Easter Miracle

Two years ago, I took a photography class at the local community college. I wanted to learn to use my camera, and I wanted to get better at taking photos of my (at the time only one) kid.

The teacher’s advice on photographing kids? She uses the sport setting to shoot her dogs. That was it.

Fast-forward two years and one kid later, just try getting a good photo of the two of them together, especially now that the 4-year-old isn’t into getting his photo taken and the 1-year-old is BUSY.

Behold, I show you this:
IMG_3988

It was an Easter miracle. Now, that pose on the right wasn’t what I was going for, and I cropped off their feet but look! They’re both looking at the camera and have pleasant looks on their faces.

We were trying to recreate this from last year:

Untitled

That… did not go so well. They weren’t into it. (Also my tulips hadn’t bloomed yet!)

IMG_3987

So we tried another pose.

IMG_3996

Which was quickly met with disdain.

IMG_3999

Some people simply did not want to be photographed.

IMG_4003

And some people were busy.

IMG_4010

So we sent them off on a walk in the neighbor’s yard.

IMG_4013

Which, predictably, did not go well.

IMG_4015

More cheese:

IMG_4021

Some sweetness:

IMG_4030

And the moral of the story is: at least I got one decent one. But really? Sports setting? Someone does not know anything about children.

And at least they love each other.

IMG_3990

Arches, Fountains and Ferrets

IMG_2877

Good thing I waited until St. Louis (ok, Ferguson) was in the news to post this. Now you have some context. The night we arrived was actually the night Michael Brown was shot. But this is not a post about race relations in Missouri.

IMG_2795

This summer our little get-away was to St. Louis to see my sister and her family as well as my parents. We went to see the arch, but while I would have liked to experience the assent and see the view, there was no way I waiting in what looked to be a super long line just to cram myself in a tiny elevator. Instead, thanks to my elementary school teacher mom, we learned that the arch is called the Gateway to the West, that it symbolizes America’s expansion beyond the Mississippi River and that it’s the tallest monument in the country. Tour, done.

IMG_2799

Instead, we wandered around the grounds and refereed preschooler spats.

IMG_2807

My dad got the crazies to scream as loud as their little lungs allowed, while passersby gave us pitying looks.

IMG_2803

And the baby conked out on her grandma.

IMG_2823

With four little people who still nap midday, we took things easy and just enjoyed family time.

IMG_2837

Or, looking kind of bored time.

IMG_2826

But the kids had fun, finding joy in every little thing, as kids do.

IMG_2860

This was post a trip to the donut store. Which, I have to say, World Fair Donuts did not deliver.

IMG_2854

That better not be DONUT crumbs on my seven-month-old’s face, DAD!

IMG_2863

This fountain in one of the parks near our condo was a hit.

IMG_2866

We went there twice in three days.

IMG_2867

This little girl has a thing about dipping her hair in the water.

IMG_2881

It was conveniently located adjoining two playgrounds.

IMG_2893

My dad was the king of the tire twisty swing, which one of these boys was not terribly fond of.

IMG_2887

Even my mom got in on that action.

IMG_2894

That, my friends, is one fit and fine grandma.

IMG_2902

The next day, we hit the zoo, which is very awesomely free, and actually a super nice zoo. Since it was free, we didn’t feel terrible that we walked around for just a couple of hours before heading home for naps. And it was very nicely laid out with plenty of shade, so we weren’t miserable even though it was in the 90s.

IMG_2905

And while we did see a lot of the animals out and about because they were breakfasting in the cool of the morning, there was a lot of monkeying around by the three walkers.

IMG_2905

There was walking through tree trunks,

IMG_2908

hiding in holes,

IMG_2910

and general tree-climbing nonsense.

IMG_2913

And after a nice lunch of Persian food in our neighborhood, apparently I got tired of lugging my camera around.

We also hit up The Magic House, which is labeled as a children’s museum, but is really a huge pile of little kid awesome place. There’s basically every kind of interactive, developmental, learning and exploring tool ever made crammed into an old Victorian with multiple add-ons. We definitely could have stayed all day, had our fear of napless monsters been overcome. We were there at least three hours, and covered maybe a third of that place. For our kids, it was absolutely perfect.

The other place we ran out of time to try was The City. Maybe next time, with slightly bigger kids.

All in all, a successful adventure. The icing on the top was our Airbnb rental, which really became a home away from home.

Have you ever been to St. Louis? Did we miss anything key?

Swimmingly

IMG_2650

Take three wiggly boys.

IMG_2614

Add one former swimmer.

IMG_2639

What do you get?

IMG_2641

Mayhem!

IMG_2635

And maybe learning a little swimming at the same time.

IMG_2613

My friend offered to teach the boys swimming this summer. She’s wanted to teach her own son, but thought the structure of having others in class would help them stick to it! I was totally game, because a) swim lessons! and b) access to her parent’s pool for the lessons, so no fighting for space at the public pool.

So far, the boys are having fun, learning, and I get to hang out with this cutie on the sidelines.

IMG_2629

Winter Ice

Untitled

Just before Christmas, we had a brief ice storm. This one wasn’t as destructive as the one we had about six years ago, so instead we could just enjoy the beauty the ice left behind. At certain points during the day, the sunlight caught the ice crystals and the whole world seemed to be made of gold. Of course, it was hard to capture with my phone camera.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled

But by today, the day after Christmas, the ice has mostly melted, and the thin dusting of snow that fell on Monday has mostly receded, and we are back to brown winter tones.

Setting My Dad Up with his Fix

IMG_0019

On Sunday, my little guy and I headed to the park. Spring in Oklahoma is amazing, though short. It’s fairly bug-free, and the temps are pleasant.

IMG_0020

I’m also enrolled in a photography course at the local community college, so I brought my camera along.

IMG_0009

This little kid loves to run and play and climb and jump. He refers to the park as the “party”, for obvious reasons.

IMG_0018

And when he got thirsty, he knew right what to do.

IMG_0011

He ran over to the drinking fountain and drank out of the dog bowl.

IMG_0013

I guess it’s toddler-sized, too.

IMG_9967

Fast-moving little boys sure are hard to capture, but I got a couple that I liked.

IMG_0007

IMG_9980

That’s dirt on the face, father. It was a perfect little boy day.

IMG_9985

I’m pretty jazzed that I finally know how to work my camera a little.

IMG_9975

I’m going to miss this little turkey for the next 10 days!

IMG_9972