22 Months and the Best Father’s Day Weekend EVER!

Dear Jasper,

Saturday you turned 22 months!  It was also father’s day weekend and I think that we had the best weekend we’ve ever had together.. Saturday we went to your pop-pop’s family picnic in Pennsylvania, they have it every Summer but the last time we went you were still in mommy’s tummy, and on the way home we had to go to the emergency room because you were causing trouble (again. )

This time around it was much more fun. In fact, I think perhaps this party was designed with you in mind. It had ALL of your favorite things, starting with spending all afternoon in the pool with mommy and daddy:

Your favorite thing to do in the pool was sit on the raft and call it your boat (or “moat” as you refer to it!) and use a shovel as a paddle.

Then, you discovered perhaps the best party treat ever for a teething toddler: Make your own snowcones!  There was a big block of ice with a scoop that had an ice shaver on the back.  You didn’t even need the flavored syrups that were supposed to go with it, you just snacked on ice the whole day long and I bet your poor swollen gums never felt better:

And there were tons of other little cousins to play with..

And even the Mummers came to play music!

As if it wasn’t perfect enough, we then discovered a big barrel full of your favorite yellow whiffle bats and next to that, a whole grassy area full of bubbles and wands!

You were getting pretty good at blowing them yourself, and you also enjoyed watching  your older cousins at work:

A cupcake ended the whole wonderful day, and you were all hopped up on sugar just in time to get in the car to ride home. But you eventually did fall asleep, just like you did on the way there (for a whole two hours!)  All in all, I don’t think it could have gone better or been any more fun.

That is, until the next day (Father’s day) rolled around and we spent the morning at the Bergen County Zoo! You were soooo excited because as we were getting ready to go we told you we were going to the zoo to see animals.  All morning you kept asking for the animals, even waking up from a snooze in your carseat on the way there saying “animals!”

When we arrived, you barely knew what to look at first, from the mountain lions to the monkeys, to the cows, sheeps, pigs, buffalo – it was toddler heaven.

You impressed me so much when you saw the Golden Lion Tamarins (Red lion monkeys) pointed and said “lion!”  You knew just what they looked like.  You also loved the alligators. It look a while for you to spot them, they were all laying on top of eachother, blending in with the mottled background. But when you finally did make them out, you pointed and said “cuddling!” which they indeed were (you also pointed and said “in there!” because you kept wanting to go IN the displays with the animals – not such a good plan little guy.)

Every display was exciting to look at, but the most interactive was the budgie aviary.  We bought a feeding stick and walked inside and instantly a colorful little budgie landed right on the stick:

You were curious and a little cautious, telling daddy to get the birds but then wanting them to go “in there” back away when they got too close! But it was that excited kind of scared and I think we will have many more visits back to see the budgies..

The last thing we saw was a big field with some moose and buffalo!  Here you are looking out onto the field with Daddy:

Even leaving is fun, because the last thing you can do is go for a little train ride around the whole zoo!  You loved the choo choo and kept telling it to go faster.

As if that weren’t enough, on the way back to the car is a carousel:

It was the perfect end to the perfect father’s day morning, I think we will make it a family tradition to go to the zoo for every father’s day.

By the time we left it was getting hot and we were all quite flushed and tired, and we entrusted ourselves to the GPS to find the nearest diner to stop for lunch.  I tell you this because it was perhaps the world’s busiest diner and we had to wait for at least 45 minutes before the food came out.  And during all of that waiting, you sat in the high chair patiently… usually I fully anticipate melt down within 5 minutes or less! I was so proud of you.

And then, later that night – perhaps the most exciting event of all: you peed in your potty!!!!!  In typical Jasper fashion you did it YOUR way, which is standing up (ugh!) until we finally forced you to turn around and sit down.  The best part was that you were soooooo proud of yourself that you didn’t want it to end.. you would pee and then say “more!” and keep pushing until a few more drops came out.  I guess all of our cheering was probably a good incentive – potty training has officially begun!

This was a milestone weekend in so many ways, we traveled, we ate, we played and we had fun, not DESPITE you, but WITH you.. I think this ushers in a whole new era of our lives, one that I am so excited to share with you.

Love,

Your mommy.

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Crystal says:

I’m not sure what about your post it was, but at the end I found I had tears in my eyes. Our 19month old is like Jasper in many ways, and hearing you recount your wonderful weekend in such detail was fantastic, and your love for him is so apparent. Thank you for sharing!

ariana says:

Thanks everyone, I hope you all had wonderful weekends as well!

@carolyn, wow, thanks! It’s always been one of my favorite songs that I wrote, but it was never properly recorded.. wrote it at the end of my musician days :(

To answer your question, it depends on what you mean by “easy to use camera!” If you mean point and shoot, then I would say no, because part of what makes a good portrait is the blurry background, which is nearly impossible to achieve without having control over your aperture, focal length etc. These things are possible in SOME point and shoots, but if you are going to delve into the settings of the point and shoot that deeply you might as well get a DLSR and learn how to use that :) The other thing is that the lenses make a big difference and you can’t switch lenses on a point and shoot.

But I would submit that it isn’t hard to learn how to use a DSLR, at least well enough to take better pictures than a point and shoot (shoot in automatic mode at first and then wean yourself into manual mode!)

Your pictures are amazing! Is it possible to take photos like that with a regular, easy to use camera? Ours is terrible and I’m missing out on some priceless moments.

Enjoyed your song “I won’t let you go”

Cathy Mahoney says:

I have to totally agree with Dawn and Fiona,that having fun with our children is a priceless experience. And also for me your blog and photos are so inspiring that I want my own blog now! And I love your photos -they all have a certain athmosphere that is simply exciting and touching!

plus you will see the older Jasper gets the easier it is and the more you can do with him! Also for the dads it becomes easier to find a connection-fe mark went to the golf range with Kilian and they both had fun or he plays a tablesoccer match with Dylan and you can hear them yell, laugh and high five :O) So there is more to come!

Pamela says:

I loved reading your post. So glad you all had such a great weekend! Great pictures too!

Alison says:

I, too, love that transition to having fun because the toddler is there with us, not despite his presence. It’s a magical age, isn’t it!?

Fiona says:

Wonderful, Ariana! I am so glad you three had such an amazing time. I love watching Jasper grow up…and doesn’t he look grown up now?

My baby girl is 7 months old yesterday, and you and your blog tell me all the wonderful things I have to look forward to with her.

Thank you for sharing your life with us. And thank you for sharing your photography with us too. You have inspired me.

Fiona x

kari says:

I love this post!
What a fabulous day :)
It sounds perfect in every way.
Happy Birthday Jasper!!!

Dawn says:

What a beautiful post of a fabulous weekend! I’m so glad you all enjoyed yourselves! Thanks for the heart warming and reminder that we are supposed to have fun with our kids, not in spite of them!