Posts Tagged ‘big t’

Apr
07
2017

FOUR


My sweet little boy, where do I begin?

This last year with you has been full of surprises. That’s because you surprise me daily. The things that come out of your mouth, and the ways you try to shock me.

The most common word I use to describe you is “weird” I know I shouldn’t do that. It’s probably not great for your complex, but I often don’t know how else to put words to the way you are.

“My wildcard” is another term I sometimes use. Because you’re so unpredictable. For others–Your teachers, babysitters, and friends–you’re an angel. They haven’t a clue about the side I see. But I guess I should be glad you save your silly side for us.

I think part of the reason I find you a little odd is because you’re nothing like me. Which if course is totally ok. But you’re also nothing like anyone. You’re so hard for me to describe, define, and predict. But I’m going to try.

One thing I do know is you’re not shy. That’s evident every time we go to the store together. It’s gotten to the point where we order our groceries online and pick them up, or take turns going to the store without you because every trip with you is like a comedy show. You say hello to anyone and everyone. You strike conversations with complete strangers about the weather, your shirt, their hair, my shoes, or bodily fluids. Or sometimes you’ll just chase people. Yes, actually chase them down the aisles, telling them to come back. Occasionally you’ll do this while roaring like a dinosaur.

I underestimate you all the time. Maybe it’s because you’re my youngest. I forget you can say and do things on your own.

You build train tracks with ease now and they’re almost never sitting on the floor. You take unit blocks and build your tracks as high as you can. We know better than to try to help, or ever take down one of your creations. While you’re extremely independent when it comes to construction, you can’t stand being alone.

We’ve given up on trying to put you to sleep in your room. You’d come into ours in the middle of the night anyway. Instead now you’ve set up camp on a little mat at the foot of our bed. Your sister is often alongside you.

You love jokes. You may not understand the process of a knock knock joke but you try anyway. And you never seem to tire of the “high five!” “too slow” trick. Laughing hysterically every time I miss.

You don’t like to color, draw, or anything like that unless it involves Lightning McQueen. But you love playing with cars, dinosaurs, and riding your bike. Last year we started hiking together. In the beginning you didn’t like it, but you’ve really come around. You look forward to exploring places with water you can play in.

I can see you trying to figure out the world, and understand how things work. You ask more and more questions every day, and you have the best memory. You always remember where you put things, and places we’ve been.

My favorite quality about you however, has got to be your kindness and sensitivity. You’ll act all big and tough most of the time but the second your sister is actually hurt, or crying, you’re the first to run by her side to help. You cried more when she got her shots than when you got your own.

As a toddler you’d play by yourself for a little while, then come over to my nap to snuggle for a bit. You still do that, and I love it.

“I missed you Mommy!” You still say that to me days after coming back from a trip, or when I get back from the store.

You’re everything I never knew I’d wanted, yet exactly what I need. My sweet little boy.

I love you so much and I can’t wait to see what this new year of life holds for us.

Love,

Mommy

 

PS: When your party VIP list only included members of our family, we decided to skip a party and just have fun with you. Here is how we celebrated your birthday this year.

PPS: It’s so hard narrowing down a few favorite photos of you from the last year so I’m going to share a bunch. I especially love the one of us together on the escalator. I believe we rode it up and down 692 times that day.

 

What was your favorite movie when you were 3? Can you remember your favorite toy or song from then?

For the last several years I’ve thought it would be fun to ask my daughter a set of questions every birthday, and see how her answers compare. I’ve been so upset at myself for not doing it on her third birthday, and the fact that I’ve continued to forget each birthday since.

cherish-365-day-100

But there’s no use in fretting about the past when I can do something about the present. I’m going to do a Q&A with my 5-year-old Lil’ J soon, but for now, here’s one with my little guy.

I mentioned before how I have a hard time trying not to compare my kids. This is one of those situations. I know at 3 my daughter would have had a hayday with this. My son wasn’t as amused, but to be honest, he did a lot better than I thought. I didn’t think he’d be able to answer all of my questions, but I tried anyway, and some he answered in hilarious ways I never imagined. See what I mean:

So here’s a few different lists of questions to ask your kids each year. The first 10 are easier for younger kids, and the next list are a little more inquisitive and deep. I’ll pull from more of those for my daughter.

Birthday questions for younger kids

1. What’s one of your talents? (Or ask them to do something you know they can do like count as high as they can)
2. What’s your favorite animal?
3. What do you like to eat?
4. What do you love to do?
5. What do you want to do? (When you grow up?)
6. What’s your favorite toy? (thing)
7. What’s your favorite song?
8. What’s your favorite movie?
9. What’s your favorite book?
10. What’s your favorite TV show?

Birthday questions for older kids

1. Describe yourself.
2. What are you thankful for?
3. What makes you happy?
4.. What makes you sad or angry?
5. What do you want to be when you grow up?
6. What’s important to you?
7. What do you love most about yourself?
8. What do you love most about your mom?
9. What do you love most about your dad?
10. If you could go anywhere, where would you want to go?
11. Who do you admire? Why?
12. What do you want to learn more about?
13. What’s something you’d like to do to help someone else?
14. What are you afraid of?
15. If you could only keep one thing, what would you keep?
16. What’s your favorite memory?
17. What are you proud of yourself for?
18. What are you looking forward to?
19. What do you dream about?
20. What else do you want to say?

You can ask them and write their answers down, or record it like I did. Next year you’ll have fun comparing their answers from years before! I’m working on making this into some fun different printable forms and should have those ready within the next couple of weeks.

I’d love to know how your kids answered some of these! Get any funny answers?

30 questions to ask your kids every birthday

My Dear Sweet Baby Boy,

Ok, well maybe it’s time I stop calling you baby. You’re 3 now.

Wow, has it already been a year since I last wrote? Let me fill you in on how much you’ve surprised me this past year.

Two was such a big year for you. You started preschool and made new friends. To be honest, you went in already knowing all of your letters and numbers. I wish I could say I had something to do with that, but the truth is, you fell in love with this train named Bob, and he teaches you all of that stuff on YouTube kids. You even schooled me the other day when your pointed out a hexagon. I thought I was correcting you when I called it an octagon but I was wrong. You are so incredibly clever. Sometimes a little too clever.

You don’t really like listening to directions all of the time. You like doing what you want, when you feel like it. It’s proven to be a challenge when we’re out and about and you just don’t want to sit still. Not that I can blame you. Because of this I try to bring you places I know you can run and play and have fun. That’s what you should be doing at this age! There will be plenty of time to sit and be boring when you’re older.

Open letter to my 3-year-old

You and your sister are beginning to play together more and more. You’ve always been mostly kind to each other, but now you both play more and fight more. You love to mess up her creations, but together you like playing tag. Lately you’ve also started to enjoy coloring with your big sister. She’ll draw you your request–usually an airplane or a dinosaur– and you’ll color it.

Around Daddy you love to exercise in the garage, do pull-ups and dance. You guys also have fun going shopping together. Specifically to sports equipment stores and athletic wear stores. You’re on your third pair of Jordan’s and about your 5th Nike jumpsuit thanks to him.

Open letter to my 3-year-old

You’re still very much a mama’s boy. At this very moment you’re curled up on me falling asleep. I don’t always allow this, but I make exceptions when you aren’t feeling too well or are really in need of some extra cuddles. Or if I’m in need of some extra cuddles. You are really so snuggly and sweet. I’m sure some day you won’t like to be known as cuddly and sweet, so I’m enjoying it while I can.

Over this last year you’ve really shown us what you’re interested in. You love trains of course, but you’re also really starting to enjoy other vehicles and dinosaurs. Especially dinosaurs. I’m sure in no time you’ll know the names of different dinosaurs like you know the different kinds of trains.

Open letter to my 3-year-old

You also love vacations. Every day you tell us you want to go on a Disney Cruise, or go to Disney World. I love that you’re starting this fascination at a young age. Your favorite movie right now is The Good Dinosaur. It’s definitely the only movie you can watch from beginning to end, and you even love quoting some parts. It’s hilarious when you yell at people “Nash, get you of your sister’s bubble!” And they have no idea what you’re talking about.

I love watching you grow and discover the world, and seeing your personality develop. You seem very laid back. You don’t always get frustrated, but when you do, you get mad at yourself for getting upset. It makes me feel so bad. You also get angry at yourself for crying. It’s really cute and sad at the same time when you start yelling “Don’t cry! Stop crying!” I’ve started telling you it’s ok to cry, and I try to cheer you up.

happy-disney-boy

My hope for you this next year, is that you continue to explore the things you love, and try new things. I hope you keep making more friends, and show the world how bright your light shines. I’m excited to see how much you learn, and hear more of what you’re thinking about.

Everyone we know mentions how sweet you are, and I hope you never lose that. I hope you grow up to be a polite, brilliant, handsome young man who is kind to others.

I’m so proud to be your mommy. I feel so lucky that you’re my son. Even though you give me a run for my money sometimes, and you have so much joy just bursting out of you all the time (which can be tiring), you are the perfect little boy for me, and for that I’m so thankful.

Know that I’m always here for you, and I love you more than you know! And you know what? No matter how big you get, you’ll always be my baby.

With love from the bottom of my heart,

Mommy

Some kids like trains, some kids love trains, and then there’s my son. Absolutely enthralled by trains.

Today my train-loving little boy turned 3. 3 adorable years old, and I’m so happy to say he’s mine.

Canon EOS 80D Stop Motion Video Review

I’m always doing surprises for his big sister and I thought it was about time I started to do some special ones for him.

Several months ago there was a streak of a couple of days where I left the house and came home with plastic bags full of more train tracks. Used, and from friends. Because of this, the next few times I came home with grocery bags, he came up to me and inspected them for tracks. I guess he just assumed that’s where I went when I left him home with daddy.

Mornings before school he’s frequently asking me to help him build his wooden tracks and sometimes when I do, I really get into it.

cherish-365-day-95

Other times we’re in a hurry and I’m rushing him to pack up his trains, get dressed, and get out the door.

Well this day was more like the latter. I was finishing his lunch, fighting with him to get his clothes on (as usual) and running out the door. I told him we could build trains tracks when we got home. It’s true, we were in a hurry and needed to go. But I didn’t plan to build them when we got home. No, I actually had a much better surprise in store. Watch and see…

Pretty cool right? I can’t take credit for the entire video. The wink was 100% Lil’ J’s idea who said “I thought the train was going to blink. You should make it blink!”

This little project was a two-way surprise for my son. For one, he was SO happy to come home and see the tracks he had been begging me to build all morning. And two, he LOVES watching this video of his trains coming to life. I think he may think they really are alive when we leave now. Though I have more fun surprises in store for his birthday, I think this one was a great start.

How did I do it? I think I’ve discovered the easiest way to make a stop-motion video.

I never thought I’d have the patience to make one, but I’m trying out Canon’s new EOS 80D DSLR — an upgrade from my beloved EOS 70D and it has several awesome improvements, including a time lapse setting on it so you can set your camera on a tripod, tell it how many pictures you want it to take and in what interval.

For this video I set the camera to take about 20 pictures in a row, each 7 seconds apart. Between each photo I’d move the trains and tracks a little. I got a good workout running in and out of the frame, and it sorta felt like I was running suicides, and after a while I had to up the time between photos to be around 14 seconds.

About 400 photos later, I had the story in pictures. I put each one on a movie timeline about 8 frames long and POOF! Magical trains, and a video I hope he’ll cherish forever.

train-loving-birthday-boy

I’m always using my camera to capture memories we were making together, but for this project it was fun to create something he loves, with his favorite toys.

A few other things I’m loving about this new EOS 80D camera and its new lens combo:

  • You can record video and use Wi-Fi at the same time: It may sound a little excessive but it’s been a feature I’ve been waiting for! Now I can not only take pictures with my kids on my own using my Canon Camera Connect App over Wi-Fi, but now I can get in more video shots with my kids as well. Or start and stop recordings, and adjust my manual settings without needing to get up.
  • Full HD-60p video and smooth autofocus: If you have a DSLR that does video you may have noticed how frustrating it is trying to manual focus the lens. With this camera you can touch the screen and tell it where to focus, and it’ll do the rest.
  • The new EF-S 18–135mm f/3.5–5.6 IS USM’s: Not to get too technical but this lens now has a new Nano USM Autofocus system, which is what makes the lens deliver high speed Autofocus and also allows for quiet and smooth AF transitions, perfect for movie recording. In other words, it’s fast AND quiet so I can snap photos of my kids when they’re jumping around and not miss the shot, and you don’t hear it trying to search for the focus in video mode.

All of the features came together perfectly in making this little project for my little train-obsessed birthday boy. I’m actually not sure how I’ll top it next year, but hopefully I’ll come up with something just as magical.

From birthday parties to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

I sometimes feel like I’m reliving my childhood with Lil’ J. As I help her style her doll’s’ hair, or when she asks me to play dress up with her, I feel like I’m 7 all over again. Even as I see her enthusiasm for Disney movies grow, it brings me back to the joy I felt playing and watching movies with my sister all summer. It’s all fun, but has a twinge of deja vu. With my son, I’m experiencing a world I’ve never known. A reality that feels new and adventurous.

I never owned a train set. I don’t recall ever having any toy dinosaurs, or even knowing the difference between a steam engine, a freight train and a monorail. My son is proof that we are who we are no matter our parents influence. I may have some impact, but this kid who came from me and my husband (who also isn’t into Dinosaurs or trains) is finding his way and his love for world in ways I’ve never even tried. Not to mention his personality… That’s something new too.

Though we don’t share interests naturally, I’ve realized I love what my kids love. Or rather–I love seeing the look in their eyes when they’ve discovered something that ignites their passion.

I can trace my son’s love of dinosaurs back to the day I was trying to sneak and watch Jurassic World on TV. His sister was at school and he was distracted watching train videos on YouTube Kids. Or so I thought. Any time the suspenseful music picked up and or the sound of mauling filled the air he looked up, determined to see what was happening, even when I would try to fast forward or cover his eyes (yes, I realize I should have just given up and watched it later, I’m a bad mom, I get it). I’ve since found a few more age appropriate dinosaur videos he likes to watch.

After that he started to play with dinosaur toys at the babysitter’s house, and now even goes into nursery at church willingly because there are a couple of small dinosaur toys to play with. I knew I wanted to do something special involving this interest of his.

I love surprises. My husband is awesome because he knows this and surprises me with the littlest things like sparking cider on Bachelor Monday, or chocolate covered strawberries delivered on Valentine’s Day, or something I’m not expecting every Christmas. My love of surprises goes both ways though. I love surprising my husband but it’s really hard to do, so I default to surprising my kids. A lot!

I was telling a coworker about some of my spring break plans when he mentioned a dinosaur park in Texas with life-sized dinosaur statues. I knew this would be the perfect surprise for my dino-loving boy.

T-Rex at Dinosaur Park Texas

We planned our visit on a day my husband was off so he could also see the look on our son’s face when he realized where we were. I told Lil’ J and Aunt Kim to keep it a surprise as we drove out for a day trip to Cedar Creek.

“Don’t mention dinosaurs!” I told them.

As we turned into a parking lot Big T yelled from the back seat.

“I see a dinosaur!” He saw it before the rest of us. An unpainted statue behind a building. He couldn’t get out of his car seat fast enough. The moment we set foot in the entrance for admission, he went straight to the tiny dinosaur toys. He had no idea what he was in for.

We purchased our wristbands and stepped outside. To the right was our good friends waiting for us on the playground. To the left were two huge brontosaurus-looking statues. My daughter ran right, my son ran left.

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

“Mommy and daddy dinosaur!” He bound to them and looked up in awe and wonder. I held back tears as my son gleamed up at the statues. This is his thing.

We walked through the park and saw all sorts of dinosaur replicas.

My daughter enjoyed herself too, but my son was in HEAVEN.

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

Sadly I don’t remember many of these dinosaurs by name besides the T-Rex, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus. I’m sure that will all change in time if my son continues to be interested in them.

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

Then sooner or later, I’ll know more dinosaur names than Disney characters. Because that’s what true love is all about.

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

A lesson in raising a son and learning to love what he loves. Our trip to Dinosaur Park Texas

I’m trying to plan an awesome birthday party for my soon-to-be 3-year-old. Some of my friends tell me their almost-3-year-olds have given then all of the details of where they want their party to be, and what kind of theme. Lil’ J was like that before her third birthday. She wanted a Rapunzel-themed party at the bouncy place. Perfect!

My little guy isn’t quite as specific. For the longest time our conversation went like this:

Me: Do you want dinosaurs or choo choos?
Son: Choo Choos.
Me: Are you sure? Do you want choo choos or dinosaurs?
Son: Dinosaurs.
Me: Dinosaurs or choo choos?
Son: Ummm, choo choos.
Me:

Finally one day I was successful and got him to say something OTHER than the last thing I said and it was dinosaurs that won! Probably a good thing because last year,we did a train party. Oh my goodness, I’m terrible because I STILL haven’t shared all of the pictures and video, but maybe I’ll make it a goal to do that before his next birthday.

I get really excited when it comes to planning birthday parties, especially when my kid currently has something they’re really into and we can come up with a fun party theme.

I know what you’re thinking the PBS Show Dinosaur Train would be the perfect theme! But no, my son is obsessed with actual freight trains and scary dinosaurs. Not cartoon Thomas or colorful talking dinosaurs.

If we were to do a Dinosaur train party it would have to look something like this:

Realistic Dinosaur Train

He hasn’t seen Jurassic World (exactly) but he has seen the last 3 minutes of the two big dinosaurs duking it out at the end of the movie. He watches it on YouTube over and over. If I try to bring up any kind of happy, friendly singing/dancing dino on YouTube Kids, he wants nothing to do with it.

It’s almost the same with Thomas. He has no problem playing with Thomas trains, or watching videos of other people playing with Thomas trains. But he doesn’t like the show. It’s like he can’t understand why a train is talking and not driving around.

He’d much rather me queue up a 45 minutes of freight train home videos. He likes actual trains and actual dinosaurs.

So right now I’m thinking making just getting Jurassic World party decorations, maybe printing off a few pictures of trains, hosting it at one of his favorite places to play and call it a day. It’s really a miracle I’m even thinking about it this early. Normally I like to procrastinate.

Have you done a dino-themed party before? Any tips for making one with realistic dinosaurs without the potential terror?

My favorite question: “Why post pictures of your kids online if you don’t want them stolen?” in a tone of Well, you’re asking for it.

A camera crew from the Today Show left my house yesterday afternoon and all I kept thinking after they left was “did I make sense?” “Did I really get my point across?”

You’d think someone like me, who has appeared on television countless times would know how to handle an interview but the truth is, I prefer being on the other side of the camera when it comes to questions.

behind the scenes Today Show shoot

So here’s the deal, long story short: People sometimes steal my pictures and use them without my permission.

This has ranged from Etsy stores, stock photo sites, Facebook pages, and so on. I normally don’t make a huge deal about it because I know how to handle it and it gets handled.

I was nervous before the segment aired because I worried it was going to turn into a shaming session like so many ill-informed people make it in the comments section of Yahoo. Thankfully, they got it right, and had an excellent expert explain what I feel like I’ve explained a hundred times.

I OWN my work. This website, my photos, my written words… Mine. You know how authors own the rights to their books? Or all of those warnings at the beginning of your blu-rays about duplication? Or how you wouldn’t scan a photo out of a magazine and upload it as your own? Much like that.

Would you be scared of a photographer or author coming after you for copyright infringement? If so, you should be scared of a blogger too.

Pillow-girl-today-show

Sure, people search google images looking for the perfect photo for a meme and–thinking it’s innocent–grab a picture of my family… After all, they aren’t trying to make money off of it, so it’s fair use right? WRONG.

It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

The problem isn’t parents sharing images of their kids. The problem is people not being informed and feeling entitled to whatever they find on the internet. Thinking it’s a place that’s “free game” once it’s out there. It’s new territory, so I understand we’re all trying to navigate new terrain together. We’re trying to figure out what we can and can do, should and shouldn’t share. But my most explicit warning isn’t for those who are wondering whether or not to share (I choose not to live in fear) but for those who take without asking.

Please, for the love of everything holy, ask first. Because a lawsuit could cost way more than the few laughs that meme was worth.

Here’s the segment in case you missed it. I’m working on an FAQ post for parents about sharing my kids’ photos online and how I handle things when I see they’ve been taken (UPDATE 3:30pm: Here’s my FAQ post). So let me know if you have any specific questions. In the mean time, here’s the segment in case you missed it. (I can’t wait to show Lil’ J when she gets home from school!)

Currently:
Rivaling my son’s obsession with trains. We were gifted some tubs of trains from friends who are moving past this stage and I’ve been sorting through them, finding which pieces go with which sets. I’ve helped him map out elaborate plans across the playroom with his wooden tracks.

I’m bookmarking train accessories on Amazon and trying my best to resist the urge to get them before Christmas.

I brought another gifted plastic set over to my mom’s for him to play with when we visit her house.

Train lover

I’m strategizing a bedroom makeover from his whimsical jungle nursery to freight trains and railways.

I’m wondering how this happened. I went from princesses and dress-up to wheels and tracks, and to be honest I love them just as much. He loves Thomas but he doesn’t train discriminate. He has never watched an entire episode of Thomas and Friends but he will watch a goof half an hour of freight train video on YouTube kids. trains-and-trains-galore

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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