May Stories | Long Island Family Photojournalism

May was a strange one. One day it was like summer outside, the next day gray and rainy. We haven't quite a hit a stride yet. Today it was 95 degrees... tomorrow it is supposed to rain. Allergies are BAD this year. I never really noticed before because I don't usually get allergies, but this year they've hit everyone. Logan and Lila are both on two allergy pills a day! 

The school year has come to an end and I am shaking my head over here wondering where the time went. 

Some days I make you turn the TV off and go and find something else to do. You grumble, but eventually you find something to entertain yourselves with. The window is a never-ending source of interest. From watching the next door neighbor's dogs poop on the lawn, to rabbits hopping across the yard across the way, to the shirtless guy washing his car a few houses down ("mom, why is that man naked?"), TV just cannot compare to the reality show of life.

You are a champ at finding things to amuse yourself with. As much as I miss your afternoon naps, you do give me a bit of a break by being pretty darn good at independent play. The bathroom sink and faucet are the latest in your rotation of activities, now that you are tall enough to reach from the stool. You will play in there for an hour, bathing all of your My Little Ponies and of course, Poppy the Troll. I love hearing your little voice chattering away, narrating a dialogue between all the toys. I even overlook the puddles you leave on the floor.

You are very interested in everything relating to the potty: sitting on it, flushing it, throwing the paper in it...everything except actually doing your business in it. We will get there when you are ready, but in the meantime - stop wasting all the toilet paper with meaningless flushing!

The best of friends and also the "bicker twins". It is going to be a long summer. 

On Tuesdays we walk the empty mall while Lila is in her social skills group. We are not supposed to leave the therapy office, but we do. We sneak out. Sitting in the hallway of that office building three times a week wears on you after a while. We cheer ourselves up by soaking up the rays that shine through the skylit roof at the mall. We have a tradition of getting coffee and a chocolate croissant (which we share) from Starbucks. We ride in the elevators. You count the different colored bottles in the vending machines. We savor the quiet morning before the shops open to the public and chaos sets in. We breathe in the sweet peace of the empty space.

The hallway. We have spent so many hours here this year. After the chaos of the waiting room grew old (and the germs got to be too much for any of us to handle), we found this spot. Quiet, clean and ours. It has been a spot for us to bond while Lila is in her therapies. A spot to draw, to play red light, green light, to play Leappad, to read, to scroll through Facebook, to play hide and seek, to eat snacks, to snuggle, to nurse, to walk around barefoot. Hallway, thanks for offering us an alternative to the madness, but I can't lie - I am looking forward to moving on from you at the end of June. You served us well, but it is time to go.

It was a long wait - a whole winter wait! But we finally had our Christmas gift exchange with Lila's two BFFs. It was joyous to see all the kiddos together again, celebrating spring with bubbles and art projects and sand play. Watching these littles grow together has been such a gift these past three years. Here's looking forward to many more gatherings and eternal friendship.

There is something about the new baseball field that just screams "take your shoes off!!" to you two. You love feeling that astroturf in between your toes! You play a game where the pitcher's mound is an island and the rest of the green field is the ocean. You pretend to swim and get swept away and then you save each other and end up back on the island again. And then when you grow bored of that game, you practice your balancing skills on the painted lines along the field. America's favorite pastime indeed.

Your final music class performance at nursery school. Watching your confidence soar this year has filled my heart to the brim. When I think back to the Halloween parade in October and how you completely melted down - so much that I had to take you home for the day... I was a little nervous about how this performance would go. Would you hate having us there watching you? But you were confident, you were having fun, you looked radiant. Butterfly, spread your wings and fly.

Dad bought some trout and had them delivered to the pond upstate so that he could teach you how to fish. The process has been an interesting one - Dad trying to find that balance between being Sensei Fisherman teaching a master class and ... just having fun. He found it eventually - and you caught a fish! This reminded me of a rafting trip I once took with my dad - remind me to tell you about that one day...

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 on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family's story in photos or a film, please contact her for a session!