Trains, Trees & Traditions

I know, I know. The alliteration has to stop. I can’t help it. The keyboard made me do it. If it makes you think any better of me, I did delete several extremely corny puns before publishing this post. So it could have been a lot worse.

Anyway... we kicked off our holiday season a bit early this year with one of our newly instituted (and likely to be the long-time favorite) traditions---setting up the model train. We knew Caed would be the ever enthusiastic engineer, but didn’t realize how enthralled Dani would be. You can see from the video clip that she was eager to play the role of conductor. However, she might need to brush up a bit on her locomotive lingo, as she repeatedly insisted that the Caboose was a Boat.

The kids stayed up to the wee hours of the evening (past 8:00!) to help set up the train and play with Daddy, and they loved every minute. So the next morning Caed woke up, ran downstairs and into the family room, and then came screeching back into the office where Daddy was working. “Where’s the Christmas tree? I thought it would be here by now because it is Christmas time!” he shouted.

As nice as it would be for the tree to magically appear in the house, lighted and perfectly decorated, we explained that going to cut down our special Christmas tree is next on our list of holiday traditions. That is, after we celebrate Thanksgiving. We did get a little ahead of ourselves this year, didn’t we?

So I’ve been doing some pondering about holiday traditions, how to create meaningful memories, how to impart our beliefs about what Christmas is all about, and how to make it “magical” for our kids without getting lost in the materialistic mindset. I’d love ideas from all of you out there about what things you do to make the season special. So in the spirit of giving, how ‘bout you leave me a comment, and share some of your special holiday traditions?


I better post this straight away!

This evening, as we were driving home from school, Caed informed me, “I am so, so, so, so hungry, and that means you need to make me dinner STRAIGHT AWAY.” Not sure when my easy-going American preschooler morphed into a demanding British bloke. I suppose I mustn’t ever underestimate the influence of our imaginary friends in the U.K., namely, Thomas and Fireman Sam.
Also of note, Caed is proudly sporting a flight jacket that Will (the neighbor boy who lives across the street from our old house) gave him before we left Alexandria. He wanted me to get a picture of him in it so we could show Will what a big boy he is now that he lives in Maine. So here’s an internet shout out to Will (and the entire Bayliss Drive bunch)! We miss you guys!


And the caption reads...

“Hey Dani. Let’s conspire against Mom and refuse to look at the camera and smile at the same time.”
The pictures that follow are even further proof that there are some things better left to the professionals.

As luck would have it, a coupon for a free portrait sitting just arrived in the mail. I am taking it as a sign (in conjunction with the 53 not-so-happy holiday photos just downloaded from my camera) that I should get professional help at long last. I’m talking about the Christmas card photo. What did you think I meant?

And just for kicks, here’s the photo that turned out the best:
And this one would have been okay too, if not for the “props” (the blanket and her toy radio) that I couldn’t get Dani to put down:

Finally, to give you a taste of why the still-life shots were not so still, here’s a video clip from the photo shoot, in which Caed randomly obsesses about doing the crab walk and Dani staunchly refuses to put down her blanket.


Flying High

Nothing captures the father and daughter bond like a toss-up into the sky. Dani’s head is in the clouds and Daddy’s heart is in her hands. By comparison, the two of them could make a Hallmark commercial look like a downer C-SPAN hearing.


Happy Halloween!

I must apologize in advance to the grandparents. We traveled up to Camden for trick-or-treating (so Dad could participate), and of all things, I forgot the camera. It was a double-whammy because that Friday was an unbelievably beautiful day in central coast Maine, with abundant autumn hues, clear blue skies, and about a hundred picturesque posing points. If I had a dime for every time I thought “that would be a great picture”, I’d have enough to buy a new camera.
The kids did seem to enjoy the trick-or-treat experience on what is purported to be the best street for trick-or-treat in the state of Maine. However, Larry and I would probably not endorse this location quite as enthusiastically. The street was so packed it was chaotic. At one point, I think I counted 5 spiderman impersonators in a 15 foot radius. I was relieved when Caed asked to take his mask off, so I could keep better track of my super hero.
So these pictures are admittedly post-Halloween, and you’ll note they refused to put down their toy phones for the photo shoot. Spiderman insisted he was manning the emergency dispatch. And the butterfly, well she was probably waiting for a text about the raging monarch party going down at the botanical gardens.

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