Love Affair

When you think of the world’s greatest love affairs, who comes to mind? Romeo and Juliet? Napoleon and Josephine? Cinderella and her prince? History and literature, heck even childrens’ fairy tales, are full of epic romances. But surely none is so pure or true as the love affair between my daughter and Elmo.

I can’t speak for Elmo, but for my daughter, it was love at first sight. It started when she was about a year old with Elmo’s First Book of Colors. There was something about that little red monster that caught her eye. Weeks later, on a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, she became instantly enamored with Tickle Me Elmo who, mercifully, stayed at Grandma’s house. (In case you’re not familiar with Tickle Me Elmo, he giggles and talks when you squeeze his tummy. It’s mildly annoying the first 1000 times you hear “Oh boy, that tickles!” after which point you’re thinking this toy should really be named Throttle Me Elmo.) Anyway, after we left Grandma’s my daughter would latch onto any and every Elmo she saw, regardless of where we were or who it belonged to.

Thankfully, not long thereafter my friend gave my daughter a little stuffed Elmo that she could claim as her own. She dragged that little guy everywhere. She would pretend she was feeding him, pretend he was sleeping, pretend he was clapping, pretend he was reading. It was the cutest thing. The intensity of her devotion was something to behold.

The day she stuffed Elmo between a cabinet and the wall was the day I started taking pictures. At first I just wanted to show my husband some of the funny places she would stash Elmo throughout the day. The only problem was that she rarely left him anywhere long enough for me to grab my camera and snap a photo. Soon it became a quest to get a photo before she took off, Elmo in tow.

The day she sat Elmo on the back of the toilet—not on the tank but on that little part between the lid and the tank—was the day I put my camera down (and wretched). Though our bathroom is quite clean, it is not a place I like her to be, ever. Nevertheless, on this particular day I was brushing my teeth when she toddled in after me.

I was brushing away and I could hear her behind me repeating something. I didn’t think much of it at first but eventually her words broke through my early morning fog: “Brush Elmo hair. Brush Elmo hair.” What’s that now? I turned around and there she was rubbing Elmo with the toilet brush. Noooooo! GROSS! Tumble me Elmo, into the washing machine you go.

I suppose my daughter was around 18 months old when her love affair with Elmo peaked. She’s now two. Twenty-six months to be exact. I hadn’t noticed that her passion for Elmo had faded until about a week or so ago. I had put her down for a nap and she asked for Elmo. It was purely a stall tactic but it hit me that it had been some time, months even, since she had carried him around or stashed him anywhere. Longer, since I had taken any Elmo photos.

When I went in to get her up from her nap I was delighted to see she had wedged Elmo between the crib and the wall. “Look at Elmo hanging!” she exclaimed with glee. I ran to get my camera, but by the time I returned Elmo had been tossed aside, out of the crib and onto the floor.

Though she no longer has little Elmo by her side every second of the day and night, she is still enamored with most things Elmo. Sesame Street videos, in particular, she can’t get enough of.

It makes me sad to think her first love isn’t going to last forever. I’ve become fond of the little monster and I’m not ready to see him go. At least we’ll always have these photos to remember him by.

 I couldn’t resist including this series of GiGi at her friend’s house with an appropriated Elmo.

I’d like to dedicate this blog to my parents (the same grandparents with Tickle Me Elmo) who have been married 49 years today. Happy anniversary mom and dad!

[…] jabber incessantly about McQueen and Mader. They’re as infatuated with those little guys as our daughter was with Elmo. But I […]

[…] jabber incessantly about McQueen and Mader. They’re as infatuated with those little guys as our daughter is with Elmo. But I […]

Give ‘er the Gun!

When I sing to my two-year-old daughter I sing songs like You are My Sunshine, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and B-I-N-G-O. I might break into a not-so-hot rendition of Jack Johnson or even Bruno Mars (as seen on Sesame Street) but for the most part I stick to what you might expect—regular kid songs. My husband, on the other hand, sings this:

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At ‘em boys, give ‘er the gun! (Give ‘er the gun!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force!

The best part is that our daughter actually sings along. With gusto. She doesn’t miss a beat. To our many military friends I’d like to know, is this normal? Do you do this too?

Regardless, September 18th marks the Air Force’s birthday so today we belted out a few rounds in honor of the men and women who currently serve (my husband included), and those who have served since its inception. Happy 65th Birthday U.S. Air Force!

I took this photo of the Thunderbirds on September 19, 2009 at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii.

BobCerwin - September 19, 2012 - 1:40 pm

I hate to be a stick in the mud but I don’t want Gigi to learn the wrong words!

At the time that song was sung, it was called the Army Air Corps! There was no US Air Force

JulieAnn - September 20, 2012 - 3:33 pm

I’d say it’s normal! Our 2 year old knows the Coast Guard song :) Plus, she can point out mooring lines, davits, and other nautical things when she sees them ;)

Cynthia Roelle - September 23, 2012 - 2:44 am

Ha! You mean to say back in your day, right Grandpa?!

Cynthia Roelle - September 23, 2012 - 2:46 am

That’s awesome! I for sure don’t know what a davit is.


I can almost always coax a smile out of even the most reluctant child but I’ve never had to chase one down to do it. This mischievous little boy was full of smiles but wasn’t about to give them up without making me work for them. He was on the move. Places to go and people to meet.

His parents managed to snag him long enough to get some great family shots, and even a few of him looking directly at the camera. But it didn’t last long and then he was off again. Beat feet. Vamoose.

I was tempted to post all of my favorite photos from this shoot but, lest you think I exaggerate, I decided to go with just these.

Hide & Seek

My daughter loves to play hide and seek. Or hide anyway. She’s not too fond of seeking, but the hiding part she loves. You can count to ten before you seek or you can count to 100. She’s not coming out for anything. Seriously, if I was pressed to get something done without interruption all I would have to do is ask her if she wanted to play hide and seek. After the two seconds it would take her to hide I’d have the afternoon to myself.

She’s the polar opposite of her twin cousins, who jump out shrieking “Here I am!” and fall over in a fit of giggles before you can count to three. I envision losing her in a store some day only to find her hiding after a 2-hour frantic search.

Where she could use a little work is in the actual hiding department. She will hide in the same place 10 times in a row. Or she will push you away to “seek” as she steps back into the hiding place where you just found her. She thinks if she can’t see you, you can’t see her. She will hide in plain sight with her face pressed into a corner, though, to her credit, she’s usually behind a door. The best is when she hides against a wall. She turns her head to one side to make herself flat and, apparently, invisible.

This is where she chose to hide the other night. That’s my baby, on our bed. My husband and I stood over her shaking our heads and trying our best to contain our laughter. Once we managed to compose ourselves he slowly counted to ten before commencing the seeking. At some point I realized I had ample time to get my phone from the kitchen and snap a few photos. I probably had time to get out my camera but I loved this photo so much I didn’t bother. I couldn’t imagine anything sweeter.

4thFest & Fireworks

There’s nothing more American than celebrating independence day with festivities and fireworks. But let’s face it: Not all fireworks displays are created equal. When you think of awesome pyrotechnic displays it’s the big cities that come to mind. Boston probably tops the list, followed by Washington D.C. and of course New York City. From Philadelphia to San Francisco, Chicago to Honolulu, big cities = fireworks bonanza.

Turns out though, that my hometown of State College, Pennsylvania has one of the top rated fireworks displays in the country. That’s right, Happy Valley, with a population of only 40-something-thousand, edges out the big cities with its 4thFest celebration.

The 4thFest fireworks display was ranked the third largest, biggest and best annual Fourth of July fireworks in the United States by “Fireworks Guide” (whatever that is) and the Discovery Travel Channel called the 4thFest fireworks “one of the best fireworks displays in the world.

What? Why? How could this be? Well, it just so happens that State College is also hometown to Pyrotechnics Management, Inc., the company that pioneered the world’s most advanced digital fireworks firing and choreography system.

Just some more random holiday trivia that has nothing to do with photography. In case you’re wondering about the fireworks photo, it’s actually a digital photograph (which I took today) of a photo I took years ago with (if you can believe it) a film camera. Not too shabby.

Wherever you may be celebrating this 4th of July, I hope the festivities are fabulous and the fireworks spectacular.