Happy Birthday To Me, or Feeling Older But Not Slowing Down

1295719197Today is my birthday.  As of today, I’m 36 years old.  This means that I’m beginning the slide out of the 30’s toward the 40’s.  In many ways, I still feel like I’m in my 20’s.  Yet, increasingly, I feel aches and pains that I never felt a decade ago.  My elbow hurts if I lift anything too heavy (like JSL) and my back can seize up at times.

Still, I’m not going to let that slow me down (much).  I still plan on playing with my boys and being active with them.  I’m not going to be one of those parents who sits down on the sidelines while their children play.  Those parents are missing a golden opportunity to be part of their children’s lives.

All too soon, my kids will be teenagers.  Most likely, they won’t want me tagging along on their adventures.  I’ll likely be tossed aside as being “uncool.”  If/when that happens, I might take the opportunity to sit down.  Until then, if you need me, I’ll be running around the playground with my boys!

Have you been feeling older?  How do you keep yourself feeling young?

My Little Photographers

When NHL turned four years old, my parents bought him a camera for his birthday.  No, not a DSLR or even a cheap point and shoot  This was a Fisher Price Kid Tough digital camera.

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The entire camera was designed with kids in mind.  There were two handgrips (for better grips), two eye pieces (since kids might not get “squint and look here”), and the whole thing was rugged enough to survive a drop down a flight of stairs.  NHL had a blast taking photos of everything in his sight.  (So much so that we quickly realized ground rules were needed like “No taking photos of Mommy and Daddy when they are on the potty!”)

Eventually, his attention was diverted by other toys and the camera found its way to the Heap Of Rarely Played With Toys.  At some point, JSL took an interest in this camera, but there was a problem.  No matter how often I put a fresh set of batteries in, it would only work for a brief period of time before dying again.

During our Disney World trip, JSL began asking for a camera.  What began as an occasional request quickly ramped up.  In fact, as I waited in line at Epcot’s photo center (to get some photos added to our Photo Pass card), JSL went berserk.  There, right in front of him, was a display of Disney-themed kids cameras.  He wanted one and he wanted one NOW!

Somehow, we held him off until his birthday.  That’s when he got this:


That would be his new V-Tech Kidizoom Plus.  It is a 2MP camera, does video, adds special effects to photos and more.  If anything, it’s a little too complex for JSL so we’re trying to limit him to just photos.

He’s now hooked on taking photos.  Here’s a small selection of his work.

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Don’t feel bad for NHL, though.  He’s inherited my old camera with the broken flash.  Well, perhaps not “inherited”, but rather “will be allowed to use on a heavily supervised basis.”

If the weather holds out this weekend, perhaps I’ll be able to take the boys on a photo shoot.  I’ve got my eyes on a photography exercise that Chookooloonks posted about.  I’ll take them outside, walk 100 paces and have them take 20 photos of things right around them.

If you could go on a photo shoot with your kids, where would you go?

Happy Fourth Birthday, JSL!

Sliding JSLDear JSL,

Today, you turn four years old.  It seems like only yesterday that B woke me up, the  Monday after Mother’s Day, telling me that you were on your way.  That day was filled with a lot of hurrying.  Aunt S & Mimi hurried to pick up your brother.  My parents (Bubbe and Grandpa) hurried to make the drive to see you.  Mommy’s parents (Nana and Papa), meanwhile, hurried to join us in the hospital.

Before we knew it, you were born and we all instantly fell in love with you.  Your brother came over, said hi to you and gave you a kiss like he had known you for years.  As you grew, you would always look up to him and would try to do the things that he, as a bigger kid, could do.  Sometimes you succeeded, sometimes you fell flat on your face.  But you kept trying to be just like your big brother.

JSL Giving Sleeping Beauty A Kiss When we went to Disney World, it was fun to watch your reactions to the costumed characters go from horror to delight.  (Ok, the horror wasn’t so much fun, but the delight was.)  You would have probably been happy if Disney World consisted of only the Winnie the Pooh and Small World rides.  Add in all the rest, though, and you and your brother were in love.  We had created some Neurotic Disney Kids!

You’ve scared your mother and me many times with your many febrile seizures and falls.  We have seriously considered wrapping you in bubble wrap or hockey goalie padding/helmet more than once.  When you decide on which record of your brother’s to break next, please avoid ones such as “Most Ambulance Trips” or “Most Days In A Hospital” and look to ones like “Best Grades” or “Quickest Room Cleaning.”

A Swinging Kid As you began talking, we found your speech to be very cute.  Unfortunately, those dropped sounds that began as cute became frustrating.  You knew what you were talking to us about and couldn’t understand why we were having trouble deciphering what you were saying.  Luckily, you are now getting speech therapy and we understand you much more often.  There’s still the odd moment where we just don’t get what you are saying, but since the problem has been identified we can calmly work out what you mean.

Every day as I go to work, you insist on hugging and kissing me goodbye (and then closing the door behind me).  I look forward to your “welcome home” hugs/kisses when I return.  You are always there to help me, Mommy, or anyone else.  You are, as you put it, “everybody’s helper.”  I also love tickling you because I just can’t get enough of your laughter.  (Fair warning: There will be plenty of birthday tickling.  In fact, I might just tickle you as I read you this.)

JSL, Tinkerbell, NHL and Terence You love playing on the playground (especially the swings), puzzles, watching TV with me, Buzz Lightyear, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, superheroes, and macaroni and cheese.  Despite how some people might assign gender roles, you also love Tinkerbell.  When we went to Disney World for the 2011 Social Media Moms Celebration, I was the only dad on the line with two boys and no girls.  It didn’t matter, though, because my sons got to meet the famous fairy in person!

Though I don’t want you to grow up (you’ll always be my little boy no matter how big you get), I’m also excited to see all the new things you’ll learn in the coming year.  We all love you very much.  Happy birthday, JSL!

Happy Birthday To My Angel

Today is the last day of Chanukah, but there’s something even bigger to celebrate.  Today is the birthday of the most beautiful woman in the world: My wife, aka B, aka TheAngelForever!

In some ways, it’s hard to believe that she’s only been in my life for 11 years.  It feels like forever… and I mean that in a good way.  I can’t imagine my life without her.  I love being around her and every day I watch the clock slowly tick until it’s “go home to see B and the boys” time.  (I love my job, but my coworkers just are no match for my family!)  I love spending lazy weekend mornings in bed with her, seeing how long we can lounge around before the boys storm the bedroom demanding breakfast.

Every day, I try to do everything I can to make her happy.  I only hope I’m making her as happy as she has made me.  She’s a wonderful mother to our kids and wife and friend to me.  Although she’ll deny it left and right, she’s also extremely sexy.  Sorry, B, but despite your protests, you are sexy and I don’t mind shouting it to the world.  MY WIFE IS SEXY!!!!!!  😉

Happy birthday, B.  I love you with all of my heart.

Bouncy Birthday Fun

Over the weekend, we went to see Uncle I, Aunt M, and Cousins S & B for Cousin S’s third birthday party. The boys were surprised to find out that a bounce house was going to be part of the party fun.

At 9am, the bounce house arrived and was set up while the kids played on the swings/slide play area that I & M bought since the last time we were there.

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Swinging festivities were cut short, though, as the kids became fascinated by the ever-growing bounce house.

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Shoes were kicked off and the bouncing began. JSL was a little hesitant at first, but he soon figured out how much fun a bounce house could be!

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There were also games of hug-and-fall.

After the party ended, and the kids had left, B, JSL, Cousin S, NHL and I had some special bounce-time where I tried to get shots of everyone in mid-air.

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The photo of me is blurry, but it was tough shooting conditions. (Darker inside than outside, fast moving subject *AND* shooter moving as well.)

B kept teasing me by doing grand flops…. when I wasn’t ready to take a photo of her. This led to many a blurred photo of an airborne angel but I did manage to snag a few good ones.

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JSL and NHL were sad to see the bounce house go. I see a visit to a local bounce house play area in our future! Thanks, Uncle I and Aunt M for such a fun time and happy birthday Cousin S!

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