Thursday, January 21, 2010

Through the Lens

It seems as if ever since the little man could reach for things, he has been drawn to the camera.

Not because he loves having his picture taken ... but because he is fascinated with taking pictures himself.

As a creative-type myself, I love to encourage the little man in anything creative he shows an interest in. So when I saw that the little man has a definite interest in photography, I was on a mission to encourage my budding Ansel Adams.

I found a wonderful Fisher Price camera designed especially for preschoolers. The digital camera, while not offering the highest resolution possible or an impressive zoom (rather, a zoom at all), is built to be dropped and banged into things and has large buttons that are easy to use.

Which makes it perfect for a 4-year-old.

On Christmas morning the little man opened his present from mommy and daddy and found his very own camera. He knew immediately what it was and as soon as we could get the camera out of his plastic packaging, our little photog took off to capture his own images.

As the little man fluttered about the room snapping pictures, mommy sat anxiously watching him, waiting for the perfect opportunity to snag the camera and see the masterpieces that the little man captured.

While there were a few fingers, mysterious blurred objects and photos of the floor or ceiling, there were also some frames of what this mommy considers pure genius.

{But what mommy wouldn't?}

Introducing the works of the world's newest master photographer:

{Self Portrait}

{The Abstract Piggy Bank}

{J'aime Lovie}

{A Study of the Choo-Choo}

{Flying the Friendly Skies}

{Simply Daddy}

{Merry Family}

{The Fuzzy One}



Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rocket Run

We have had an extremely white winter this year and it's hard to remember what things like grass, leaves and flowers look like. As the sea of white continues to blanket our town, we have found ourselves stuck inside as of late, tired of gazing at gray skies and having to bundle up in multiple layers just to leave the house.

But, as the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Fortunately for mommy, she had heard predictions in early fall that this was going to be a bear of a winter. While doing some pre-Christmas shopping one day, she noticed a pile of sleds in the corner of the store. The weather was still mild and snow was the farthest thing from my mind, but a little voice in my head whispered "If you don't buy one now, you won't be able to find one once the first snow falls."

So I listed to that little voice.

Sure enough, the predictions were right - so far we have had more snow in the last 30 days than we did all last winter.

Which brings me to the lemonade.

Since we couldn't get away from the snow and were tired of being cooped up inside, we bundled the little man up in his big winter coat, snow pants, clunky snow boots, hat and mittens and headed out for a great childhood pastime.


Despite Jack Frost nipping at his nose, the little man loves every minute of sledding. No matter how fast, how bumpy, how much snow in the face or how rough the crash, each run down the hill is greeted with a large, happy belly laugh at the bottom.

Shortly thereafter followed by: "Let's do it AGAIN!"

And so up the hill we go again.

And again.

And again.

Each time greeted by a large, happy belly laugh at the bottom.

Which makes for the best kind of lemonade there is.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


For Christmas this year, one of the things the little man really wanted was a big swirly lollipop for his stocking. While we don't normally indulge him with superfluous amounts of sugary, sticky treats, Santa did come through this year and the little man awoke Christmas morning to a swirly lollipop hanging from his sock.

With all of the Christmas fun and excitement, the swirly pop got packed away in a pile of presents that morning while the little man enjoyed his new green steam engine and time with his little cousin.

When we arrived home just a few days later, we unloaded the hoard of presents from the car and slowly began finding a new home for all of the new things. As I pulled out the swirly pop from a box, the little man's eyes widened and asked if he could finally eat it. I figured there was no better time like the present and handed the little man his gift.

The little man was oh-so-proud of his swirly pop. He savored every lick and took pride in showing me, daddy and our dog, Casper, the sugary concoction. He held it tightly in his little hands, his face covered in bright sugar stickiness the entire morning.

As the husband and I were working in the kitchen on a little project, the little man wandered in. I heard his little footsteps on the hard wood floor.

Then I heard a boom.

And a crash.

And the sound of something shattering.

The shattering was the little man's swirly pop.

And his heart.

He had apparently stumbled and fell while walking, thus dropping the swirly pop. As soon as it hit the hard wood floor, it shattered into a 100 tiny pieces.

I ran to the little man and picked him up as he was crying.

He was fine; but the swirly pop was not.

"I bwooooke it!" the little man stammered through tears. "My swirleeee pop!"

Tears ran down his face. It was by far the most traumatic thing the little man had ever seen.

I began to clean up the mess as the little man stared on. Sobbing.

The stick of the lollipop still had a little nub of sucker on it. I picked it up, then picked up the little man and carried him away from the horrific sight on the floor.

He snuggled against me on the couch. I finally dried off his face and showed him the stick.

"Look, you still have a little sucker left here - it's not all gone," I said in hopes of cheering him up.

The little man stared blankly at the lollipop stick.

"Here," I said as I tried to put it into his little hand.

"No," he said softly. "I'll just wait until Santa brings me a new one next year."

And then mommy's heart broke.

I hugged the little man and handed him his favorite stuffed dinosaur.

And made a mental note to find the biggest, brightest swirly pop for next Christmas.

{RIP Swirly Pop}

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Cheer

This Christmas season, the little man was full of curiosity, excitement and questions.

"Mama, why is snow white?"

"Why is snow cold?"

"Why is snow flat?"

"Do the reindeers like the snow?"

"Why doesn't Santa come through the front door?"

In addition to a nearly constant barrage of questions about Santa, elves, reindeer and the snow, the little man was also very certain of three things:

1. That he was on Santa's nice list.

2. That he wanted a little green steam engine train.

3. That he also wanted a big swirly lollipop in his stocking.

I was sure that - like all things preschooler - the little man would change his mind a hundred times between Thanksgiving and Christmas regarding what present he wanted from Santa.

But I was wrong.

The little man was adamant that he wanted a little green steam engine and a swirly lollipop.

So, as the Christmas slowly approached, the little man's excitement grew and grew. I thought for sure his birthday would serve as a good distraction (which it did for about a day) but to the little man, Christmas was not coming fast enough.

And when the day finally came to load up the car and head to Nana's house, we were met with squeals of delight.

So we loaded up the presents, assured the little man one last time that Santa would know he was spending the night at Nana's house and headed out on our way.

That night, the little man could barely stand it. His excitement kept him awake, but he tried desperately to fall asleep, for he knew that the elves would check on him to make sure he was asleep before Santa came to deliver his little green steam engine and swirly lollipop that he so wanted.

Christmas morning, with wide blue eyes and a heart full of anticipation, the little man slowly climbed the stairs to the living room from where he had been sleeping in the basement.

The milk had been drunk.

The cookies had been eaten.

There were hoof prints in the snow.

And, of course, a shiny new little green steam engine and a bright swirly lollipop hanging in his stocking.

And a family full of Christmas magic and cheer as we saw the smile creep across the little man's face.

{Twas the Night Before Christmas ...}

{Per the little man, Santa needed chocolate milk}

{And cookies and carrots for the reindeer}

{The little man carefully climbs the stairs ...}

{And what did he find?}

{A little green steam engine ...}

{And a new track and train to go with it}

{And, of course, a swirly lollipop}

{But there were also oh-so-many-more gifts to open ...}

{And many more toys to discover ...}

{And then came this ...}

{Forget the train ... Chainsaws are so much cooler}