100 Stories, A Personal Project | August Stories

August was a fun month. Although it was awesome to have family with us for the majority of the summer, August was the month that we finally were able to slow down and just relax. Here are a few stories from our final month of summer vacation.

"Gymnastics"

This past month both kids took a gymnastics class. It stretched them both in different ways. Lila was excited to go every week and was such an amazingly good sport and participant. The exercises were hard for her, but she tried everything without complaint. Logan was a total natural. Handstand. Boom. Forward roll. Boom. But he had anxiety about going and often would not want to try a new skill. Ultimately the class was a win and I was very proud of both of them. It's amazing how different two kids can be, even while being cut from the same cloth and raised in exactly the same way.

"Summer Toes"

This image pretty much wraps this summer up in a nutshell. Dirty toes with grass poking in between. It was a summer of adventure and outdoors. Of fun. Of freedom. The summer of the stomp rocket. The summer of the scooter. The summer of the front yard. When I look at those little dirty toes, I will always remember you at age three. A daredevil. A love. A silly goose. I will remember how much you made me smile this summer, how many hugs you gave me, what a lovely companion you were on the porch every night. 

"IKEA fun"

We went to IKEA one day for a very special outing: to pick up a new bunkbed for the two of you! It was a rainy day - perfect for running around a store like IKEA. I didn't expect you to enjoy shopping as much as you did, but the two of you were actually quite taken with IKEA! You jumped on beds, tried out new chairs, played with the toys. And we rewarded you with a soft serve at the end of it all for being good! Now you ask pretty frequently if we can go back.  The birth of a perfect indoor activity! In other news, the bunkbed is a hit!

"Five"

This photo makes me happy. This photo is YOU. YOU at five. Missing your first two teeth, laughing, joyful, silly. Wearing one of your favorite dresses. Sun shining through your hair. I feel your energy, your love of life. When you are happy, you light up my life, sweet girl. Nothing is brighter than you. 

"Summer of the Stomp"

Hands down, this summer was The Summer of the Stomp Rocket. Full disclosure: our stomp rocket was bought as a gift for another kid. But then end of the school year germs set in and you guys were unable to attend the birthday party. So we kept the stomp rocket. And thank goodness we did! The hours of fun this simple toy gave us were magic. It got all of us outside every night and it was an activity that we all enjoyed. We made targets. We tried to see how high we could get the rockets to fly. We tried to get them to soar over the trees and into the neighbor's yard. What fun we had! With the fall breezes picking up, the rockets have now been packed away until next summer. I am already missing them.

"Farewell to Babyhood"

In August, we finally packed up the crib for good. We bought you and Lila a bunkbed. The day before disassembly began, I took the opportunity to take some photos of you in there. I even let you eat your waffle in there. Breakfast in bed. You are the last baby who will sleep in this crib in this house. The crib that was your daddy's. I will always hold memories of the crib days close to my heart. Even the sleepless nights. Those months when you and Lila were so tiny. My first months as a mom. Even though it is bittersweet to say goodbye to those baby days, it also feels like a graduation of sorts. We made it. We did it. We fumbled through. 

"Family trip"

We all went up to Copake one weekend in August to celebrate Joe's 50th birthday. We go to Copake a lot, but this was the first time that we stayed up there with extended family. It was so fun to see the cousins hanging out all weekend - the cousins from both generations! We ate and drank and hiked up to Bash Bish. I hope you will tuck the memories of the weekend away and recall them fondly when you are grown. And know that you always have been surrounded with such love. You don't get to pick your family, so you are both pretty lucky to have landed in this one. I know I thank my lucky stars everyday. 

"Eclipse"

There was a solar eclipse in August. It was kind of a big deal. Everyone bought special glasses to look at it...except for us. We went to the lake that day and I didn't tell you about the eclipse because I didn't want you looking at the sun without the glasses. It turns out that it didn't matter. Whatever was going on in the sky did not eclipse the fun you had that day with your Nana. Swimming for hours. Pouring water on her head. Laughing. Building sandcastles. She even convinced Logan to go in the water. Sometimes the little wonders in life are what bring the most joy. 

"Friends"

We first met the Capaldis when Lila was two. TWO! Logan was just a few months old and Gavin was just a twinkle in his daddy's eye. Watching all of you grow together has become such a joy for me. I look forward to years and years of get-togethers. So grateful for our wonderful friends.


Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.