. It’s been a rough road, but I keep on trekking. As much as I hate reporting that which is so negative, it helps to get it all out.
  • Treatments and Medication- When it comes to my own health I am not as diligent as I should be, and for that I do often pay the price. But when it comes to Leon’s health I am a stickler for staying on track. I am well familiar with the old adage that states; to care for others, first one must care for one’s self. That is much easier said than done, but ultimately I aim to get healthy not just for Ron’s and Leon’s sake but for my own as well.
  • Special Education – This has got to be my least favorite topic, but when raising a school-aged child with a disability, it becomes one that often comes up. I have had my fair share of Special Education meetings, both good and bad. If I can pass on some helpful information that may potentially help other parents I am happy to relive some of my experiences here.

DIY – I’ve always loved using my imagination and being creative. I love the feeling I get when I see something and think, ” I can do that” or even, ” I can make something out of that “. It’s taken me a long time to amass some measure of confidence, but I am ready to admit I do have some talents.

  • Crafts – Drawing, Woodwork, Glass painting, Digital Scrapbooking, Clip Art, Costume making, and more
  • Party Planning – I love, love, love planning parties and making the Holidays Special. Give me a theme and I will make it happen.
  • Photography- I have always loved the art of photography. What I lack in technical skills I make up for with my eye for photographs. The thing I love most about photography is the ability to recall so many memories from a single photo.
 

Home Life – For me, home life means family life, after all, home is where your heart is.

  • Family – the  main characters in this blog are myself, my husband, and our son. In our house, it is just the three of us; but in our family there are so many more.
                              ...Just Jiji – Jiji (Gee-gee) is the name my precious niece gave me when she was just learning to talk, I enjoyed hearing her say it so much, it stuck. More info about me can be found here
                               …My Superman – My husband of over 10 years now, is every wish, I ever made on a star, come true. He is every prayer  for a good and happy life, I have ever prayed, come true. My life; the one I truly love living, despite it’s upheavals sometimes; begins and ends with him.
                                  …My Alphabet Boy – My son with his AS/ADHD/ODD/SPD/L-M-N-O-P  is the greatest gift in my life. from him I learn how to be me. I thank god for him every day.
  • Parenting – Being a parent is the hardest most gratifying job in the world, and the most important.
  • Holidays- just as much as I enjoy planning parties; I love planning for the Holidays and celebrating with family.

Travels – I love to travel! And I especially love to plan our trips. I get a little high off of finding great deals and planning out little side trips. We love amusement parks; especially ones that we can get wet in.

  • Disney World – I love me some Disney!! If I could I’d go every year. I’ve had a few trips that I still have yet to turn into a trip report
 
  • Theme Parks – Leon’s love of water parks started with Sesame Place in PA, and now we make sure to hit a theme park or water park  at least once a year.
  • Other Destinations – As much as I’d like to make Disney our annual trip destination, our finances (or lack there of) always get in the way. But we always make it a point to go somewhere, even if it is just a weekend road trip to PA.

Just For Fun –  

  • My Favorite Things – ever come across something and just want to share it with everyone cause it’s “just so cool!” ? Well this is where I do that. Well here and on Pintrest
  • Slideshows – Just some pictures I’ve shared over the years

Showing Off My Wood

So here are a few more pieces I’ve made….

….wait what were YOU thinking?

I made this for my good friend Angela

Parents initials and kids initials on tree

This was personalized for my first sale on Etsy

Signature board can be displayed on a wall or even used as a trivet after the wedding

Personalized Ring Box

Chair Signs for the Mr. & Mrs.

Once the Holidays are over I plan on jumping right into my New Year’s Resolution to build up my inventory for my Etsy page Always Branching Out. 

Let me know what you think. I am always open to new suggestions…

(Click here for more wood)

Jason Lewis’ Love Child?

After my recent post about my beautiful, beautiful boy and his mission to grow his hair and donate it to Locks of Love.

Someone pointed out that he looks like a certain sexy hunk from Sex in the City.

What do you think?

Personally I think my little man is much cuter!!!!!!

(although I wouldn’t throw Jason out of bed for eating crackers…)

Oh and if there are any modeling agents out there … we are prepared to be wooed.  🙂

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Early in the morning through bleary eyes, I peer out across the sun lit room at my child, and a grin slowly forms on my lips as I think to myself;

I LOVE my Feral little child.”

Sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing only his PJ bottoms, with his fuzzy blanket draped around him like an animal skin of sorts, with his long, wild and crazy hair all messed up and draped over his shoulders; he really does look like a feral child!!

He looked back at me, and I fully expected him to say “Me Leon, You Mommy, Me hunt and gather food, You wait here.” instead I got “Mooooom, I am huuuuungreeeeeey!” To which I replied, “Me Mommy, me tired, go now, ask your father to forage for food”; his reply … “you’re weird!”

Yes, yes I am!

I later opened up my laptop to look up the meaning behind “feral child” , I wanted to be sure I was thinking of the right word. Wikipedia not only spit out the meaning, but provided a picture in example as well:

Oh look!! It’s a picture of my very own sweet child!

It looks just like him!!!  At least I think it does.

It’s fitting though, and not just because he looks like a feral child with his hair all tangled, and mussed up, going in all different directions. But also, because he is a wild child at heart. And I mean that in the best possible way.

He certainly dances to the beat of his own drummer. As I’ve often maintained, he is a strong-willed child with a mind of his own, and once it is made up there is no changing it.

Such as it is with his long luscious locks, which I am happy to say, we have learned to tame (somewhat anyway).

He made up his mind to grow his hair long just short of 2 years ago in January of 2010, I remember the date because I blogged about it here.

It was late in January when he came home all excited about doing the Math-a-thon to raise money for St Jude Children’s’ Hospital and helping other kids his own age, who were sick with cancer. It was on that day that he asked if he could donate his hair to the kids at St. Judes. When we told him he would have to have a lot more hair than what had just recently grown out from his mohawk, he said he didn’t mind at all.

Leon in Disney sporting his blue mohawk

Leon's Hair as it was the day he came home and declared he was donating his hair to a kid like him with cancer

I also told him that it would probably take him a few years before he would have enough to donate. It didn’t phase him one bit. Both Ron and I  were pretty proud of him for wanting to do this, but we also thought it would not last. Boy were we wrong. It’s been two years and he still has an inch or two more to grow before he can donate it. Despite being picked on and teased in summer camp, and consistently being called a  girl by strangers, he is more determined than ever to reach his goal.

We’ve come a long way….

   He is such a beautiful child, it is no wonder strangers call him a girl

In the end it will be so worth it. And that long hair suits him, it suits his personality. And yes he does occasionally look like a feral child, possibly raised by monkeys. It was after all just yesterday that I caught my wild little child in the act of standing on his chair in the pizzeria attempting to swing on the lamp that hung above his table. But no matter how wild my little child gets or looks, he will always be MY little wild child!

“I LOVE my Feral little child.”

I Nominate; My Superman

I recently found this on  ellen ;

Nominate the Amazing Person in Your Life…

Do you know an amazing person who could use Ellen’s help? We want to hear about them! Tell us all about the most deserving person you know, and how Ellen can rock their world. Maybe it’s a family member or spouse who always puts your needs before their own, a neighbor who has changed your community for the better, or even a teacher who goes above and beyond with your kids. This season, Ellen’s gonna keep giving back!
Read more: http://ellen.warnerbros.com/show/respond/?PlugID=433#ixzz1RH3DUlaq

So I decided to nominate My Superman!

Dear Ellen,

I love you and I love your show. You and your show always make my day! You are just so genuine, with a hugely generous nature. You have a way of making people feel comfortable and at ease; like spending time with a really good friend.

Well good friend, I’d like to share something with you about my family, about my husband in particular.

His name is Ron, he is a handsome devil, a smooth talker with an odd sense of humor, a sci-fi geek, who rocks my world, and keeps things balanced in our lives. And he is the most giving and amazing man I know. He always puts the needs of our family before his own.  When I met Ron, he became the man who renewed my faith in hope. In short he is my Superhero.

My family consists of Ron (39), myself (42), and our son, Leon (8)

We have a good life, NOT an easy one, but a good one, because we have each other. Things have always been tough on us financially, and we always seem to muddle through whatever life throws at us, either on our own or with help from our extended family. And for this we have always been truly grateful.

We all do our best to make the most of our lives. But no one works harder than my husband to provide and take care of our little family. I try and do my best too, but I have so many limitations, that I fear he often gets the short end of the stick.

Both my son and I suffer from disabilities that require regular doctor visits and a lot of very expensive medication between the both of us. My son has severe ADHD/ODD and I suffer from Fibromyalgia. We have a HUGE deductible on our medical insurance and given our individual medical needs it is necessary for us to come up with a LARGE sum of money in a very small amount of time at the beginning of each year. He barely makes enough money that we can usually get by living paycheck to paycheck with just enough left over to cover and enjoy the little things like the movies or Cub Scout fees for our son.  But when the big bills come in, that’s when we really struggle.

This year, so far, has really tested Ron’s limits.  Ron’s car died, and while we managed to get by with only one car for a few months we did eventually have to buy a second used car, which is already in need of repair.

In addition to our financial stress, Ron has had to take on additional parenting duties, above and beyond all the amazing things he already does with and for our son, due to the decline in my health this year.

No matter what comes our way, Ron does everything he can to make things right again. He really is a good man, and he puts his all into everything he does. As a husband he is just amazing, not only does he work hard in the office every day, but he comes home to take care of a majority of the household duties, when I can’t, due to my disability; and he still makes time to be a Den Leader in Leon’s Cub Scout troop and spend quality time with him.

Lately though, it seems as if life has really been testing Ron’s limits. My husband’s normally optimistic outlook on life seems to be dimming. Right now, Ron feels as if we just can’t get a break and that everything is getting thrown at him all at once and he just can’t get ahead. Some days I look at him and he just looks so terribly defeated, like someone had just drained him of all his energy. It kills me to see him this way.

This is a man who truly deserves a break. Not only is he an amazing husband and father but he is also a genuinely GOOD MAN!

Ellen, PLEASE help me make my husband’s life just a little bit easier.

Here we are at his sister’s wedding, which also happens to be our wedding anniversary. (I am the one with the pink hair 🙂 )

Me and my Superman!

EDITTED ON Jan 19th 2012 to add:

Hey Ellen,

Being that this IS your birthday-month; I wanted to share with you that May is my husband’s birthday month. In fact, this year he turns 40 on May 13, 2012.

You know incase the SWAGGIN WAGON is in NY around that time???

That’s a hint…. you know incase you didn’t catch it.

Love ya Ellen!!

And my Superman!!!

It’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want too!!!!

With this year being as difficult as it has been, doing something I truly enjoy hasn’t been much of an option.

One of the things I really enjoy doing is planning something special and hosting parties for special occasions and holidays. Traditionally, we host big Christmas and Easter celebrations for our family of 17 every year with special extras like traditional Weinachts Teller and Easter Egg Scavenger Hunts, birthdays of course are also real big here, and I plan big too complete with banners, balloons, and birthday fairies. Then there are the smaller  holidays and events that I try to make fun and memorable, like New Years Eve where Leon gets to stay up late and bang pots and pans at midnight; Valentine’s Day where we decorate the windows and make heart cakes; St. Patty’s Day where Leon leaves out a decorated treasure box at night for the Leprechauns to fill with gold and greenery; the last day of school where we have a big get-together in our yard complete with wet and wild summer activities to welcome summer vacation; 4th of July BBQ, which Ron has been hosting for 20 + years; Halloween… etc… etc… etc..  .

But due to all my health issues this year, I just haven’t had it in me to make these special events happen, I even had to cancel Easter at the last minute this year because I was too, too sick to make it happen, and that is saying a lot. I was so incredibly disappointed in myself. And for as much as everyone reassured me that it wasn’t a big deal. It WAS a big deal to ME! I loooove hosting the holidays, it was a big letdown for me and I lost out on doing something that makes me happy doing it. Even the Leprechauns made a poor appearance this year because I just could not do it.

Leon always looks forward to the backyard party we have on the last day of school and I was not about to disappoint him or myself. I knew full well that I would pay for it in the end, and that it probably would end up being a bit too much for me, but there was no way I was not going to have our year end “Welcome Summer Party” for Leon and his friends (and for me and my friends too).

The invites went out, and the responses came in. As the date came closer I started to have some doubts. Every day has been a painful one for me at some point during the course of it. There was no reason to believe that this day was going to be any different. I wondered if I would make it through my own party without excusing myself to take a nap. I started begging Ron to take the day off so he could help me get through it (that was unfair of me I know).While he could not take the day off, he did go above and beyond in helping me turn this hoarders paradise back into a home.

Leon’s last day of school was a half day on June 25th. I spent the morning rushing around and breaking a sweat as I was working hard to get the yard ready for 20 + kids and 10 + moms; that I had absolutely no time to wallow in the pain.

It was a really great day, despite the threat of rain. The kids arrived with their moms and headed straight for the water slide, while us mom’s headed straight for the Coconut Pineapple Mohitos.

I didn’t get to sit in a chair for any good length of time with all the running around I had to choose to do. I had a bunch of fun summer activities planned.

While we waited for the rest of the guests to arrive, the kids jumped from pool to pool and discovered the big box of prefilled water squirters.

Once all the guests arrived we picked teams for the water balloon fight. The kids had a BLAST!

There where plenty of other activities for the kids as well.

Like jumping on the trampoline;

playing with Lego;

drawing with chalk;

 building a castle;

 huddling together in pop up tents;

and just all around having fun with good friends.

It was tons of work to put it all together and keep things rolling! By the time I finally able to really take a seat and relax; I was exhausted and in pain. The pricklies on my arms were feeling hot and hurtin, and my legs were heavy and aching pretty bad. As the party was winding down I was dreading the worst part of the party, and that is the clean up. All the work to get it together and only a few hours later it needs to all be broken down again. I was NOT up for it any more.

As luck would have it I have some really amazingly terrific friends!! Everyone just chipped in and helped put everything away in no time, despite my arguments to “just leave it”.  In a blink of an eye the pools were drained, the castle was boxed up, as was the Lego, the chairs were stacked by the garage and the dishes were done. I don’t know what I would have done without my good friends to help me.

And now here I am just days later and I am still paying for it. I may have spent the the last 2 days in bed, but it was definitely worth it to see this smiling face;

And hear him say “mom, thanks for inviting all my friends over and having a party; I had so much fun!”

Yup, it’s my party and I can run myself into the ground if I want to!

… Cause it’s worth it!

Gettin’ my Creative Juices Flowin’

I have often heard;

“you are so talented, you should start a business”.

That would be WONDERFUL, I’d love to do that.

The question is; how? I have no business sense and the coin purse is empty. And you know the old adage; it takes money to make money.

And then, there is the lack of confidence in my talents

It’s not that I do not believe that I have any talent, it’s just that I feel there are people out there that are so much more talented than myself.

It doesn’t stop me from enjoying the creative process though. And sometimes I even impress myself with the outcome 🙂

My creative talents have included:

Drawing – it’s been a while, I did a lot of drawing as a child and in my teens. I have only recently taken it up again. I even tried some creative drawing on the computer to make some matching t-shirts for our trip to Disney;

Trip Planning – YES I definitely consider trip planning a creative talent!! And I do it well, especially when traveling with a highly sensory child with ADHD/ODD. Accommodations for travel require quite a bit of creativity. Like the badge I made for him to wear that clearly outlined the rules with a visual prompt.

Badge that "MICKEY" sent to Leon

Event Planning – like my DIY wedding where I made everything from the centerpieces to the floral arch to the ring box to the 150 hand-painted Champaign glasses I made to give as wedding favors to each of my guests.

The wedding arch

Close up

One of my centerpieces and a set of hand-painted champaign glass favors

Enough people told me that I should go into business selling my Glass Painting that I decided to give it a try.  I successfully sold a few pieces but in the end I wasn’t making enough money to cover the time, effort, and money it took to not only paint each piece , but then to pack everything up and transport them to a little craft fair, where I paid $60 for a table, only to sell a couple of pieces that maybe made me $40, and then have to pack it all back up and bring it back home. It just didn’t pay.

I also have helped to plan a few showers, my sister’s wedding, and quite a few themed birthday parties for kids. I love doing it. Especially the themey stuff

I was very proud of the School Bus cake I made on Leon's 1st Day of School

Leon’s 2nd Thomas Birthday Party  – he didn’t know how much I put into this party but I had fun doing it

I made one cake for the adults and little individual ones for each child

Leon’s 5th Pirate Birthday Party – yes my spoiled little child had 3 parties and 3 cakes

I hand-painted this shark to use as a game, it was fun as a photo prop too!

Leon’s 8th Lego Birthday Party;- this was a really fun party!

Lego Mini Marshmellow heads - real easy to make

Kiera’s 1st Ladybug Birthday

Ladybug Themed tutu I made for Kiera's 1st birthday

If I knew how, I would love to make money as an event planner.

Photography  – …is another talent I have. More specifically I have an eye for. Ron, often tells people that I am a photographer, and it bugs me, because I am SO NOT a photographer. I WISH I was, but at best I am a photo enthusiast. The difference being that although I thoroughly enjoy photography, and have an eye for capturing great shots; I pretty much have no education in photography at all.

I can really relate to the guy in this Panasonic Lumix commercial:

..see it’s not me,  it’s my camera! (which btw is a Canon)

…plus some creative digital photo editing too.

Basically I am just winging it.

When Leon was born, my love for photography grew, and my need to share it grew too. I started showcasing my photos on my smugmug website for all my friends and family to see.

First time using a spoon

(btw -gardening is NOT one of my talents)

As a result I was asked by two different sets of friends to photograph their weddings. Of course I said yes, it was an honor to be asked. I never expected to be paid, but when one of the couples thanked me with $1000.oo check , it gave me the confidence to try to make some money doing what I loved.

I got a few jobs and made some money, but most of my jobs were for friends and I had a hard time charging them, so that didn’t last too long. I also  needed better equipment in order for my photography to live up to my own standards.

In general I don’t know that I am so much talented as I am creative and crafty

And recently I have been inspired to try a new craft;

I was honored when my sister -in-law asked me if I could make a few things for her wedding. She pointed me in the direction of Etsy.com where she had seen a few things she had really liked. I was already familiar with Etsy, but I had never really perused the wedding category. One of the things she had pointed out to me, started to get my creative juices flowin again. It was something that I have tried my hand at before, but I didn’t really feel that there was a big demand for it. But with the trend of weddings being a bit more green, the rustic look of woodburning seems to have become a bit more popular.

Woodburning – is now a talent I am trying to cultivate. And I am really enjoying it. And who knows maybe I can even sell a few pieces on Etsy….

This is just a practice piece - but it gives you an idea of what I am going for

Besides what else is there for this SAHM to do?…uh, besides taking care of an ADHD child, managing my Fibro, keeping track of $800/month medicines, PTA volunteering, School Newspaper editor and author, caring for my 3 year old niece, plan playdates, etc.., etc…, etc…                            …oh yeah and maintain this blog.

Last Night’s Storm

The storm went all night long. I didn’t even have to see it, to know it was there. I could feel it in my bones. And my bones, they were a hurtin’

I received the 6am wake-up call from the School District letting me know there would be “No School, Due To Inclement Weather”. Oh Joy, a Snow Day.

That by the way, was sarcasm.

My thoughts went to all the reason’s why I hate the snow.

When I finally got out of bed to survey the damage,

…all I saw was beauty.

Here are the pictures:

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I Heart NY in the Fall

I LOVE Fall!!!

Fall definitely satisfies all my senses! The trees are a blaze with color, the crisp autumn breeze feels wonderful on my skin, already I can hear the leaves crunching beneath my feet, the warm apple cider smells and tastes perfect. Fall is definitely my favorite time of year. And it brings with it one of my favorite holidays; Halloween.

Recently, we took a road trip via the Palisades Parkway to Upstate New York. The drive was beautiful.

We stopped at a scenic overlook along the way to take in a view of the Hudson River.The only thing more beautiful than the view was my little boy.

Leon happily posed for pictures for me, making a lot of his own suggestions along the way. which I must admit was a bit  shocking. Being someone who is a huge photo enthusiast,  having  an ADHD child, makes enjoying my hobby and having my family be a part of it very challenging.  But happily, I managed to get some truly beautiful shots of not only the scenery but of Leon too (and Ron, of course).

Our destination was Bear Mountain State Park, a place I hadn’t been since I was a child. It brought back some great memories, and gave me plenty of photo ops. We walked around the zoo, and the lake, Leon rode the merry-go-round and then we drove to the top to take in the view from Perkins Memorial Tower. It was so amazing.

 

Bear Mountain was great fun, but I really wanted to get some apple picking in. There really is nothing quite as good as apples right from the tree. Unfortunately we didn’t get to Hurd’s Family Farm in time to do any actual apple picking ourselves, but that did not stop us from having fun anyway. We played in the sunflower maze, launched apples, fed ducks, and I of course took pictures till it got too dark and then we explored the corn maze by moonlight (and flashlights). We topped the evening off with s’mores by the bonfire before heading back home.

Oh and I of course did buy a nice big bag of apples to take home.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

As anyone with Fibro will tell you, severe weather conditions is the enemy.

Rain, sleet, snow, high temperatures, humidity, ah heck, just a light breeze at the wrong time can totally throw me off. So when we were hit with the “blizzard” this past week, I was not feelin so hot.

I remember being a young girl just praying for a snow day at the first sight of a snowflake. Now… not so much. The cold that the snow brings; brings with it a pain in the ….well, …everywhere, and often, as has been the case this week, the pain lasts days longer than the snowstorm.

But despite all this I still say let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

On Wednesday, Leon got to experience his very first snow day, followed on Thursday by a second snow day. Leon loved the idea that he got to stay home from school and just play. And not just play, but play outside, …in the SNOW, …..WITH DADDY!!!

The weather was bad enough on Wednesday that Ron did not go in to work and I even got a day off from babysitting. We had a very cozy morning just watching the snow come down. Leon waited very patiently to get out into the snow to build a fort with Daddy. After the first few times of asking me if I was going to help make a fort, he gave up asking. I hate to say no, I hate that I can’t jump right in and join in on the fun. But even if the pain isn’t that bad at the moment, I know that pushing it could affect me for days to come.

In the afternoon they layered up, and went out into snow, with me watching from the window. Somehow that hurt more than the physical pain of it all. I had to get out there and be a part of the fun and just live in the moment. So forgetting the pain I bundled up and grabbed my camera and made tracks.

They never did build a fort, instead my camera and I got caught in the middle of a snowball fight. With my camera as a shield against them taking any sort of aim at me, I was able to capture it all.

And although I am still feelin the pain of running around in the snow a few days ago, it was well worth it. Remembering Leon’s laughter at the time and the smile that the pictures bring to my face every time I look at them makes me feel so good.

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