our analog christmas

I remember being so amazed when my then 15-month-old son slid his dad’s iPhone on, went through his games, found a field goal game and scored a few before we even knew what hit us. A year and a half later, I have to pry electronics away from his tiny little kung-fu grip.

This Christmas we’ve decided to go old-school: nothing digital, no screens, no batteries. We’re looking at active toys that spur imagination, inspire creative play and encourage problem solving so our son can have opportunities to create his play world.

And so begins my obsession with Melissa & Doug.

I love the learning mats (they work wonders when you go out to eat or have a restless toddler waiting for dinner).

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally a play kitchen that isn’t mandatory Pepto-pink!  FYI– Boys dig kitchens, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My son loves these travel games. He gets his memory-game fix without being on the iPad (iPhone, iPod, etc. etc.)

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who knew these would still be cool 20 years later? Apparently, our parents were on to something.

My toddler and baby are entertained for hours by building blocks.The best part? I’m not worried about BPA or cell phone radiation.

before they were my parents, they were awesome.

When I was a kid, my mom leaned in, looked me in the eye and spoke these genius words of wisdom that I’ll never forget, “Before I was a mom, I was a person.”

That really struck me, even at a young age. You see, I always held my mom up on this towering pedestal because, in my eyes, she was perfect. I loved her so much, I wanted to be with her every second and when she wanted some *gasp* time alone, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Looking back, I can see how a single mom of two (who often worked two jobs and struggled to make ends meet) really needed some alone time, some girl time, some wine time, some time to just feel like the person she was before the responsibilities weighed so heavy on her shoulders.

Those few simple words put it all into perspective for me. She wasn’t just my mom. She was a person, she was a friend, she was a daughter, she had ambitions . . . she was human. And by the way, even before she was my mom, she was awesome. Which brings me to my latest online obsession, the website My Parents Were Awesome.

The photos on this site speak volumes. Our parents had eyes filled with hope, with love, with naiveté. They were cool, they rebelled, they pushed boundaries, they weren’t jaded by some of life’s harsh realities (yet). They dove in, they blasted their music, they ran, they dreamed, they took risks. They loved, they laughed . . . they were human.

My parents drove classic cars. They cruised. My dad rigged a record player in his car, my mom threw on her scarf, and they were awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom had the perfect bangs, the perfect a-line dress and the waist of a Barbie doll the day she was married. My dad had a full head of stand-up-and-take-notice hair. Awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom had a carefree attitude (that I envy to this day), she was independent and had the most infectious laugh. She still does. Also awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you become a parent your whole world really does get flipped upside down. Sometimes we feel like our old selves are buried beneath diapers and toys and the baby-proofed furniture that used to be our newlywed home (that we swore would never look like Romper Room but, of course, now could be its body-double). But  My Parents Were Awesome and my mom’s words will always remind me that no matter how much more I relate to being a mom with every day that passes, I was a person long before I was a parent. There are many things I’ll look back on and be proud of. There are some things I’d rather hide (who dressed me in the 90s, anyway?). And along the way I’ve collected many, many photos that document it all.

Hopefully my kids will look back one day and think that, long ago, I was also awesome.

 

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