When Christmas {Train} Comes to Town

Like most toddler boys, Little Lion Man is obsessed with trains.  Although when my oldest daughter was his age, she loved trains too.  In fact, because she loved Thomas and trains so much, we saw The Polar Express in the cinema when she was close to his age, however, she was a timid toddler and a few of the scenes frightened her.

But it didn’t frighten my Little Lion Man.  He hollered out, “Whoa!” when he watched the Polar Express cascade down the mountainside like a roller coaster.

Since Little Lion Man loves locomotives, we boarded the 7 ½ gauge CP&G Railroad at Crews Lakes Wilderness Park for a ride on the Christmas Train to the “North Pole”.  When Little Lion Man spotted the little engine chugging down the track, he had a similar reaction to The Polar Express. “Whoa!  Mama, it’s a train!”

Winding along tracks through the woods, reminded me of a similar train in England years ago.  On that train ride long ago, Allana met my friend, Suzie, her mum and Father Christmas.

But I digress.

Over the track and through the woods to Santa Claus we go went, but Little Lion Man wanted nothing to do with the big man in red.  He preferred to watch the trains arriving at the station.

After a quick photo opportunity and an even quicker word with Santa to remind him of the toys to bring, we were back on our way home.

At the end of the day, that little train ride brought a great deal of joy to one little boy.

And the rest of us had fun too. 

Merry Christmas!

What Christmas music is moving you this season?

Visit Xmas Dolly and Jade Louise Designs for more Music Monday.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+


Fishing and Catching Critters

My girls love fishing.

I love watching them.

It tickles me that they enjoy fishing in sun dresses.

Sometimes Dad and Little Lion Man will join them.

But LLM is better at collecting water than catching fish, which is very important…

…especially when the catch of the day becomes a temporary pet.

*No fish were harmed in the making of this Summer Daze post.  All fish were released back into the wild.*

Summer Daze Fun Photo Party
Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Fireworks and Lights

Like everyone else in America on Independence Day (July 4th), I obsessively tried to capture photos of fireworks.  After reading Naptime Momtog’s tutorial, I set my camera appropriately…except I failed to use a tripod.

I was too busy taking photos of the kids and our street performance.

Every time a bomb burst in the air, I would quickly spin myself in the general direction, click and hope for the best, sometimes only catching the tail end of the fireworks.

As a result, my firework photos have a slight swirly burred effect to them.

At least the photos of the kids with their sparklers came out really cool…

…and I don’t fear photographing the lights anymore.


Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Babes and Blossoms

While the weather is pleasant, Little Lion Man and I have been partaking in the preschool-appropriate fun at our neighborhood shopping center. With camera in tow, I try my best to snap photos of a rambunctious toddler who is more interested in shopping cart shaped like police cars, trains and fountains than lizards and hedgehogs.

So although I couldn’t capture a decent photo of Liam, I was able to snap some photos of the flowers cascaded through the plaza.

Spring is definitely in full bloom at our favorite stomping ground, The Shops at Wiregrass, which is perfect timing for the Leap into Spring! Photo Challenge.

For these photos, I decided to have fun with Field of Depth so you could truly experience the sights and smells of spring in my neighborhood.

Now, gather a whiff of the Jasmine bush growing wildly outside our front door.  With its twined vines and pungent fragrance, it welcomes you to our home.

Well, it would welcome you to our home if one particular little man would stop the picking the flowers.  Otherwise it will just be bush with a bunch a leaves waving hello.

spring photography challenge, kristi live and love out loud photo challenge, project alicia photo challenge, bumbles and light photo challenge,Mama's Losin' It


“Has Spring sprung? Post a photo journal of what Spring is looking like in your neck of the woods!”

*Also submitted at*

PhotoStory Fridaythe hollie rogue Look whooooo’s snapping Unknown Mami

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge: Eggs

This week’s Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge is Easter/Eggs.  Given that Easter was just a few weeks ago and I still haven’t shared those photos, I hopped on it.

Like most , our Easter our was full of eggs from decorating and dying…

…to four different egg hunts.  There was one egg hunt with Emmalynn’s class.  Chugging along with a train basket in tow, Little Lion Man tried to keep up with the big kids.

We always love our annual egg hunt with our Moms on the Go friends.

On Easter morning, the Easter bunny left some jellybean-filled eggs in the yard.  Did you know that dump trucks make better Easter baskets?

Then later that day, Grandma hid some eggs in her gorgeous garden, which is perfect for eggs hunts and wanna-be photographers.

After a long, “eggs”hausting hunt run in Grandma’s huge yard, we rewarded ourselves with the Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes I baked for dessert.

Yep, it was a truly “eggs”elent Easter.

spring photography challenge, kristi live and love out loud photo challenge, project alicia photo challenge, bumbles and light photo challenge,

PhotoStory Fridaythe hollie rogue Look whooooo’s snapping Unknown Mami

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

An Encounter with the Penguin

An encounter with the Penguin may sound like a bad Batman episode, but it is no exaggeration to how I briefly met John Bingham, the well-known slow-runner and author nicknamed The Penguin for his “waddling pace”.

As stealth-like as I could with a screaming toddler strapped in a stroller in tow, I discreetly tried to snap photos of The Penguin during his lecture on flexibility vs. stretching at the St. Pete Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon expo.

Unfortunately, the rude repeated clicking broke his speaking stride and then he snapped. “Why are you taking photos?”

“Um…because you’re The Penguin and I’ve quoted you on my blog,” I sheepishly replied.

“You blog?  What’s your blog?  Will you blog this?”

“Of course!”

“Well, then let’s get a photo together!”

With that invitation, I tossed my camera to my friend, Chrissy, to capture this beautiful blogoturnity.

Thank you, Mr. Penguin, sir.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John “The Penguin” Bingham

PhotoStory Fridaythe hollie rogue Look whooooo’s snapping