Archive for January, 2010

Humpday, Jan. 27, 2010

January 26, 2010

A few tidbits to get us through the week …

Today is a big day.

Our youngest son, Hugh, is two years old today.

It’s a big day for two reasons.

One, because it fills me with pride to see him growing so, and becoming his own person.

And two, because it scares, stresses, worries and frustrates me to see him growing so, and becoming his own person.

Today makes it official; the stubbornness of the terrible two’s has arrived.

So naturally, we’ll address them in the jumps today.

  • Terrible Twos and Your Toddler [ … To help you cope with this normal stage in your child’s development, you should always remember that your child isn’t trying to be defiant or rebellious on purpose. He is just trying to express his growing independence …]
  • Raising Good Children: From Birth through the Teenage Years I mentioned this book in a previous set of jumps, and am including it here again because it is hands down one of the best parenting tools I own. As one reviewer put it: “… It has sound philosophical teachings and specific advice that is appropriate to every age and stage. It combines the fields of Child Development and Psychology with morality and good common sense to lend the reader a practical guide.” It’s very readable.
  • Dealing with Temper Tantrums Q: My 25 month-old son throws temper tantrums at the worst possible times, like in the grocery store (which happened to me yesterday). What do I do? I’m so embarrassed!

But – thankfully, as I mentioned before, the second time around is not so bad really. Sure, It’s challenging. But not as much as with our first son. The second time around, I’m able to enjoy it a bit more, alot of the time from behind the lens. Here’s a slide show Kumi put together of his first two years. Enjoy it with us, won’t you?

Happy Birthday, Kiddo!


Photo Website launched … families first

January 24, 2010

I finally took the good advice of many families, friends and On Fatherhood readers. As of early last week, I launched the family-oriented Luke Pinneo Photography.

For those of you who wonder, “Hey … where did the commercially-sheened Luke Pinneo Photography site go?” I can tell you it’s being completely revamped, with galleries of new images and a professional writing portfolio being incorporated into it.

And as 99.9 percent of my photo mentors, and nearly all of the great seasoned photography gurus have always said: Find subject matter you can relate to.

So I’ve decided to really focus on families; bringing them together, encouraging them to have fun … and to smile.

I’ve always been a pushover for a good experience. More than that, I find the best experiences are the ones we give. Which is why as you’ll see on the Website, I’ve really concentrated on providing a fun and stress-free experience for families while creating cheerful pictures of them.

I mean after all, nobody wants more stress today.

Though most agree they like nice pictures of their family.

But besides making pictures, I’ve discovered  something really special happens while photographing families.

They’re on location at the beach or park.

They’re all dressed up. They look great.

It’s almost like a movie.

We’ve planned the day in advance so there’s no rush. No tension.

And for that morning, afternoon or evening – they’re all together.

They’re smiling. They’re happy.

They’re enjoying a rare family moment they might not have had otherwise.

And they’re having a good time.

At that point, the pictures make themselves.

I might need to add some light here or there, or change a lens, but nothing’s forced. It’s all very natural.

When Dad smiles at Mom or the teenage son cracks a genuine smile; these are real moments – and we’re making pictures out of them.

And for me, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world being invited into their lives for just a time, long enough to help them preserve it.

So if you get a chance, feel free to check out the gallery. And I hope you’ll think of me if you or anyone you know is thinking about having their photographs taken.

It would be alot of fun. I promise.

Humpday, Jan 20, 2010

January 20, 2010

A few tidbits to get us through the week …

In fact, now with the holidays behind us and months of grey winter in front of us, I’ve included a few links to help get us through more than just a week …

Thus begins the battle against the winter blues.

There comes a time, usually around this time of year, when no amount of Blue Ray or  Guitar Hero can cheer us up.

Of course, if we took the time to learn to play a real guitar, that’d be a different story. Then we could harness the blues, and channel them – like the 11 year old kid in the video below.

But in the meantime, here’s some activities, food and ancient wisdom to help ward off the seasonal doldrums.

  • Activities to Beat the Winter Blues – [ … As the short days and long nights of winter roll into Febraury, both parents and kids can start to feel bored by the old standbys for family entertainment …]
  • Food to Best the Winter Blues [ … Of the nearly two thirds of U.S. adults surveyed, 64 percent agree that they are filled with greater joy soaking up the summer sun, then bundling up in winter coats. Although the science is still relatively new, research has begun to reveal how mindful eaters can choose their fuel to help achieve or maintain a desired mental state.  Our moods are linked to the production or use of certain brain chemicals …]
  • Feng Shui to Beat the Winter Blues – [ … Winter’s colder temperatures and longer evenings bring the blues to many sun-worshippers. Fortunately, feng shui can mitigate the more chilling effects of the season. Even better, it can also accentuate the many positive aspects of winter …]

Enjoy the jumps! Come back and see us when you can …

In Memory: Martin Luther King Jr. 1929 – 1968

January 17, 2010

A Change is Gonna Come

Humpday, Jan. 13, 2010

January 12, 2010

A few tidbits to get us through the week …

There’s alot of chatter these days about health care. Moreover, most folks are saying our current system needs an overhaul.

I agree.

All this talk about the future of health care makes me think of my kids. I hope that for the better part of their lives, they’ll not have to depend on someone else for their health and well being. I hope that with a healthy diet, good hygiene and ample exercise, they’ll be free of most ailments and will have little if no face time with doctors, excepting for the usual checkups.

I thought the video below, as told by a group of kids, reflects some of the biggest problems of the American health care system today. And we dropped some links in at the bottom, to help keep families on the track toward healthy independence.

  • Sesame Street has a whole page devoted to exactly what I’m talking about here! They have downloads and videos, including one with the First Lady, aimed helping kids establish easy and fun health regimens to keep them going strong.
  • Free Food and Nutrition Printables – Kids, parents, and teachers can enjoy free printables for kids from Nourish Interactive- The Fun Way to Learn About Nutrition!  Just ‘click to print’ educational and fun activity worksheets: matching, crossword puzzles, word searches, family nutrition tip sheets, kids coloring printables, and more.
  • KidsHealth is the #1 most-visited website for children’s health and development. They break it down, with info-packed tabs for “parents,” “kids” and “teens.”

Enjoy the jumps! Come back and see us when you can …

Change your ways, change a diaper

January 10, 2010

I changed our two-year old son’s diaper Saturday.

No sweat. Piece of cake.

Easiest thing I’ve ever done.

OK, maybe that’s a stretch, but really, as I marveled at the ease of it all, I had a flashback of how nearly impossible the same task was with our older son when he was that age.

And although the boys are as different as night and day, I think the biggest change the second time around is in me.

With the first son, everything – whether eating, changing diapers, going to bed – everything ended up being a battle of wills and patience.

A battle I rarely, if ever, won.

When he needed his diaper changed, he’d protest. So began the routine: I’d chase him around the house, get him, and hold him down with one hand while trying to to unfurl a baby wipe with the other. All the while, he’d kick and laugh or cry and scream and make a mess.

I’d yell and eventually we’d both end up pretty sour over the whole ordeal.

It was this way with every diaper.

I, like so many first-time dads, began to loath the thought of changing him. Each time I’d see him with that, “I’m-gonna-have-a-big-one-here-in-a-minute.” face, I’d feel my back muscles tighten with stress.

Thankfully, no storm lasts forever, and eventually he grew out of diapers.

The thing I’ve learned with our second child, that I wished I knew with our first, is that kids are, well, more easily tricked than forced and a little distraction does what no amount of force can. It gets the job done easily.

Now, more than two years later, moments before changing the little brother’s diaper, rather than preparing for a wrestling match, I’m thinking, “Let’s see … what do I have laying around here that will distract him long enough for me to get him into a fresh set of Huggies?”

Saturday morning, it was as simple as a plastic case from a camcorder cassette tape on a nearby shelf. I got his attention, opened and closed the plastic case a few times to show him what it does, and walked over and handed it to him in the living room.

He started to examine it like a lab technician.

As he did, I laid him down slowly and without a struggle, I had his diaper changed before he even knew what happened.

Getting the cassette case back … well that’s a different story.

HumpDay, Jan. 6, 2010

January 6, 2010

A few tidbits to get us through the week …

Enjoy the jumps! Come back and see us when you can …

Do you believe in happy endings?

January 3, 2010

My wife and I spend Friday nights snuggled up on the sofa enjoying the latest that Netflix sends us. We call it “movie night.” This week, although a little behind the times, we took in Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories. In boiled-down sense, it is a story about believing in happy endings.

As I watch, it reminded me of some of the wild tales I’ve conjured up for my son, Philo, at bedtime and the parenting power that stories hold.

We’ve always read books to Philo at bedtime, but I often tell him a made-up story if he’s been really good. Or, when he was younger, about three-years old, I’d tell him stories when he was really bad.

Kids are really receptive to stories. Messages are more easily carried on the wings of a great story.

And that’s why I made up “Milo.” A boy who’s name was similar to my son’s. Only Milo was a very, very good boy. And, by design, he was a good role model for a three-year.

So anytime Philo was stuck in a cycle of misbehaving, or if we wanted to help his developmental growth – say, to get him to pick up his toys without us asking – I’d tell him a story about Milo.

Here’s how it started.

“Milo, was four (a year older than my son) and he was always trying to do his best. Sometimes, he didn’t want to do his jobs, but he knew how proud his mommy and daddy would be if he picked up all of his blocks and didn’t fuss before bathtime. And that’s why every night, when his mommy would say, “Ok, Milo, time for your bath, Milo would go right to his job, picking up all the toys in the living room. And when he quickly finished, his mommy and daddy were so proud of him that they each gave him a giant hug and sweet kiss. So proud of himself, Milo marched right down the hall without any fuss to take his bath.”

You know what? It worked like a charm.

After previous weeks of  bath-time tantrums, one story changed the whole game. You can image my relief and pride when the next night, as my wife said, “OK Philo – bathtime,” he perked up and enthusiastically announced, “I’m gonna clean all my toys up first … just like Milo!”

And he did. I couldn’t believe it.

Of course, as life is no fairly tale, there’d be other parental challenges ahead. But we had a major breakthrough and thus, propaganda story night became a regular occurrence at our house.

As he got older, I’d tell him adventure stories about people in trouble somewhere in the world, and I’d always cast him as the hero, Captain Philo. Each story I’d make up, I tried to outdo the last. One night, he’d be in a dense jungle on an Indiana Jones-style quest. The next, he’d be shrunk down to the size of an ant in a far-away land of giants.

Captain Philo spent alot of time in space and at sea surrounded by strange beasts.

He loved it.

Each time, when the other characters had lost all hope, Captain Philo would make a grand entrance. Trumpets sounded. Sunlight broke through the clouds and would-be victims cheered.

And my boy, nestled safely in his bed, would beam with pride as an older, stronger version of himself would brave dangers a’plenty to save those in peril or do good in the world.

And much like the Bedtime Stories my wife and I watched the other night, the tales I tell my son have a grander overarching theme:

Believe in happy endings.

Because there’s a strange force at work in our lives. I may never be able to put my finger on it, but it’s true of life, I’m sure: we get what we expect.

I hope my kids, throughout their whole lives, will expect that if they’re brave, if they strive to help others, and if they seek approval of those who care about them, then good things will happen to them in the end.