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It’s been a long time since I offered unsolicited advice, but now I have some!

My children, once upon a time. Back in their amateur days.

My children, once upon a time. Back in their amateur days.

 

(And it does not involve body parts or baby equipment, so that’s different.)

About six months ago Taxman turned 40. Because I suspect that my mom’s love language is gifts, the specter of WHAT TO GET HIM loomed large. I finally suggested that my parents get him the gift of a family photo shoot.

This is something we’ve been intending to do for a long time – the last “professional” photo shoot (and by professional I mean either Sears, Target, or JCPenney) was in 2008 and did not even include the adults in the family (it was our kids and their cousins). To see a studio snap that contains me and Taxman, you have to climb into the time machine and set it for 2005.

NB: In 2005 we had half the number of children we do now.

So my parents sent us a nice little check, and I crowd sourced on Facebook (OF COURSE) for a photographer recommendation. I settled on a woman who lives in the same city, takes pictures in a forest clearing, has a terrific website, and seemed to be able to capture that sort of relaxed vibe we were going for.

Then I planned outfits, planned haircuts, and planned makeup. People probably thought I was going a little overboard. But goodness gracious, this photo shoot was YEARS in the making. The next time I figure we will all be together with a professional behind the camera will be in 2016. For Miss M’s bat mitzvah. When perhaps we will be a bit stressed. So I wanted to PLAN in order to be RELAXED.

And so it was. It was a slightly overcast day. The forest was in bloom. I wore makeup.

The pictures are so, so beautiful. All I have to do is look at them and I am filled with such love and happiness. Even if we have an awful day, there are these photos. They are filled with light. Not actual light but LIGHT. The lightness of this one afternoon when we had nowhere to be and nothing to do but be together. They are a treasure.

So if you have the chance to have family pictures taken, my unsolicited advice is: do it.

My big kids. Gone semi-pro at it.

My big kids. Gone semi-pro at it.

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These lovely yellow buds on stalks are currently on almost every patch of undisturbed ground.

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Black mustard, Modiin

When there are no buildings to disturb them, they’ve taken over. A bit. But they’re so cheerful it’s hard to object.

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Because we’re rapidly approaching March, and I’ve been seeing “March” blooms — an approximate measure, of course — I took the dog slightly off course this morning to see what I’d find.

The answer? Great eyefuls of yellow. A perfect antidote to an overcast morning. Sadly, the hope of rain vanished along with the clouds; will this winter go down as a dry one?

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Arabian cistus, Modiin 

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On my run yesterday, I saw another new bloom. ‘Tis the season.

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Holy thistle, Modiin

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February Flowers, part fourteen

Yes, I was the crazy lady in running gear reaching through a fence to ruffle the petals of this flower to confirm that this is the first of the season (instead of the anemone, which is literally all over).

And here it is. Followed by, inexorably, spring, then summer. Sigh.

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Poppy, Modiin

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Just to remind you why I am getting all swoony.

The weather is perfection. I say this not to enrage my readers buried in snow, but just as appreciation for it. The summers here are dreadful, so I am living it up now – sitting on my stoop in the warm sun, traipsing about midday with a camera focused on the ground. I know it won’t last. (Like the flowers themselves.)

I’m gathering my rosebuds.

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Dwarf chicory, Modiin

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This flower seems to me to have a delicate sensibility – as if it belongs in a hothouse. But no, they’re cropping up in the bright sunlight and doing just fine.

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Greater bindweed, Wadi Anabe, Modiin

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This flower epitomizes the “February experience” for me. Dozens of them burst through the soil, seemingly overnight, in a place I walk through all the time — one of a few empty lots, very close by, where we “tiyul” with the dog.

This was a delightful way to start the morning.

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Iranian stork’s bill, Modiin

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February Flowers, part ten

Sometimes cheerful simplicity wins the day.

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Daisy, Ben Shemen Forest

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February Flowers, part nine

A friend’s gorgeous picture of nectarine blossoms on Facebook reminded me that I have easy access to some – in my neighbor’s yard.
So pretty, and they smell luscious too.

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Nectarine blossoms, Modiin

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