Capture the Fun, Not the Pose

There is a time and a place for posed pictures.  I take lots of posed pictures.  But don't limit the pictures of your kids to just perfectly posed portraits.  You will miss the fun and miss the memories.

What do I mean by that?  Rachel and I were playing at a park while her big brother was at a hockey lesson.  She decided to play hide and seek.  I tried oh so hard to find her but eventually she had to give away her hiding place.  

I love that I captured her expressions that seem to say, "Oh mom!  Surely you knew where I was!" and then "That was fun!  Let's do it again!"

I caught those two pics with a quick shot from my cell phone then I went back to playing.  I love those pictures 100 times more than if I had her pose with a fake smile in front of that tree.  Those pictures captured the fun we were having and will remind me of that fun morning with her each time I look at them.

Rachel and I were each exploring the area and I called to her when it was time to go.  She came running across the bridge and I saw her pretty hair shining in the sunlight so I caught this quick picture.  Look at the happiness on her face!  That isn't from a boring posed picture.  This picture is alive with movement and joy.

Finally, when I commented to her about having taken some cute pictures of her, she decided that she wanted to pose for me to take her picture.  She came up with the location and pose and this is what I snapped.

It's a cute picture on a bridge with some nice trees in the background but it is sterile to me.  There are no special memories attached to this picture and it doesn't let my daughter's personality shine through.

Keep this in mind next time you are taking pictures of your loved ones.  You have to take the obligatory posed picture from time to time but remember that candid and unposed pictures are so much more rich with life.

CAF Wings Over Dallas WWII Airshow

Nicholas loves planes and he wants to get his pilot's license so I try to take him to every aviation-related event I can.  A friend told me about this great air show hosted by the Commemorative Air Force called Wings Over Dallas: WWII Airshow.  The first day of the show is on a Friday and that is their "Education Day".  On Education Day, students and teachers get free admission so we grabbed a couple of friends and went to check it out.  Here is the gang in front of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress called "Texas Raiders".

There was an entire hangar of booths set up with interactive activities specifically for kids.

We saw impressive scale models of planes.

Including this interactive air craft carrier....

Each of the kids got to take their turn trying to land the plane on the Flight Deck!  Check out this video below of Rachel coming in for a landing.

The girls were given some foam flyers to play with and keep.

Nicholas and I checked out a few booths for aviation-related schools.

We all enjoyed this impressive diorama of WWII.  It was really huge!  It spanned over several tables.  

The girls and I spent some time learning about the importance of women in WWII and we learned about the WASP or the "Women Air Force Service Pilots".  I didn't realize it but the WASP museum is rather close to here.  We will have to be sure to visit it in person.

They followed plans and built several different types of paper airplanes that really flew.

We learned about Rosie the Riveter and how women were encouraged to learn to be pilots, mechanics, and help in the war behind the scenes.  We learned about some of the tools an aircraft mechanic might use.

The girls learned about the importance of safety wire and how to install it as an extra precaution for keeping airplane bolts from loosening.  We watched as this lady used a cool set of wire twisting pliers which automatically twist the safety wire just perfectly.  I didn't a video of her demonstration but I found a video HERE that demonstrates it.

The girls seemed rather interested in the mechanical side of aviation but what was really amazing is that later when we were out looking at planes, Rachel's friend quickly spotted safety wire in use in a plane's engine.  I was so impressed!

We learned about a few forms of communication used during WWII.  We tapped out our names in Morse Code.

And Rachel studied how a manual typewriter works.  She was completely enamored by it and she even wants one of her own! Seriously, she has added it to her Christmas wish list!

The kids got the chance to sit in real helicopter.

Once we had seen everything in the education hangar we wandered around outside.  It was neat to see the Living History site which had simulated WWII camps set up outside complete with military vehicles.

An old fire truck.

My favorite part of the show was the Normandy Showcase which re-enacted the D-Day invasion on Normandy and included a parachute drop with jumpers using authentic WWII equipment.

We saw several famous planes including "That's All Brother", the C-47 that led the other planes into Normandy and was the first to drop paratroopers into battle, a maneuver which changed the course of the war.  We also saw This plane Nicholas is standing behind in the picture below is a C-35 named "D-Day Doll".
The kids had each been given a fidget spinner toy at one of the educational booths.  They figured out that they could hold the fidget spinners behind a plane and the prop wash would make them spin on their own!  What a creative way to play with them!

If you are interested in learning more about the CAF, check out the Commemorative Air Force website but also follow them on the Commemorative Air Force Facebook page.  I have learned a lot about these beautiful planes just from the short posts they make there.

The Birthday Girl Got Her Ears Pierced {LaLobe Dallas}

Rachel has been wanting to get her ears pierced for several years.  I always just brushed it off and said, "Maybe when you turn 10."  I never really thought it through or talked to Stuart about it.  It was just something to say to get her to stop begging me at the moment.  

…..Then she turned 10.

I asked for some recommendations for where to take her to get her ears pierced.  Some said to call her pediatrician's office.  Not all pediatrician offices will pierce ears.  I called Rachel's pediatrician and they do pierce ears for active patients.  However, she hasn't been seriously sick in a long time and we haven't had any concerns about her health so we haven't taken her to well exams in a few years so they no longer have her as an active patient.  I didn't realize that she was no longer active and I did ask for the lady to double check with her supervisor but they still refused to do it because she wasn't active.

I got my ears pierced when I was about Rachel's age.  I remember my mom took me to my pediatrician's office.  The nurse used a piercing gun which was spring-loaded to force the sharp-pointed earring into my ear lobe to make the pierce.  The first pierce was my right ear and it went great.  It felt like just a little pinch.  For the left ear, she pierced it with the piercing gun but the gun wouldn't release.  She tried to pull the sides apart but she couldn't.  She had to go get help and left the piercing gun hanging on my ear lobe!  That was painful.  Fortunately my mom quickly held it up until the nurse came back with help.  Eventually the two of them were able to pull and tug to get it to release.  My ear piercings turned out fine but I did have a lot of pain and even an infection on that left ear.  

Now that was probably 35 years ago so technology on those piercing guns has surely improved since then.  However, I did a little research and learned that the piercing gun is not the best way to pierce an ear.  The preferred way is to use a needle.  This allows for greater control on the placement and angle of the pierce.  It also allows for a more sterile environment because they use a single-use sterilized needle rather than a plastic piercing gun that can't be thoroughly
sterilized.  Also I would prefer to have a piercing done with someone who is trained specifically in piercing the body and does nothing but piercing as compared to somewhere like Claire's that mainly sells inexpensive jewelry and toys and happens to also do ear piercings by someone who may have just started working there two weeks ago.  Ok, maybe I'm being a little harsh on Claire's but I did call our local Claire's to ask about ear piercing and the girl I spoke to sounded like she could have been Rachel's age and she was a little too bubbly for me to take seriously.

For ear piercings with a needle, several moms have used tattoo parlors because they typically do body piercings as well.  It sounds shocking at first but think about it.  These shops have strict sterilization regulations that they must follow and the artists there usually take a lot of pride in their work and many have studied the human body, circulation, etc. in order to provide the best canvas for their work and the best experience for their customers.  Stuart was a little hesitant when I first mentioned a tattoo parlor but we both agreed that it would be fine.  However, Little Bit didn't like the idea and I completely understand that a tattoo parlor might make the already scary experience even more intimidating for a child.  So I did some research and found LaLobe in Dallas.

LaLobe is a dedicated ear piercing salon that specializes in working with children.  And they use a needle instead of a piercing gun!  Perfect!  They prefer appointments but they also accept walk-ins.

They charge $39 for the ear piercing if you purchase earrings from them.  If you bring your own then the charge for ear piercing is $57.00.  They require that the first earrings used are 14K gold.  I got Rachel some opal birthstone earrings for her birthday but they are 10K gold so I let her browse their selection of earrings.  

October actually has two birthstones - opal and pink tourmaline.  Rachel thought it would wonderful to buy the pink tourmaline earrings for her first pair so she could have both of her birthstones.  But at $165 I had to say no.  I steered her to the basic $54.00 14K stud earrings. She was ok with this but she mentioned something about earrings on her Christmas wish list.  *sigh*

While I was signing some paperwork, Rachel watched two teenage girls get their ears pierced.  They made a big deal of acting scared before hand so I was a little worried about Rachel getting more scared but they calmed down once they were in the chair and neither of them cried when they actually got the piercing.  I think that helped her see that it wasn't too bad.  However, she looked very nervous as she waited for her turn.

To comfort her Rachel brought a squishy toy that she could squeeze if she needed to and of course she brought Pink Baby too.  She has had Pink Baby since she was an infant and it always comforts her when she gets upset.

The wait was short and it was time for Rachel to get in the chair.  She was so nervous but managed to give me a smile.  

They first measure and mark on the ear lobe where the piercing will go.  Then they use a specially designed "tong" to hold the ear lobe in place.  There is a hole in the tongs that they line up with the marking on the ear lobe.  They use a freeze spray on the ear lobe to numb it and then insert the needle.  Once they remove the needle they put in the earring.  She isn't supposed to remove those earrings for 4 weeks.

She was a little bit more relaxed on the second ear lobe but she still wasn't having fun.  She was brave though and I was so proud of her.

Rachel is so excited to have her ears pierced and Genesis at LaLobe did a great job with talking to her about the whole process and helping her to stay calm.

After care:  She had to turn the earrings every hour with clean hands just to help keep the skin from scabbing over the earrings.  After the first day, she just turns them 3-5 times a day and cleans them with a special anti-septic.  The cost of her ear piercing includes a follow up appointment at LaLobe in 4 weeks where they will check the healing process.  

Fall 2018 Family Campout

We go on a family campout with our American Heritage Girls and Trail Life USA friends every fall and spring.  We have usually done tent camping with sleeping bags and all.  However, when they moved the campout location from Bonham State Park to Possum Kingdom State Park and we discovered that there are cabins for rent at this location we had to try it out.

Call it "Glamping" if you must but we like it!  No more worries about wind blowing over our tent in the middle of the night.

There is a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and an extra bed with trundle in the living area.  There is a lot of space which is great when the kids have friends come over and hang out with them.

Or sometimes they just hang out on the porch!

But usually they are too busy running around playing games or going hiking to hang out at our site.

I love our campouts because it lets me spend the weekend with my family without the need to do laundry, school planning, etc.  I get to hang out in nature which is just good for my spirit and my soul.  This was the view of the lake by our cabin.

Stuart and I went on a short hike along the trails. What beautiful weather we had!

I love going on adventures with this man!  We wandered off the trail a little way and found some huge boulders and some interesting plant life under the canopy of the trees that was very different from what we saw out on the open trails.

Back at the cabin, this beautiful monarch butterfly enjoyed hanging out on our window screen for a while.

Rachel and her Explorer troop found this mama wolf spider with an egg sac.

They also found a fish skeleton!

This interesting guy was found on the outer wall of our cabin.  He was beautiful but we didn't know what it was so we researched it.  He is a plume moth.  They roll up their wings while they are resting during the day.  I would have loved to have seen his wings spread out.

Of course, there are always creepy crawlies to be found at a campout!

Nicholas has been studying fungi in his biology class so we got excited to find this fungus growing on the side of an old tree stump....

And this crazy looking puffball fungi that had already burst open to release its spores into the air.

This weekend was Rachel's birthday so she asked to have shrimp for dinner.  She got a big bowl all for herself.  She loves all kinds of seafood.

The rest of us had a more traditional camping meal of burgers cooked on the outdoor grill.

There is always a dutch oven dessert contest after dinner.  Everyone gets a sample of each dessert and then we get to vote on the best one!  

We always look forward to nightfall at campouts because the moms and dads gather around the campfire to listen to music and visit with each other while they kids run around like banshees in the dark.