Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quality Time

According to the authors of The Five Love Languages of Children, a child has a primary love language. It may be physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts or acts of service. As parents we have, over time, discovered that our Sprouts' primary love language is quality time.

This has been very evident this week while Nana and Pop have been visiting us. As soon as they arrived (after their long drive north from Southwestern Ontario), the Sprouts ran out the door (in their socks!) to give big welcoming hugs.  This morning the Sprouts were downstairs in record time for breakfast ("Are Nana and Pop awake yet?").  While eating, FK and Pop discussed the moon's elliptical orbit.  This afternoon JK ran all the way from daycare to the school so that we could get in the car to go home and be with Nana and Pop (and Charlie, their dog). JK never runs from the daycare to the school.  Usually he wants to splish and splash in every puddle he can find, as little boys do. Every waking moment so far the Sprouts have been spending quality time with their grandparents.  They absolutely adore their Nana and Pop.

Picture this (after dinner): Nana curled up on the couch with JK reading stories. Pop and FK huddled over a laptop, trying to figure out how to convert a file into a readable format for FK's Kindle (of which there are now three in our immediate family, and four in the house as Pop has one, too).

And now, giggles and laughter from JK's bedroom as a bedtime story Pop reads to JK comes to life in only the way Pop can do it.
Magical moments. We could get used to this...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Flash Forward

This morning I had a flash forward moment.  It happened as a result of a comment my daughter made over breakfast.  We were listening to Classical 96 FM, a radio station in Toronto (we can only stream music over the internet in the early hours of the day), when FK remarked that she would like to live again in Toronto.  I said that it wasn't possible right now, but when she's old enough to live on her own, maybe FK could move there.  She said, "Ok, but not until after I'm married."


The flash forward moment was an image of me walking my daughter down the aisle.  I'm not sure if I will be ever ready for that moment.  Like most fathers, I imagine, I will always see my daughter as my little girl.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I was puttering away, taking photos for my monthly photo project with my DIY light box (I made one today inspired by a similar project here), when I looked up and out the kitchen window and saw the fox.  I let the family know it was in the vicinity, quickly changed lenses (macro to 70-300mm), checked my camera settings, put on my boots, and went outside.  The next fifteen minutes were bliss.  I had always wanted to capture a photograph of a red fox, especially with snow as a background.  Out of the numberous shots I took one or two were ok, but it was worth it to follow the fox around and practice shooting such a beautiful creature.  I love March break and being able to take the time to do this!

Monthly Photo Project: Primary Colours

Sunday, March 13, 2011


there was no excuse.

they should not have been
on the floor of the closet,
(though not forgotten).

i pulled them on,
laced them up,
stepped outside

and my shoes
realized once again
their purpose:

to run.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Monthly Photo Project: Primary Colours

I was all set to photograph a toy dragon in my son's room when I discovered, to my dismay, that green is not a primary colour.  When I put together an art lesson on colour for my students as part of an assignment to frame their wordles, I learned that the primary colours are red, blue and yellow.  Sigh.  And no IKEA yet in Winnipeg.  So, this week I went back to the drawing board (so to speak) to come up with some new ideas for this month's project.  Below are the first three of hopefully many pics to come:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Around the World

"I don't know if I could give up eleven years of my life to do that," remarked one of my students.  My students had just finished reading a current events article from LesPlan entitled "Walking Around the World".  In August 2000, Jean Beliveau left his home in Montreal and began an eleven year journey walking around the world.  He is on the last leg of his walk on his way home to Montreal, somewhere past Kamloops, B.C. at the writing of this post. The article initiated a wonderful class-wide discussion, first with a focus on inferring (a reading comprehension strategy), then moving into other areas of discussion, including the positive aspects and hardships that one would experience when undertaking this kind of journey.  I also encourage my students to make connections with any readings we do in class (another comprehension strategy; one student mentioned Terry Fox as someone who took on a similar type of journey), so we went online to Beliveau's website to check out photos and virtual maps of his trip. 

After exploring the website, my students and I talked about how exciting it would be to take a trip like this.  I told them that many other people have travelled around the world, with greater or lesser sucess, and sometimes even come up with a "gimmick" to showcase their journey.  One such video that came to mind, and which my class enjoyed watching immensely,was the following:

Saturday, March 5, 2011


If there is anything I've learned as an amateur photographer, it's that you should think like a Boy Scout: Always Be Prepared.  The plan yesterday was to go to town, visit the dentist (a three hour family visit), stop at the library, eat supper, pick up a few groceries, and head back home.  However, the Sprouts convinced us to stay for the local fireworks display which was part of the town's Winter Carnival festivities.  I was unprepared for this shoot.  I love taking pictures of fireworks, but it has been awhile since I last shot any, and I had forgotten many of the things needed to take half decent pictures.  Also, I was fumbling around in the dark setting up the shoot, hooking up my cable release and so on.  And in winter, always wear warm clothes (I knew I should have brought my snowpants!).  There were different kinds of fireworks, high and low, so finding a focal length became increasingly difficult.  Most of the pics ended up being too far away, and in two of the pics below, the fireworks are cropped because I wasn't using a wide enough focal length.  Sigh.  However, it was good practice, and the Sprouts enjoyed playing in the snow, making new friends and watching the fireworks display.

Some things to think about shooting fireworks:
  1. Aperture: I find shooting between f/5.6 and f/11 works well.
  2. ISO: always the lowest setting.  Because your shutter is open for a few seconds, and the sky is black, a lot of digital noise happens at higher ISO's.
  3. Use a cable release and a tripod.  If you don't you will have blurry pictures.
  4. Shoot in BULB mode.  I use a cable release and count anywhere from 4 to 11 seconds. 
  5. Shoot, adjust focal length to fit in fireworks, shoot again.  Shoot lots!
  6. Figure out which way the wind is blowing. You want to be aware of where the smoke from the fireworks will end up so it doesn't end up in your photos.

Picture This

Setting: Boston Pizza
Time: late afternoon, after an exhausting 3 hour family visit at the dentist

JK reaches for his napkin, spreads it across his face, under his nose and covering his mouth, and says, "Look at me!  I'm a dentist!"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Family Quote of the Day

On our way home from school and daycare, JK was asked who his teacher was today.  The response: "I don't know her name.  She was a pretend teacher."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mama is the Best Mama Ever!

The Sprouts discovered the notes shortly after we came home this afternoon.  EK has a two day professional development workshop in Ktown for the K-5 teachers, so is staying overnight, all expenses paid.  Before she left for town this morning, and after the Sprouts and I left for school and daycare, EK put up a number of post-it notes with messages on them for the Sprouts.  "Papa, come here!  Look at this!" were the excited calls from upstairs.  I could hear the sounds of exploring feet above my head in the kitchen, searching children a on post-it note treasure hunt.  When I went to look, huge smiles on both faces, with the knowledge that their Mama loves them a lot.  JK, of course, looking for the notes with his name and proudly pointing it out (he now reads his name and an odd assortment of other words).

And before bedtime tonight, FK quietly proclaimed, as she always does, "Mama is the best mama ever!"

Yes, she is.