We’ve been taking family walks in the woods since our only child was four-legged. Actually a bike path near the local dog park, it’s always been a great place to let Cordi sniff and poop and run around off-leash. (Not fond of dog parks, our baby girl’s more fond of her people.) The path also offers a quiet escape, a shady respite from the summer/spring/autumn heat. And it’s the perfect place to find rocks for Papa to border the landscaping in our yard.
So this past weekend we set off on a family walk/rock hunting expedition, so Papa could get some rocks and check off an item on his pre-wedding to-do list. We loaded up the four-legged kid, the two-legged kid and the wagon, which was for hauling rocks, and ultimately, a tired two-legged kid.
As evidenced by the hat and shirt, JJ had been to a friend’s birthday party earlier that day at the neighborhood fire station. It was Papa’s turn to take him (I took him to a party last weekend), but it was Papa’s second fire station party. I think I need to plan better next time, or just claim dibs on the next party featuring firemen. Just sayin’…
With wedding plans having taken up so much time lately, Easter has been relegated to an afterthought. Having grown up the son of a preacher man, Easter was a pretty big deal. I’ve always wondered what families that celebrate just the bunnies and egg hunts and craploads of candy get out of Easter. But now we’re kind of one of those families, so when I realized we weren’t going to my parents’ house for the Big E, I felt, I don’t know…nostalgic. Perhaps homesick? Maybe even the tiniest bit guilty.
I’m thinking maybe my mom’s super psychic mom-powers are enhanced during Holy Week, because now she and my dad are driving the almost 2 hours to visit us. It’s more likely they want to smooch on one of their favorite grandsons, seen here in a Throwback Easter pic from two years ago…
So while having my parents around will ease some of the glumness I felt last week, it won’t keep me from being nostalgic about this little bunny boy who continues to grow and grow by leaps and bounds, and who no longer allows me to dress him up in such adorable humiliating get-ups.
Sigh. I could stare at this all day…but I gotta go hide some eggs. Happy Easter everybody!
Have you ever seen your child grow older right before your eyes? It recently happened to me, as I witnessed my son pass an important milestone — the end of Toddler Talk.
We were coming home from preschool, and JJ says the word “three.” Not “free,” not “tree,” but “THHHree.” In the span of a few seconds, he snatched the “T” and the “H” from his stack of baby blocks, sending the whole pile tumbling around his proud, yet nostalgically sad, Dad.
I could tell he’d been working on it at school, and was trying to speak with much precision and purpose. On the remainder of the drive, I asked him questions that required an answer with a “TH” word. When we got home, I pulled out my phone to document his accomplishment to share with Grandma, who’s an English professor. And also Grandma. We ran through a couple of the words we’d already practiced, and then I sprung a new one on him, resulting in some pretty big belly laughs from Dear Old Dad…
Our nuptials are swiftly approaching. In fact, the invitation has become something of an epic endeavor (this should come as a shock to no one who knows me well) so I probably shouldn’t even be talking to you until it’s done. However, I did happen to squeeze out a save the date…
The photo is from a failed attempt at a family Christmas photo, but was just too wackadoo not to use. Plus this is how we actually look most of the time.
So about the “engaged again” bit.
A couple of days ago, The Huffington Post published a call for submissions — they were looking for stories of how parents met their significant other, but as if told to their children (a la How I Met Your Mother).
And since they only wanted a paragraph, you lucked out. Us old timers can get a bit long-winded. So my dearest JJ, below is The Story of How I Met Your Father…
For one reason or another, this post kept getting pushed back further and further down my “to do” list. JJ transitioned from Room v1.0 (crib) to 2.0 (big boy bed) well over a year ago, but as with most things these days, once a milestone is reached, it fades quickly into the distance as he races onto the next.
But lately it feels like he’s trying to outrun his cuddliness phase even faster than usual. I look around his room (and the rest of the house) and see signs of his little body and little mind bursting at the seams — puzzles scattered over every spare inch of floor, several pairs of shoes and stacks of shirts ready for the basement as they no longer fit, a dusty booster seat we only use for “motivation” when he can’t sit still for a meal.
So before he starts redecorating his room on his own (either with robot stickers or a framed high school diploma) I thought I’d document JJ’s Room v2.0.
Pre-transition: I snapped this photo of his last night in the crib. Clearly he’d outgrown it — and this doesn’t even show the oft-seen image of one of JJ’s feet shoved calf-deep through the bars.
Still, I was going to miss this little cage of cuteness as it represented not just a great way to contain protect him, but also a big step away from babydom.
2013 was a pretty monumental year, both personally and blogally(?). So for all of the awesome, new readers I’ve met recently — as well as longtime loyalists — here’s a recap of my favorite posts from the last 12 months!
I want to preface by saying that I find articles titled “An open letter to…” a bit pompous and self-important. So with that, please enjoy this pompous, self-important open letter to the makers of holiday photo cards — in particular the four companies (un)fortunate enough to have me on their mailing lists.
One of my favorite and longest-running holiday traditions is designing our family’s holiday card. I first created a card for Papa and myself in 2001, and haven’t skipped a year since. With the onset of daddyhood, a requisite family photo has been incorporated into now dominates the design
. However, a couple of years ago, I was forced to use <gasp!> an online photo card company. I was not a happy Designer Daddy. It’s like if Santa had to send all the presents FedEx. This was due to restrictions set by the photographer we used, yet it ended up being a relatively pleasant experience, even if I couldn’t claim it as an original DD creation.
As this year has had an above-normal level of stress, it crossed my mind to save some time and sanity and browse the photo card catalogs we’d received. Whenever I came across a layout I liked, I tried to picture our goofy mugs in place of the picture perfect families smiling back at me. But as I turned page after page after page, I found myself growing disheartened, searching in vain for a photo of a two dad or two mom family. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, considering very few companies of any kind feature same-sex couples or LGBT parents in their marketing or advertising. Even the ones that are historically inclusive rarely show gays or lesbians outside of LGBT publications or broadcasts.
So I did a little experiment. I went back and scoured each of the catalogs I’d gotten, tallying up the families, couples and kids featured in all their glowing, photogenic glory, in order to get some concrete(ish) information. While I was at it, I also took a look at how people of color were represented.
Halloween is quickly becoming my favorite holiday. All the decorating, crafts, food and fun of Christmas crammed into a shorter period of time and without having to log all that extra church time. PLUS COSTUMES!
We had multiple events, all of which were an opportunity to put on my Designer Daddy hat (or horn, as it were) and we had a blast! Here are a few Halloween highlights…
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The first event was the Saturday before Halloween – a fundraiser/fair at JJ’s preschool, the “TODDLER BOOOOGIE!” For this occasion, JJ went as Batman. Yes, there were multiple costumes. You were expecting different from a super-hero obsessed toddler with two gay dads?