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Sick Little Boy and Toy Story

On Sunday, Peter wasn't feeling well, which is pretty rare for him.  He took a really long nap, and when he woke up all he wanted to do was sit and watch TV (which was fine with me since he wasn't feeling well).  None of his usual plethora of Thomas, Spongebob, Elmo, or Dora seemed to satisfy him, so I decided to see if he wanted to try something new. I pulled out the Toy Story (the original) DVD, showed him the cover, and asked him if he wanted to watch it. He said "yeah", so I popped it in. Instead of him sitting on his little Elmo couch, he climbed up on the big couch and wanted to snuggle with me under the blanket.  We watched about 45 minutes before he was done (and the Advil kicked in so he wanted to play again), but he actually enjoyed it. It was fun to teach him the names of the characters, and see him go "uh-oh" when Woody was knocked off the bed.

In any case, he's feeling better now, but Leif grabbed a photo of that first Toy Story moment.

Watching Toy Story for the First Time

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Evening ER Visit With Peter

Wednesday night I was getting Peter ready for bed. He started down the stairs (he goes down feet first on his stomach) like he normally does, got to the landing, and started to stand up, lost his balance, and banged his head pretty hard on the corner of the staircase.  He started screaming, and a big goose egg started forming. We honestly weren't sure what to do or how bad it was, so figured we'd go to the ER and hopefully wouldn't be there that long.

It felt like awhile, but in reality it was only about an hour total.  Once we got into a room, the nurse offered Peter a toy which he happily started playing with, so at that point we knew he was ok.  The doctor (also a parent), gave us some tips and info on head injuries, and we left knowing more than we had.

The swelling on the bump went down overnight, so now just looks like a mark with a bruise. 

As Leif said he was always hurt as a kid, I suspect we'll be at the ER more in the future...

Bump on the head

My Cheese-y Boy

This is my cheesy boy:

My "cheese"y boy

You can't tell him if you're taking a photo or not now, because if you do, he does his funny "Cheese" face.  This isn't something he picked up from us, I'm suspecting daycare.

In any case, on Christmas Day, we went to the Sunspot Lodge at Winter Park for dinner.  While waiting in the warm lift building for the gondola, Peter shedded his hat, gloves, and jacket, and sat in a chair at a table for 6.  A couple minutes later, a group of Japanese girls (high school or early college I'd say) came in and sat down at the table with him.  He waved and said "hi" to all of them, and they said "hi" back, while smiling at him. When we had to leave to go get dinner, Peter flashed his winning smile, said "bye" to all of them, and they all insisted on getting a high five from him as they laughed at his cuteness.

He's already a ladies man.  Big sigh from Mom.

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Things I've Learned From Photographing a Toddler

With my whole new foray into the world of photography, I thought it would be fun to try and shoot Peter's 2-year photos myself. I mean, there's nothing wrong with a Sears, or Kiddie Kandids (well, except the latter screwed over all their customers and employees when they closed their doors and wouldn't give people the stuff they ordered, and then reopened later with different employees, but I digress...), and there's definitely nothing wrong with paying a professional to take kickass photos, but it's something I really wanted to do myself.

I mean, how better to learn, right?

The first thing with shooting a toddler, is that you really need another person.  It doesn't matter that I'm his mom.  He's constantly on the go, never staying in one place more than a couple of seconds.  I needed someone else there (Leif, in this instance), to distract him, make him laugh, whatever, so I could set up for the next shot.

The second thing I learned, is to shoot on continuous mode. When you think you've got a decent shot, hold down the shutter, and take a few. In most cases, a bunch will be blurry, he won't be doing what you want him to, but since all you need is that one, good shot, the more you have, the more chance you have at getting something worthwhile.

The third thing I learned, is to let him do his thing. Telling a 2 year old to "look at the camera" not only doesn't work, but if it does, he does this weird "CHEESE" thing (I didn't teach him that, I think he got that from school). Just ignore him, follow him around, and always be ready to snap the shutter.

The fourth thing I learned, which I knew already from observing him for the past 2 years, is to shoot his good photos in the morning when he's at his freshest.  Shooting something in the evening is extremely dicey because he may be in a good mood, he may not be.  In the morning, he's always in a good mood (as long as he's feeling ok).

I was initially planning on doing all his photos indoors in my new little studio, but one day last week I looked outside behind the house, and noticed that the big area of trees was still all pretty and yellow with their fall colors, and I realized I had to get him out there. The area is pretty close to the side of a road (hence another reason you want a second person with you), but we got lucky enough that with daylight savings time, he got up Monday morning at 6:30 (7:30 old time), so we had some time to work with before having to take him to school.  After getting him dressed and ready, all 3 of us headed out behind the house, and just let Peter do his thing. Every once in awhile I'd call his name to try and get his attention, but he was having fun stomping in the leaves, and looking at the trees.  All in all, we were only out there for about 10 minutes. These are my 2 favorite shots:

Playing in the woods

 and: 

Fall photo

Not to be content with that, I still did want to get some in-studio shots. Yesterday morning we were waiting at home for some friends to arrive (Peter wasn't at school so he could play with their kids), and I figured that was as good a time as any to try this out.  5 minutes downstairs with him sitting on a little stool, and this came out:

Peter

All of the photos were post-processed in PhotoTools, and I used PhotoFrame on the border for the last one, as well as a PhotoBacks background.  He's looking at Leif who's blowing raspberries or something.

I have a few more photos I want to take with him, especially on a white seamless background, but if this is all I get for his 2 year photos, then I'm happy with my progress.

As always, I still have a ways to go before I feel like I know what I'm doing, but in order to get there, I just have to keep practicing!

Peter and the Pumpkins

Today we went to Cottonwood Farms to get some pumpkins, check out the farm animals, go through the hay maze, and take a hay ride. While the weather was drizzly and chilly, it still was fun. We got plenty of photos, which led me to this comparison.

The first photo was taken October 18, 2009. The second one was taken today, October 10, 2010. It's amazing how much different he looks in a year. He went from being a baby, to being a toddler in one fell swoop.

Presented without further comment.

At the Pumpkin Patch

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Trains and Fall and Pumpkins (oh my!)

Lots of photos this weekend! While I've learned in the past that it's really hard to set up for photos when I've got Peter with me, I've also learned to just suck it up and bring my camera with me when I take him somewhere, just in case I get a chance to take some shots.

First up, Pumpkin Fest! We got there right when it started, and skipped getting pumpkins. The line for the pumpkins was HUGE, and I figured that a) It was only October 2nd, so plenty of time, and plenty of places to get pumpkins, and b) there were virtually no lines for anything else, so why not do all that stuff? We were the first on the hay ride, and ended up being able to go twice because people were in the long pumpkin line, did the bouncy slide, petting zoo, saw the firetruck (Peter got his fireman's hat), and wandered around checking everything out. They did have a little "family photo area" where you could pose your child, so somehow managed to do that. I really didn't like the lighting, but didn't have much choice. :)

Posing

Sunday we went to the Colorado Railroad Museum. WOW!! This place is so freakin' sweet, and much bigger than I thought. So many trains to wander around and see, and some of them you can go inside. I really want to go back when I don't have Peter with me to take some photos, but I did end up getting my favorite weekend photo while he was playing around in the gravel.

Vintage engine

I used one of Matt Kloskowski's Lightroom presets (the Vintage one) for this shot, and love how it turned out.

However, I do need to share another photo I got that I love - Peter walking down the railroad tracks.

Walking Down the Tracks

And finally, I'm taking a class over at Big Picture Classes called Picture Fall, where you get an email prompt everyday, and you have to take a fall related photo dealing with that prompt. So far, I'm 4/4 on photos, which is a new record for me. I took this one yesterday for the "things you see outside but never think of photographing" prompt of the start of the neighbor's firewood pile.

Start of the firewood pile

Peter and His Cousin

When we took Peter to his 18 month appointment in June, they said he was 50% in weight, and 75% in height. So I knew he was tall (he's one of the tallest in his daycare class), but didn't really realize how big he looked until we put him next to his little cousin, Riley, a few weeks ago. She's about 6 months younger than him. The funny thing is, is that he was only 10% for head size, and I thought he had a big head, so that kind of amused me. No further comments needed on this.

With cousin Riley

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It's Been 1 Year

It's so hard for me to believe that my little boy is a year old today. Last year at this time I was in the hospital waiting for his birth, and wondering what it all was going to bring. It's been a challenging year, but a fantastic one as well. I love my little guy more than anything and can't imagine life without him.

I'm taking Meg's idea, and doing a photo collage.

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Birth
This is his standard look so far. :)
Month 1
Making funny faces
Month 2

Kiddie Kandids photo
Month 3

Really happy baby
Month 4

Holding his head up high
Month 5
Youth Gone Wild
Month 6
Peter at Kiddie Kandids
Month 7
Hanging out at the Arvada Goldstrike Festival
Month 8
Enjoying a wagon ride
Month 9

9 month photos
Month 10

At the Pumpkin Patch
Month 11

Yoda at Heritage Square
Month 12

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1 Year!
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A Real Family Dinner

For a few months now, Peter has been working on eating table food. It started with Cheerios, and has progressed to other things. Now that he's 10 months old, I figured finally we need to work to try and get him slightly onto our dinner schedule so we can have dinner as a family. There's a few problems with that though. 1) Ever since he's been 3 months old, he's eaten a large bottle right before bedtime, and 2) He likes eating table food, and is great at picking it up, but since he got his 2 front teeth in a few weeks ago he tries to chew everything in front and most of it ends up on his bib/the floor.

In any case, Leif and I are pretty tired of eating dinner after he goes to sleep (sometimes we eat as late as 8pm), which gives us less evening free time, so tonight we decided to change that up and eat around 6:30 and have Peter at the table with us. It worked out much better than I thought it would. Well, Peter ate what I put on his highchair tray, but yeah, most of it which made it to his mouth, ended up making it out of his mouth pretty quickly. But he seemed to like it, so we'll just have to keep working on it, and hope he figures this out soon.

I felt like a real family though tonight, remembering eating dinner with my parents and my brother. I'm guessing all too soon I'll be asking Peter how school was and he'll say "fine".

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And Just Like That

I was watching Peter play yesterday, and it just struck me how he doesn't look like a baby anymore, he looks like a little boy. I'm not sure when the change took place exactly, but he's 10 months old today, and growing up. He's crawling like a maniac all over the place, pulls himself to standing on anything he possibly can, will walk when you hold his hands (in that jerky, unbalanced, large step way), loves to feed himself (although he can't hold a spoon yet), his top 2 teeth both broke the surface, and is very happy. We're both excited about what's to come in the future, and there are aspects of him being a baby we'll miss (like when we could put him down and have him stay there!), but we can't wait to interact even more with him.

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