Childhood memories

Childhood memories

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Today was the last day of summer school for my five and six year old. They have been attending a half-day summer school for the last three weeks. I’m not sure they really learned anything of substance, but at least there were three more weeks of their summer that was in a structured environment in which they were expected to listen, learn, and play nicely with their classmates.

My wife has driven them to school every day up to this point, but today, their last day, I did it.

Continue reading “Childhood memories”

A Lazy Winter Day at Home

Over the last couple days it has been hovering between -5 and 15 degrees outside. That kind of weather doesn’t really make you want to go anywhere for a while. So the kids, the dog, and I have been hanging out at home finding things to do.

This morning and afternoon I decided to get out my camera and take some pictures. Every time I do this I wonder why I don’t do it more. I love taking pictures of my kids and now the dog, too.

Here are some of the pictures. There’s a lot of them. The pictures I took in our basement were all in black and white. But for the most part, I included the color photos of when we were playing on the couch in the living room.

morning with Micah

the boys in the kitchen

ezra and the wall

morning with Micah

morning with Micah

morning with Micah

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

Lazy winter day

 

Finding Beauty in a Tragedy

On Saturday January 9th, 2016 a fire broke out after a small explosion in M’s Pub located in Omaha’s historic and iconic Old Market neighborhood. The fire ravaged the building and broke the hearts of all those who had ever stepped foot in the Old Market, especially M’s Pub. The fire would rage on for around 12 hours before it was considered under control. The Omaha Fire Department not only had to battle the three alarm fire in front of them, but also the frigid below freezing temperatures with wind chills hovering around -15 degrees.

Because of a major warehouse fire in Chicago a couple of years ago in similar conditions, I knew that whatever was left of M’s Pub and the apartments above it would look oddly beautiful once the fire was out. Subzero temperatures and thousands of gallons of water makes for an impressive sight. Here are a few of the pictures I took this morning.

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Old Market Fire

Catching Up

Whew! Life has really been flying on by. I need to post some pictures! Here’s some from the last couple months or so. Many of them are from my iPhone because I just haven’t been carting my camera around with me very often. I have been staying busy with the kids, as usual. I’ve also been working on a website/project which is built around storytelling. If that interests you, please check Library of Impressions out.

Ok. I’ll start from oldest to most recent. There’s a lot of pictures…

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Ezra and Micah playing in the backyard.

Ezra in the backyard digging…

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Ezra learning to walk around the backyard.

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Ezra in deep thought.

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Ezra being cute.

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Micah digging for worms.

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Micah playing with dirt and worms.

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Micah finding some worms.

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Bath time with Ezra.

Uh oh…dandelion.

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Neighbor’s house with some vines growing.

Roof
Top of our house.

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Ezra gaze.
Ezra man.

Daddy and Micah
This is me and Micah just minutes after waking up. He wanted to take a picture.

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Bed Head Brothers
Bed head boys.

Daddy and Micah
Bed head Micah and daddy.

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Coffee cups
Coffee mugs.

In...and out
One of my favorite pictures ever. What goes in…must come out…

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Papaw and Micah.

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Papaw and Micah hanging out on our back wall.

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Ezra walking around the backyard.

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Grammaw, Micah, and Ezra playing in the backyard.

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Ezra and his soccer ball.

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Papaw snuggles.

Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Micah swimming.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Gramaw and Micah enjoying some pool time.

Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Enjoying his time in the pool.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Laughs all around.

Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Ezra was a bit more timid, but he eventually got there, too.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
But he’ll always play with a ball.

Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Getting braver.

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Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Ezra and mommy.

Swimming with Grammaw and Papaw
Ezra getting braver and enjoying the pool party.

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Well look, it's two people I love!
Love those smiles.

Naked potty training day one and molar number four coming in. This is the real deal, folks. // #💦💩🚽😬
Naked potty training was quite the experience.

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Two parks. Two kids. Two tired parents = One successful Saturday.
Ezra soaring high at our neighborhood park.

Visual proof that local coffee shops are like little glimpses of heaven on earth.
At a coffee shop in Omaha.

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There’s nothing in this world that Micah seems to love more than dogs and puppies. He picked out “buddy” and LOVES him.

What shoe-d we do today? // #ezrayuuto #aksarbenliving #childhoodunplugged
Ezra hanging out on the couch.

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Mommy and Ezra at the water park.

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Ezra really enjoying his time at the water park.

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Micah plays with a few of the fountains at the water park.

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Micah smiling at the water park.

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Ezra showing mommy he’s having fun at the water park.

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Micah timidly playing in the water.

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Micah leads mommy through the park.

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A bat at the zoo.

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A parrot at the zoo.

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Barely caught this picture. Seeing it made me laugh out loud!

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Early in the summer we found a dove who made a nest and laid eggs in our plant. They later would hatch and eventually leave the nest. It was fun to see the progress throughout the summer.

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No more $20 haircuts – we decided to start giving haircuts to the boys ourselves.

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Go, set a watchman // #ezrayuuto #aksarbenliving
Ezra looking out the window.

Ezra seems happy to be outside today. It's about 300% humidity, though. // #ezrayuuto #omaha #childhoodunplugged #makemoments
Ezra smiles on a walk near the Missouri river.

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Walking along the Missouri River this morning. // #igersomaha #omaha #missouririver #bridge #omaha #bnwomaha #makemoments #momentswide #xmarksthespot
A bridge to Council Bluffs, Iowa from Omaha, NE.

Bean bag.
Micah chilling in the bean bag.

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Bedtime? But there's still plenty of daytime left! // #MicahMasato #aksarben #childhoodunplugged #windowwatching #windowwatcher
Looking out the window before bedtime.

Took a brief walk over to the park today to cool off on this hot summer day. // #igersomaha #OmahaParks #omaha #micahandezra #aksarbenliving #stinsonpark #summerfun
Enjoying the fountains at our local park in the hot summer heat.

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Micah playing some online games on the iPad.

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Wine glasses on a homemade wine glass holder my wife got us for our anniversary. It’s made from a wine barrel.

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Grilling outside at a local park with some friends.

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Ezra and his friend playing on the playground.

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Ezra trying to decide whether or not he should go down the slide.

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The iconic desert dome at the zoo here in Omaha.

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Ezra and Micah in the wagon. Kind of looks other worldly.

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Sarah taking some pics of her own.

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Chilling in the wagon that Grandpa and Grandma Simpson gave them.

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Sunscreen time.

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Watching the monkeys

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Some birds at the zoo.

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“Look over there!” and then the children look the other way. Typical.

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April, Come and Gone

Yikes! April flew by this year. It’s hard to believe, really. But I guess that must mean that life has been busy. Sarah transitioned to working night shift this month, and that has changed up our routines and daily lives a bit. I got a few good representative pictures this month of what life is like around here. I am going to be taking more in May because I’m going to try and participate in Pentax Forums’ a picture a day again. It’s been a while since I’ve done a pic a day, life just got too hectic. But I may try and start it up again this next month.

Anyway, here’s a roundup of some of this past month’s photos (and one video).

Maundy Thursday: an opportunity for lessons in servanthood and humility for these two kiddos.
On Maundy Thursday, we learned about servanthood and humility. Micah washed his brothers feet, imitating Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.

My Good Friday started off with this guy running into my room and jumping into bed. We decided to enjoy some morning laughs and giggles in bed before the little bro wakes up. Hoping your day is off to a good start too! 😄
Micah climbs in bed every morning now. With mommy often gone, he gets half the bed to himself.

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I took pictures of the Easter service of my church. It took place at the Holland Center for the Arts in downtown Omaha. There were some neat buildings outside. You can feel free to check out some of my pictures from the Easter service on my blog.

Easter at the Holland 2015
Here’s a shot from before the service. The place was a really neat venue.

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Easter this year took place at my mom’s place in Council Bluffs. Ezra and Micah enjoyed finding eggs spread throughout the yard.

Ezra enjoyed eating Peeps for the first time – two of them at once. (Of course.)

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Our family with my grandmother on Easter.

Yep.

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When Micah and Ezra were finding their eggs they had to open each one as they found it and eat the jelly bean that was inside before they moved on to try and find another egg.

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Micah and Ezra spend their entire days together. Sometimes Ezra is Micah’s shadow.

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Although they have their moments, it’s clear they love each other very much.

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Here’s Micah trying to play peek-a-boo with Ezra. And yes…Ezra’s not wearing any pants…

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It may have been the middle of April, but that didn’t prevent it from snowing.

Micah prepared himself for the elements.

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Dad prepared himself for the elements.

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But April’s precipitation has lead to flowers starting to grow, and a yard growing with plenty of grass to cut. 😦

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This is the back wall of our yard. I like the varying colors and textures.

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For the first time since…well…October, I think, I was able to get out of the house and do some work at a coffee shop. It was so nice just to get out of the house for a while.

I visited Echo Coffee in Omaha. It was good and a pleasant place.

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We stopped at a neat place in Omaha to take a few pictures with some graffiti. I have have a whole blog post of other shots from here if you care to see them.

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The biggest development of the month was that Ezra has learned to walk and now walks everywhere he can.

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He loves being able to waddle around without having to crawl.

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When the weather is nice, and we have a relaxing evening, we all like to go on a family walk in our neighborhood.

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Flowers started to bloom throughout the neighborhood. Spring finally arrived.

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A shot of a flower inside my house. We try and keep some flowers around to brighten up our dining room a bit.

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Ezra turning to look at me as he scavenges food from off the floor…

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Micah waves and says hello.

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Ezra has discovered his tongue and loves to show it to people.

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Mommy helping Ezra walk through the grass in our front yard.

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Mommy and Ezra.

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It’s been hard where we live to experience much natural light coming in our windows. We face north and south, and it doesn’t lend itself to lots of good natural light shots. But the light was seeping into the kitchen on this day and I liked the mood.

Micah excitedly welcomed mommy home this morning after she worked three 12 hour night shifts in a row. It's been an adjustment this past week as she switched to night shift. But we are learning new patterns and are so appreciative for how hard mommy works
We all eagerly wait for Mommy to get home in the mornings. Perhaps no one more than Micah. Here he is welcoming mommy home as she pulls into the driveway.

Moving from Chicago was a big decision for the four of us. Hard to believe that was over four months ago now. But we decided that being closer to my family would make all the trouble of moving and getting settled into a new home worth it. And it has been.
I was glad to be able to watch my brother play some tennis at a rival high school in Council Bluffs. It was nice to just sit with my mom while he whooped up.

We got the meats. (But mostly curly fries.)
A quick family dinner at Arby’s. A very rare thing these days.

Mommy left for work. Melt down level: nuclear. 😭
This is now the typical reaction in the evening when mommy leaves for work. It’s not the most pleasant thing in the world. Meltdown level: Nuclear.

And lastly a video of the boys. A glimpse into a typical morning at our house.