Locket Full of Sunshine

Every day for the first year of Connor’s life, I jotted a little note in a calendar we had made with pictures of him as a newborn. (Well, not EVERY day – I started when he was a few weeks old and we had the calendar done, but you get the idea.) I noted what we had done that day, his firsts, what he had started eating – all the usual new-mom stuff. We took lots of pictures too, and at that point my husband was still using our real camera. Of course when Ethan was born things were different.

Ethan, as loved as he is, has suffered the second-child baby-book fate. I think I actually got a baby book for him, but I couldn’t tell you where it is and I’m pretty sure there’s not much in it. Like his brother though, he does have a special keepsake box where I put things I want to save – pictures he draws, his boarding pass from his first flight, a snip of hair from his first haircut.

I love those boxes and will continue pulling them down from the top shelves of the boys’ closets to add to their contents (even if, in the end, I’m the only one who will appreciate the memories they bring back). But I haven’t been very good at doing anything with pictures and the day-to-day memories (which, thanks to iPhones, we have a lot of). Until now.

I’ve been using the Locket app, which I really like. I wasn’t sure if I would, since so many memory-capturing solutions seem to be great in theory but not so easy to use in practice. Locket lets you collect photo, audio, video and written memories and then presents them as an e-timeline or a photo book.

Here’s part of Ethan’s photo book. In this timeframe alone, he’s gone from his second birthday to having a Star Wars movie night with the big kids.

Locket photobook page5

Locket photobook page4

Some of those are just pictures I’ve taken and added to Locket later, and some of them are based on prompts in cards in the system.

Locket sample card

They’re based on yours kids’ ages, so the ones for Ethan are appropriate for toddlers, while the ones that pop up for Connor have more options. Here are a few pages from Connor’s photo book.

Locket photobook page3

We played with the questions one day and he loved answering them and seeing the book about him come together.

Locket photobook page2

Locket photobook page1

Locket photobook page6

I appreciate an app with personality, and Locket includes little messages along the bottom or while saving new content that make me smile (“Did you take time for yourself today? Just curious.” or “1000 figurative words being saved.”) as well as tips for taking photos and videos.

If you’re trying to figure out how to collect memories for your kids and electronically save all those masterpieces they bring home from school, Locket is definitely one to check out. And it’s free!

Locket home screen

The usual disclosure: I am part of the Timewyse Locket blogger program with Mom Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Explore: Life in Pictures, Vol. 6

The end of 2013 whipped by. Last time I did a photo update on my word for last year we were finishing summer and transitioning into kindergarten and I was getting ready to go back to work. And now it’s 2014. January 7 already. Before I know it May will be here again and the snow will be gone and 2013 will seem very far away. So here’s the end of the year in pictures.

I didn’t do much in the way of exploring, at least not in the traditional sense. But we hit some milestones and had some fun, and I guess that’s what it’s supposed to be about anyway.

Someone turned one.

eating-cake

You would think he didn’t like his birthday cake.

cake-ick

But you’d be wrong. He devoured that piece.

cake-bite

It was a good birthday. The last first.

birthday-paper

Christmas came even though I wasn’t ready, as predicted.

Christmas-cards

It was fairly low-key – a rare thing in my family. But we did the obligatory (and enjoyable) things. Now I just need to clear the detritus from my living room. (I did mention that it’s January 7, didn’t I?)

zoolights

We had a cold snap in there too. A very, very cold snap. Did you know you could get ice an inch thick on the inside of your windows? In Alberta you can.

ice-window

But winter is beautiful. At least I think so.

winter-sun

So we took advantage of it.

green-coats

We walked, and found signs of beauty and love.

bridge-locks

Winter lasts for a long time here, but sometimes you just have to throw yourself into it and become one with the snow. (Literally, even.)

sledding

He looks like he’s not enjoying himself (or maybe he just thinks the hat is goofy) but he had a blast. Deep snow is apparently quite fun when you’re one.

snowsuit

We had some losses…

lost-tooth

…but many more wins.

sunset

And so ended 2013.

#iPPP is back for 2014! Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

Finding Magic

You won’t often find me blogging about work—I try to keep some space between work and blogging, and there’s not much I could (or would) say that would be of much interest to anyone else—but yesterday was a pretty cool day.

For months now we’ve been working towards a big announcement and one that I knew would be pretty cool. But I really didn’t imagine how cool. You see, I work for an airline and we’ve done something as part of our partnership with Disney. It looks like this:

magicplane

I knew what the design entailed but I hadn’t actually seen it, because I wanted to keep something a surprise. So when I went into our hangar this morning in time to catch the last rehearsal of the big reveal I was pretty excited. We ran through speeches and introduced Mickey Mouse and played the video…and then the curtain dropped. It just… I mean, it looks SO cool.

The team responsible for the event did a really good job. The lighting and music made for a really fun atmosphere, and Disney provided the crowd with Mickey ears that light up in sync with elements of the show. When they changed from random colours on the heads around the room to coordinated colours I was reminded of why Disney has the market on magic firmly in their corner.

Mickey-ears

There was a huge curtain covering half the hangar and at the end of the presentation it dropped. It was totally a goosebumpy moment.

reveal

So why am I sharing this with you? Because this working-mom-of-two gig is hard – way harder than I imagined it would be. I’m struggling with it – the hours, the commute, the normal, corporate-job frustrations. We all have them, and I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe this is just how it is when our kids are small.

tail

But I had a moment of magic at work yesterday, and it was nice, and needed.

I know not everyone has Mickey Mouse visit them at work, but I bet we all have a source of magic in our lives if only we take the time to look for it.

with-Mickey

What’s yours?

 

I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

First Day of Kindergarten

Connor had kindergarten orientation yesterday, just half an hour with three other kids. Parents stayed, they did a scavenger hunt to learn about their classroom, and his teacher gave the parents a gift – a Kleenex (to dry our tears) and a tea bag (to have a calm cup of tea after dropping them off for their first day), along with a lovely note about entrusting our kids to her for the year.

Connor loved it. He was excited about school and he really likes his teacher.

Today was the first official day – the day he got dropped off and changed his shoes and then hung his own backpack and sweater on his hook. The day he went to sit at his desk, in a group with three other kids, and got to see what school will be like for the coming year.

This morning he went in happily but came out a little overwhelmed. I can imagine; I don’t think I was especially keen on throwing myself into a classroom with a bunch of other five-year-olds either. (I was shy but cute.)

But he will be fine. He’ll be great, actually. And us? We probably won’t need the Kleenex (though certainly have an appreciation for a calming cup of tea).

Kindergarten has begun.

first day of kindergarten picture

Explore: Life in Pictures, Vol. 4

Alternatively titled: How to Make a Thursday Feel Like a Saturday

We had an adventure last week. The exploring kind. More for me, I guess, since we went somewhere I hadn’t been before that Rich had (and he has the scar to remember it by). It was somewhere I’ve wanted to go since we moved here and now that we’ve been I have no idea why we didn’t go sooner. It’s a town not all that far from here that’s best known for its dinosaurs. The real kind, and, as it turns out, the kind people put on signs to make the most of the millions-of-years-old tourist attraction dinosaurs create.

I figured it would be fun to go, and a dinosaur-themed day was sure to be a hit with Connor. Rich suggested a couple of other stops along the way and, like any good explorer, I was game.

And, oh, was it a good day.

Here, then, is how to make a Thursday feel like a Saturday. It’s really not hard at all.

 

1. Put your kids in the car and drive for an hour and a half until the landscape looks like something from another planet.

hoodoos3

2. Climb up high.

at-hoodoos

3. Take the opportunity to admire the view and get some perspective.

Hoodoos-above

4. (If you do it on the day your baby gets his first tooth, you end up with a sad little dinosaur.)

Ethan-hoodoos

5. But he’s a good sport about it, so play with him anyway.

rich-ethan-hoodoos

5. Find the world’s largest dinosaur.

biggest-dinosaur

5. Climb into its mouth. (Resist the urge to add to your four-year-old’s terror over the situation by making loud roaring noises.)

T-rex-mouth

5. Decide to see what happens if you take the aforementioned scaredy-cat child to a museum with actual dinosaurs.

tyrrell

6. Clarify that the dinosaurs aren’t really real, because the four-year-old thinks real means alive and he seems convinced that the Tyrannosaurus is going to eat him. (Secretly think he’s lucky he’s behaving well that day, otherwise you might have been tempted to see if T-Rex wanted a nibble.) Then measure him next to a dinosaur’s foot (but don’t point out that the dinosaur could crush with one toe any small boys who throw things at their little brothers).

height-dinosaur

7. Watch your boys draw. Smile.

drawing-Tyrrell

8. Then get up close and personal with a wooly mammoth (without the wool).

mammoth

9. Head back out and find some dirt to play in.

dinosaurs-mud

10. Ponder life and the elements and the meaning of time in the context of evidence of the millennia that created amazing things.

Hoodoos

11. Be grateful you live in a place that offers such diversions close enough to do them as day trips with your kids.

Hoodoos-landscape

12. Finish exploring and hit the highway so you’re home in time for dinner.

Hoodoos-landscape2

But stop for ice cream first.

GFunkified