Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Different Kind of Valentine

A couple of Februaries ago, a tree branch stood on a bookcase in our living room. Little red and pink hearts, on white ribbon swung from it. It was a Valentines Day decoration, of course. But it was something a bit more than just colored hearts and ribbon.

Each heart had a message on it. They were love notes for the whole family. Encouraging words, thoughts of thankfulness and simply things we liked about each other. In a few minutes time, we could remind one another of the special love we share. A love that is bigger than candy conversation hearts and boxes of chocolate (although those things are quite nice too).

You can incorporate this idea into your own family's celebration of Valentines Day. A simple tree branch can be found in your yard, or bought at a florist shop. Just make sure it has plenty of space to hang your hearts.

The notes can be hung every day for each member of the family, or you could choose one person each day to shower with love. Because they are small, these notes can also be easily saved for years to come as a special reminder of Valentines Day that year. You can even put them in that shoe box your child decorated to keep all his valentines in. Or if space is an issue, a Ziploc bag will work fine. The most important thing is remembering those special words you shared with one another.

We'd love to see your tree and hear about how your family added this idea to your Valentines Day celebrations.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Giving Gifts

Photograph by: Lynn Johnson

Words of wisdom from Mister Rogers:

"If you like to make things out of wood, or sew, or dance, or style people's hair, or dream up stories and act them out, or play the trumpet, or jump rope, whatever you really love to do, and you love that in front of your children, that's going to be a far more important gift than anything you could ever give them wrapped up in a box with ribbons. And what's more: the last thing in the world you have to be is perfect at it. It's the spirit that gives that kind of gift its wings."

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Judy Dodgen, Mom of the Year

Motherhood is often a thankless job. If you are looking for a way to honor your mom, or a mom you know this weekend, get her on the national news, thanked by President Obama, and envied by Angelina Jolie. Check out the video of Mother of the Year, Judy Dodgen, or go to momsrising.org and "nominate" your favorite mom.

Thanks to Jana for passing this on!

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Pretty in Pink

It only took a day or two after bringing Ella home, that I learned how different life with a girl was going to be. When Ethan was a baby, he mostly wore white onesies and a pair of pants, with only the occasional matching shirt/pant set. But with Ella, much of the clothing has come in matched sets that include a hat, dress, diaper cover, socks and sometimes shoes, and almost all of it is pink.

I have nothing against pink, but I had no idea there were so many shades of it, and none of them seem to match. I might as well just put a shirt on her that says, "my color-blind, styleless dad dressed me," because even though I can find pink socks, a pink diaper cover and a pink dress, the shades and pattern inevitably clash. Granted, complex color and style combinations has never been a strong suit of mine, which is part of why I choose to photograph in beautiful black and white. Almost everything matches in black and white.

Here's a recent photograph of Ella, and big brother, Ethan.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Summer Adventure

Looking for some adventure with your kids this summer, check out 101 Places You Gotta See Before You're 12!. The thing I like about this book is that it encourages curiosity, a sense of adventure and civic awareness, all without spending a lot of money on travel expenses, since most of the must see places are general enough that you can find them close to home.

Adventures include visiting an elected official's office, an artists studio, a marvel of engineering, a parent's office, a wildlife refuge, a landfill and the teacher's lounge.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

There are many ways to say I love you

There are many ways to say I love you,
There are many ways to say I care about you.
Many ways, many ways, many ways to say, I love you.

There's the cooking way to say I love you,
There's the cooking something someone really likes to eat.
The cooking way, the cooking way, the cooking way to say, I love you...

In this simple song, Mister Rogers talks about a few of the things parents and children can do to show their love for each other.

I sing it to myself when I am performing some of the more mundane (or challenging tasks) of parenting, and am reminded why I am doing them. You can easily substitute nearly any parenting chore - "there's the changing diapers way to say I love you", "there's the driving you to soccer practice way to say I love you", "there's the disciplining you way to say I love you", "there's the potty training way to say I love you", "there's the spending time with you way to say I love you", "there's the packing your lunch way to say I love you."

While photographing at Great Beginnings preschool last year, I was fortunate to spot the scene above, demonstrating the care with which the teachers set out the children's lunches each day and the love of the mom who packed one with a special note.

Here is a link to the song, with slightly different lyrics than the CD version.

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