Toddler Photography Friday!

Josh gets ready to snap a few shots.

Our youngest photojournalist Josh gets ready to snap a few shots.

Its Toddler Photography Friday!!

Things have been crazy around here, but after a brief interruption, I’m back with “Toddler Photography Friday!” Zack and Josh love taking pictures, so I thought I’d kick off the weekend right and share more of their handiwork with everyone.

“We need more photos!” Taken by Josh, age 2

“We need more photos!” Taken by Josh (age 2)

Yes, as you’ve probably guessed, we’re obsessed with pictures around here. On our giant living room wall are framed pictures of the boys at various ages. Lately they’ve taken to demanding that we update our collection with even more pictures of them. I’m not sure if it’s because we don’t have any recent pictures up yet or that they are tiny egomaniacs that just want to see more of themselves. I suspect it’s the later.

“The Happy Disaster!” Taken by Zack (age 2)

“The Happy Disaster” Taken by Zack (age 2)

Ever the neat freak, Zack snapped this photo of his little brother Josh (7 months) covered in baby food. Unlike most children, Josh never quite outgrew this stage and continues to eat like a pig. Covered head to toe in food is his natural state. I’m just surprised he doesn’t have more of it up his nose.

“Ignore that guy... I’m the real ‘sexist man alive’!” Taken by Josh (age 17 months)

“Ignore that guy… I’m the real ‘sexist man alive’!” Taken by Josh (age 17 months)

While my wife and I watch “the Voice” Josh takes a ‘selfie’ letting us all know that Adam Levine doesn’t stand a chance against the power of his cuteness. J might not have been voted People Magazine’s “sexist man”, but he sure has the ego for it.

“The Right Hand of Doom” Taken by Zack (age 4)

“The Right Hand of Doom” Taken by Zack (age 4)

Zack captures the moment just before his little brother Josh obliterates his Lego tower. Don’t worry, since then many, many more towers have been built in its place (followed by many, many more obliterations).

Well that’s it for Toddler Photography this week.

Life has been pretty chaotic lately (blog entry about it soon), but I’m hopeful that I’ll get back to posting more regularly. Thanks for your patience.

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Toddler Photography Friday!

Zack would rather take pictures than leave his Dad alone to watch the football game in peace.

Zack would rather take pictures than leave his Dad alone to watch the football game in peace.

We made it to Friday so that means more photos taken by my pint sized photographers! Over the years my kids have taken hundreds of bizarre photos of just about everything and I pick out a few of the most interesting ones to share here each week. It’s always fun to see the world from their unique perspective…

“I gots me some tiny feet” taken by Josh (age 2 ½)

“I got tiny feet” taken by Josh (age 2 ½)

One of Josh’s many photos of his feet. He absolutely loves taking pictures of them, either by themselves, next to an object (for scale), or in action stomping on something. They seem to be one of his favorite subjects, and its convenient too since they’re always right there at the end of his legs.

“Great Gammy Anne’s Gams” taken by Zack (age 3)

“Great Gammy Anne’s Gams” taken by Zack (age 3)

Anyone can take a normal vacation photo, but our kids like to do things a little differently. Why just snap a picture of your family with their heads in it when you can lie down on the floor and take pictures your great Grandma’s ankles instead?

“Zeke don’t lick the camera” taken by Josh (age 1 ½)

“Zeke don’t lick the camera” taken by Josh (age 1 ½)

Once Josh was stable enough to stand and walk he loved to chase our old dog “Zeke” around the house. Fortunately for Zeke, Josh was rather slow and one well-placed head bump or lick would knock the toddler over long enough that he could make is escape. This time around Josh thought to document the dog slobber as it occurred.

“Josh and Daddy Do Dishes” taken by Zack (age 4)

“Josh and Daddy Do Dishes” taken by Zack (age 4)

This is my daily life. Doing daily chores with the little guys underfoot can be a challenge, but they enjoy “helping”. I just make sure to have lots of extra towels handy.

Well that’s it for now. Hope you had fun seeing the boys’ photos this week. Have a great weekend!

Hmmm… now where did I leave those towels?

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Baby talk

As we get closer and closer to the due date for Andrew James, I’m trying to get our boys excited about the new addition to the family.

Move over Mickey, there's a baby coming to take your spot. Hope these two are ready for it.

Move over Mickey, there’s a baby coming to take your spot. Hope these two are ready for it.

Are you excited about getting a new little brother?

Josh: “His name is ‘Joshie’!”

Zack: “I have a brother named ‘Joshie’ too!”

Josh: “No, your brother is named ‘Zachary'”

Zack: “Hey, that’s my name!”

Josh: “Okay no, my baby brother’s name is ‘Vacuum Cleaner'”

Zack: “He no named ‘Vacuum Cleaner’, his name is ‘Chainsaw’!”

Josh: “Don’t put vacuum cleaners in your pocket.”

Zack: “No, pockets are for chainsaws”

Josh: “And baby brothers!”

At least they are kind of looking forward to the baby now, even if they do want to rename him. Don’t worry, when little “Chainsaw Vacuum Cleaner Husted” does get here, I’ll make sure to keep the boys from putting him in their pockets.

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Toddler Photography Friday!

They've stolen my camera so often that we've given up and just bought a new one for ourselves.

They’ve stolen my camera so often that we’ve given up and just bought a new one for ourselves.

After a temporary one week hiatus, it’s once again Toddler Photography Friday! My kids have taken so many pictures that I had to figure out something to do with them. So why not share their strange little view of the world with everyone else? Hope you enjoy…

“Baby’s first Selfie” Taken by Josh (age 18 months)

“Baby’s first Selfie” Taken by Josh (age 18 months)

This documents the very first moment our son Josh became obsessed with the camera. His Grandma Mary was struggling to change his diaper so we let him play with it as a distraction. Little did we know, we created a monster. 

“Is the room spinning, or is it me?” taken by Zack (age 2)

“Is the room spinning, or is it me?” taken by Zack (age 2)

Sometimes I’m totally stumped at effects that the boys have gotten in their pictures. I have no idea how Zack snapped a photo where the inside of the living room is clear and in focus, but the trees outside look like they are zooming by the window. I’m sure it has something to do with having the boundless energy of a little kid and being in constant motion while taking pictures.

“Now won’t you… just… sit… still?” Taken by Josh (age 18 months)

“Now won’t you… just… sit… still?” Taken by Josh (age 18 months)

After taking his own self portrait, Josh turned the camera around and took this shot of his Grandma Mary attempting to corral an unruly toddler. After this, Mom quite wisely opted out of having to do diaper changes ever again. Not having to deal with changing stinky butts is one of the perks of being a Grandparent after all.

“Andrew… when ya gonna come out to play?” Taken by Zack (age 4)

“Andrew… when ya gonna come out to play?” Taken by Zack (age 4)

Zack snaps a pic of Kat’s belly. Just a month and a half away from the AJ’s due date the boys are getting anxious to meet their new little brother. I think it’s a combination of that, and they are looking forward to Mommy getting her lap back so they can sit on it again.

 That’s it for now, more toddler shots next week!

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What’s harder Parenting or manual labor?

I’ve missed a few days updating my blog but it’s been for a good reason. We made arrangements to get our septic tank pumped later this week, and to save a few dollars I had the bright idea that I’d dig the cover up myself. We had talked to the woman at the septic company who pulled up our records and gave us an “accurate” description of where the four tank lids were that I would have to uncover.

My lunatic children go crazy inside the house. I think I'm better off staying out here in the rain.

My lunatic children go crazy inside the house. I think I’m better off staying outside in the rain.

Saturday morning I set to work eager to get this simple job out of the way as quickly as possible. This being Washington, it was raining of course which didn’t help anything. Carefully following the measurements I was given I calculated where the first lid should have been. I say “should have been” because of course, that’s where it wasn’t. I dug three feet down and found nothing. Wet, tired, and a bit frustrated I wasn’t sure where to try next. This was when the boys came out to “help”.

They were thrilled to discover the dirt “Volcano” their Dad had built in the back yard. They climbed the dirt mounds over and over as I set about digging another hole in the yard hoping that this time the tank would reveal itself. Armed with toy sandbox shovels Zack and Josh decided I needed a hand. As I dug deeper they “helped” by replacing the dirt back into the hole while I was still standing in it.

As the rain came down, so did the dirt. One of the few benefits of having a shaved head is that when my kids sprinkle dirt on me, it’s just a matter of brushing it off. After another half hour of digging, the new hole had transformed into a semicircular trench that now connected to my previous excavation. The elusive septic tank was still nowhere to be found.

I was feeling defeated. What I had thought was a simple enough task, uncovering the four tank lids, had proven too much for me. All three of us were wet and muddy, but the difference between me and my young assistants was that they were still going strong while I was exhausted.

That was when fate (and Mommy) intervened. Kat told the boys to get back in the house to get clean and warmed up before they get too cold and miserable. Since I was already cold and miserable, I opted to stay outside and continue searching for the giant cement box that was buried somewhere in the yard yet continued to elude me. My energy spent, the only thing that kept me going was that I was just too stubborn to admit defeat.

Then, as I contemplated giving up once and for all I heard the noises coming from inside the house. It was total chaos. “I don’t want to change my clothes”, “Get off the bed with those muddy shoes!”, “I wanna go play!”, “Stop crying and take your shirt off”. And then the screaming started, and the crying, and the scream-crying. Should I go help, or stay outside and keep working? I had a choice to make, hard manual labor in the cold rain, or parenting my two crazed little boys. When push came to shove I chickened out. Opting for the easier of the two tasks, I began digging with new resolve.

My victory! At long last I found it! Our idiot dog poses outside in the rain next to the uncovered tank.

My victory! At long last I found it! Our idiot dog poses outside in the rain next to the uncovered septic tank.

Eventually I found the tank. As luck would have it, I had been only a foot to the left of it on my first attempt, but had then started going in the wrong direction with my subsequent holes. The kids finally stopped giving their Mom grief and got warmed up and now, victorious in my quest, I staggered inside to get cleaned up.

To celebrate we all went out to lunch. The kids were happy that they got to go out to a restaurant. My wife was happy that I’d dug up the tank, saved us some cash, and didn’t kill myself in the process. I just felt accomplished that I’d actually done something I’d set out to do, accomplished and exhausted… very exhausted.

Much calmer now, Zack reads to Josh on our way to lunch. (I generally don't take pictures of the kids when everyone is flipping out)

Much calmer now, Zack reads to Josh on our way to lunch.

I may have gotten away with it this time, but I know next time I won’t get off so easy. Sometimes being a Dad means that there are jobs around the house that only a Dad can do and I’m alright with that. I took advantage of the situation. My eight month pregnant wife wasn’t going to be out in the rain digging up septic tanks. It sucked, it was hard work and I’m out of shape, but I consider myself lucky having gotten off easy. Kat is the one that had to deal with riding herd on two rambunctious little boys that didn’t want to be cooped up in the house, and that’s a lot more difficult that just digging a hole any day.

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Always check for cars

I might be a novice to this whole “Dad” thing, but in my four years as a father I’ve picked up on a few things I thought I could pass on to help (or amuse) the other parents or potential parents out there.

Always check for cars.

Always check for cars.

Just like in an old Western, never get dressed without first checking your boots for snakes and scorpions. It’s a painful lesson, but after the first couple times I jammed my feet into a shoe filled with toy cars I’ve learned to stop and scope out the situation instead of just blindly throwing on my shoes.

My boys don’t limit themselves to cars either. All manner of objects have been crammed into my footwear. Just like in the ad for the U.S. Post Office: “If it fits, it ships”, my sons have taken it upon themselves to discover what objects around the house can be hidden inside their father’s shoes. Blocks, rocks, pine cones, half eaten apples, maracas, and of course Legos have all been discovered.

On instance I believe my two year old was attempting the Turduckin of shoe sabotage. I found a tennis shoe inside my boot, inside that was a toddler shoe, and inside of that he had stashed one of his sandals.

So my tip for this week is always making sure to check your shoes before putting them on. Remember, don’t just look, shake them too. You’ll thank me when that random toy falls out and you can go tackle your day with happily un-impaled feet.

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Put that down and pick me up.

Hello, my name is Brian and I’m an addict, a technology addict.  There isn’t a minute of the day that I’m not far from my computer, my cell phone, the television, or my iPod. I still get plenty done around the house, but it’s not without the occasional interruption to look at my Twitter feed, browse Facebook, or check my blog. It’s become second nature to me to do and I hadn’t realized how bad it had gotten.

Ignore this and pay attention to ME!

Ignore this and pay attention to ME!

It’s hard to recognize how addicted to something you are until you have to go for any length of time without it, and that’s exactly what happened. Yesterday my wife dared me to go a day without any electronics at all. She didn’t think I could do it, but I’m just stubborn enough that I took her up on the challenge.

I left my iPod in the bedroom (I’d fallen asleep listening to it), put to the cell phone on the fireplace mantle, didn’t turn on the TV, and made a conscious decision to ignore the computer.

Turns out it was a real struggle for me. On more than one occasion the boys did something adorable and I found myself looking around for the cell so that I could tweet about it, or dash over to the computer so I could jot down a few quick notes for a future blog post. Even though I hadn’t touched the computer all day, it still chimed every few minutes when there was a new post on my Facebook feed. I’m proud to say I was strong, and I fought back the urges to give in. My devices stayed ignored, my email unanswered, my tweets unchecked, and my feeds unread. Sure, it helped that Kat was there and would know if I cheated, but I was too stubborn admit defeat anyway.

The day was a success. I hate to admit it, but my wife was right. I did get more done being “unplugged” than when I was distracted by all my electronics. The boys also had a lot more fun knowing that they had their Dad’s undivided attention. The only downside of this challenge is that now I can’t help having a twinge of guilt whenever I am on this computer or checking my cell phone. I suppose that was the whole point of this experiment, recognizing my addiction for what it is and being more aware of how I’m spending my time.

I'm so much happier when you aren't playing with this.

Hey Daddy, I’m so much happier when you aren’t playing with this.

I may still be hooked on electronics, but I’ll try to learn from this and limit my time spent online. There are much more important things to interact with around here anyways. Their names are “Zack” & “Josh”.

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