In early September, Devin and I drove across the state to visit some good friends (and their adorable dogs). During our visit, we traveled to the Toledo Zoo for some animal antics.
Before we left, I was packing up my camera and Dev asked if he could bring his along. He was gifted with a nice point-and-shoot from a friend of mine a few years back and he’s taken quite a few shots with it. But one time when changing the batteries, Mom (me) broke one of the little plastic pieces off of the battery compartment door and the thing won’t close right anymore. We’ve used tape to try to keep it shut, but it tends to squirrel loose within minutes and the batteries lose contact and, well, it doesn’t work anymore.
So when I went to get it out of the drawer, Dev stopped me and said, “No, Mom…can’t I use your old camera?”
It’s my D70 that I had for five years. A nice DSLR that cost me a pretty penny in 2004. I haven’t used it since I got my D90, but it’s still in nice enough shape and I thought Scott could put it to use sometime. But a 7-year-old?
It’s not like I haven’t ever allowed him to touch my cameras. Proof.
But the thought of him carrying that heavy, still-valuable camera around the zoo gave me pause.
A short pause, though!
And he was really very careful with it. He kept the strap around his neck and he didn’t complain about hauling it around. (I did nicely swap him my lighter 50mm lens.) Later in the day (the very hot day!) he finally decided to pack it up. After shooting 130+ photos.
Yesterday, several weeks after the fact, I finally downloaded the photos and I was very impressed with many of his shots. Yes, he was using a nice camera, but he was choosing his subjects and angles and composing things from his vantage point. Here I’ve curated some of my favorites for your viewing enjoyment:
Because I’ve gone all month without a single update! I’ve been really bad with updating and with taking photos this month. So even though we did a lot more than you can see here, I have no record of it. Let’s just assume we had fun!
September started off with Devin and me helping out at the Women’s City Club, laying carpet squares for ArtPrize. This turned out to be very hard work. Hot and sweaty. And the next day my hamstrings were KILLING me. But it was all for a good cause.
Then we headed to Monroe to visit friends and check out the Toledo Zoo.
Then it was time for school! First day of second grade.
Then we “dug” for dinosaurs and found a velociraptor. Not my favorite dinosaur since we had just seen Jurassic Park in the theater and it brought back those lovely memories of sacrificial cows and people getting gobbled up. But the kid was happy.
This was just a day of goofiness. We need to have those whenever possible.
And then we visited ArtPrize for a short stint on Friday night. We didn’t have a lot of time so we have to get back down there this week and explore.
How’s that for a blog post title?
I used to do this thing with Devin’s blog where I’d go a couple of weeks between posts and then just plaster it with photos. (If you click on that link, be warned that I don’t update the site anymore. It’s in limbo at the moment so the most recent post is from last fall.)
I may have to subscribe to that same strategy here with the amount of time I’ve found to blog lately.
I do have good excuses for not finding time, though. Like sitting in an 8-hour workshop today. And when they say workshop, they really do mean WORK. So then I run over and pick up Dev from summer camp, get stuck in loads of traffic on the way home, try to get started on dinner while facing a sink full of dirty dishes (our dishwasher’s been broken for three years), realize I still have real work to do that I couldn’t do because I was at a workshop (irony) and start on that, then smile a big smile when Scott comes home and takes over the dinner duty, finish up work except for a broken blog page that I can’t reconcile and am fretting about still, eat dinner, do dishes, agree to play trains with Dev, get Dev started on his bedtime routine, brush my teeth and such, wrangle him a little bit more, read to him for half an hour (The Silver Chair), scoop the cat box, give Lucy her medicine, refill the water bowl and add ice (because Maggie’s totally spoiled) and then…here I am!
So isn’t that a good excuse? And I now leave you with photos from this past week of, as I mentioned before, pirates and quesadillas (which the little one helped me make). Oh, and a flower photo too!
We went through the “hiding from the camera” phase when he was a toddler. Then he got through that and we’ve cruised along for a while. Lately, though, he’s been holding up his hands when I point the lens his way. Or turning the back of his head toward me. Or hiding under the table. (This last one should give me a hint that he’s just not that into it.) But when I decided to snap a self-portrait tonight, while waiting for Scott to serve up his famous sub sandwiches, he giggled and ran around behind me. Then he asked me to take another. And this is what we got.
I sent the boys off to a baseball card show and what did they bring home? A heck of a lot of baseball cards. And? Pokemon cards. Hockey cards. Basketball cards. Batman cards. Nascar cards. Lots and lots and lots of cards.
Ever since he’s been home, the kid’s been counting, stacking and organizing the cards.
I usually take pictures of more upscale dining fare, but I had a date with a certain 6-year-old at McDonald’s today and we were sitting by a window…so, you know.
Really, the Southwestern Chicken Salad is quite good. The tortilla strips make it all crunchy, and the chicken is tender. I paired it with one of the caramel mochas, which I was surprised to find are pretty darn tasty. Plus there was the fun of helping the little fingers put stickers on the new Tonka truck. Gotta love those Happy Meals!
We took Juliette for a walk this afternoon. Thankfully the majority of our neighbors had shoveled or snowblowed their walks. And thankfully there were many snowbanks for Devin to frolic in.
But you should have seen how big his eyes got when he spied the enormous snowbank in the church parking lot.
Of course I had to let him climb it. And of course I had to get my camera to document the event!
Blizzards aren’t typical events. The last snow dump of this magnitude we had was when Scott and I were living in Chicago in January 1999. We didn’t have a kid back then. (Instead, I played the child-like part, ooohing and aaahing as the snow poured down outside our window.) Kids add a new dimension to blizzards. You get to share with them the awe of Mother Nature and you also get to share with them a Snow Day.
Of course, this Snow Day was also a Work Day for me, so the sharing part was slightly limited. But we found some time this afternoon to make a batch of pretzels together (after also shoveling together and playing a little Wii together — don’t tell my boss about that last part). He played lead designer, requesting a Star Wars theme. You know. S-T-A-R W-A-R-S spelled out in pretzel dough. What could be more fun?
And because things weren’t as rush-rush tonight as with our normal pick-up-from-school-and-get-dinner-on-the-table evenings, he requested some extra story time. I love reading to him. But now that Dev’s in first grade (gasp!), we encourage him to read to us too. It had been a few weeks, though, since I’d last remembered to have him grab a book to share with me.
Tonight’s selection was, of course, Star Wars-related. It was also amazing. Because seriously? He can read. In just a few weeks’ time, the difference is just so striking. He’s faster, more confident and really good at figuring out challenging words. Wasn’t it just yesterday, or at least last week, when he was learning his ABCs? I really do love watching him grow and master things.
They run around pretending they’re gladiators.
Or they chase girls who are wearing boas.
They don’t actually dance unless you bribe them.
And then they’re likely to just stand still while you try very hard to get them to groove to the beat.
All mommas love their kids.
That’s not a revelation.
But it really is amazing when you become a momma, when you have a kid of your own, and when you experience that love for yourself. It’s not just love…L-O-V-E. It’s LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEE. Only longer, but since I don’t have oodles of room, you get the picture.
When I looked through the photos we took the other day, as we were goofing around as we like to do, this one just summed it up. All the love. Right there in those rabbit ears and those sweet little dimples.
On Father’s Day, we packed up the gang (father, mother, kid and canine) and headed to the beach. The one that allows dogs. Because I hate to leave her behind.
There was much discussion beforehand as to whether it was a good idea to go on a weekend and on one of the first really truly hot days of the year. But ya know what? There aren’t as many people who are excited about visiting a dog beach as you might think. Just the ever-cool dog people. So we had a nice chunk of sand to ourselves. And plenty of canine companionship at our beck and call.
Oh, and the occasion to learn how to long jump. Which, surprisingly, he was happy to do to indulge his daddy. And he wasn’t all that bad at it either.
He found a lightning bug tonight. As we were playing cars on the front porch. He in his PJs. Me barefoot and snapping pics, of course. Summer. It’s when you can get away with such things.
We’d come across one the night before too. A tiny little mite that seemed unable to fly. His wing looked slightly damaged, so I advised Dev that we should be gentle with it. He seemed fascinated by the tiny visitor.
He was equally intrigued tonight, abandoning his cars (on our freshly chalk-drawn roadway) to watch the lightning bug’s journey across the coarse cement. He carefully tried to coax the bug onto his finger, but LB was interested only in escape. So I took a leaf and placed it before the bug and it climbed right on.
My kiddo brought the leaf very close to his face and watched very excitedly before carefully placing the leaf, and its passenger, back on the ground. As he told me, “We can only hold it for a few minutes, Momma, because it might miss its mommy and daddy.”