Friday, January 6, 2012

Darth Vader Face

Day 6 of the 365 project:

This morning, T Junior was stomping around and roaring. "Hey, T Junior," I said, "Can you help me clean up your mess?"

He stopped. "I'm not T Junior, I'm Darf Vader!"

So, for today's picture, I asked him to make his "Darth Vader face." This is what I got.

The Greek yogurt on his chin completes the look.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

365 Photo Project - Day 5

Well, actually it's Day 1 for me. I love the idea of documenting life with one photo a day. So, here I go:

This photo from this morning is a pretty good example of my life right now: kid, puppy, mess. Yep. I wanted to get a picture of T Junior this morning, but he wouldn't let me take one. So, I said I'd take one of Ray instead and this is what I got. I actually like it.

Here's my page on the 365 Project site, if you're interested. Otherwise, I'll just be posting these on the blog.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

T Junior was so excited to visit Santa this year so he could tell him what he wanted for Christmas: a football, a soccer ball and a train. (And he was so good on Christmas morning. Taking turns. Stopping to have breakfast. Picking up scraps of wrapping paper. Saying "Thank you.")

I was very proud of him on the day we went to see Santa. We stood in line for an hour because Santa had to go feed his reindeer. T Junior played with some other kids in line and made up games for his "spiders" (his imaginary spiders -- his hands). No tantrums. No whining. And when we got in to see Santa, he was cautious, but with an "it's okay" from us, he hopped on up there and told Santa what he was hoping for on Christmas morning.

What a difference a year makes. 2011 has been challenging at times, especially the second half for me as a mother. With puppies and no vacation and self-pressure, I found myself running low on patience toward the end. Sometimes, I felt low. Stressed. But I've been trying to remember how blessed I am to have a wonderful family and a healthy one, too. And lots of wonderful friends, as well.

Hope your Christmas was merry and you have a happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When He Believed in "The Polar Express"

Have you seen The Polar Express?
I have seen it 100 times. And that’s a low-ball estimate.

We introduced the holiday film to our son last Christmas. I remembered "The Polar Express" book and its beautiful illustrations from when my sisters were younger, but I’d never seen the movie, which is computer animated and features several characters speaking with varying intonations of Tom Hanks’s voice.

The story is all about believing. Just because you don’t see something, doesn’t mean it’s not real. I actually think the movie is saying something about God, not Santa. Or maybe it should be?

Regardless, the first time I saw it, I thought it was pretty good, which is lucky since my 2-1/2-year-old son – get ready for the understatement-of-the-year – loved it.

We watched The Polar Express a lot during the last holiday season, and even well into January 2011. When we were still watching it several times a week into February, I began to worry.

But it was too late. The movie had picked up speed in T Junior’s mind like, well, like that part when the brakes fail on the Polar Express and that skinny engineer swallows the part needed to fix them. By April, I’d come to accept that if we were watching a kid’s movie, it was The Polar Express.

This summer, I went for a bike ride with my friend Chelsea. I pulled T Junior, now 3, in the bicycle trailer. I gave him a sandwich, a water and The Polar Express on the portable DVD player. (He needs some sort of entertainment back there or else he’ll ask me 500 questions as I’m trying to pedal in the heat with an extra 50 pounds behind me.)

Chelsea and I were able to hold a rare uninterrupted conversation for about two minutes when T Junior began intermittently shouting out scenes from his favorite movie. “The train is here!” “He’s talking to the conductor!” “Mom, it’s ‘Hot Chocolate’!” That’s one of the film’s songs.

Next, though, was a demand.

“Mom, sing it!”

“What?” I shouted over my shoulder.


“Sing WHAT?!”


“No!” *breath* “I can’t!”

“SING IT!!!!!”

“T Junior!” *huff* “I! Am!” *puff* “Not!” *breath* “Singing! It!”

Chelsea was trying not to veer off the trail laughing.

The holiday film continued to be our most-watched film of 2011 until October. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! took its place during the Halloween season. I thought it would be temporary, and expected The Polar Express to be back in demand by Christmastime.

But T Junior has had a hard time getting over the trick-or-treat festivities. He has a serious case of Halloween letdown. Even though we’re well into December, when he told me he was sad last week I guessed the reason even before he told me. I asked why anyway. Dropping his hands to his sides and sticking out his bottom lip, he answered: “Because Halloween is over.”

Today is December 20. Christmas is less than a week away. By now, we’ve watched all the kid-friendly holiday films a few times. Well, all but one.

The only one we haven’t watched this season is The Polar Express. So, yesterday, I asked him if he wanted to watch it.

“No,” he said. “I don’t like that movie.”

I don’t freaking believe it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Elf on the Shelf Can Go to H-E-L-L

Don't we have enough to do during the holidays? When did that creepy Elf on the Shelf insert itself into Christmas must-do traditions in this country? 

Oh, wait. Maybe I missed it in my cookie-making, picture-taking, pie-baking, light-hanging, tree-decorating, presenting-wrapping, money-spending, carol-singing, card-writing, advent-opening, party-planning, house-decorating frenzy.

Okay, so I have heard this elf helps keep the kiddos in line during the holidays with his daily "report" to Santa, and it works. But isn't that what that song "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is for? (There's a reason my sister used to cry whenever we sang it to her.)

And what happens after Christmas anyway? Don't they just go back to their regular naughty behavior? Maybe I could get behind something if it casted a year's worth of guilt over my kid. What about God on a Shelf? Heaven for nice children? Hell for the naughty?

Well, you know where I'd like to tell that elf to go.


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