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The life of an intergalactic smuggler

By March 30, 2017 Eliza, My Geek Adventures

Here’s a snapshot of Lizeybug, kicking back, waiting for prospective clients to engage her in conversation about chartering her Corellian ship (not the local bulk cruisers mind you) for a intergalactic voyage. Space Uber, if you will.

It’s also the only photo I was able to snap off before one of the friendly supervisors let me know that photographs aren’t allowed in the Oceaneer’s Club on our recent Disney Dream cruise. Completely makes sense. “My bad!” I quickly put my camera away, and had the unexpected benefit of feeling like a space smuggler on my way out.

By the way, Disney doesn’t half-ass anything. If you think this area was rad, you should have seen the Millenium Falcon cockpit.

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Happy Birthday, America. Here’s some sparklers.

By July 5, 2013 Eliza, Geekdad

Eliza and I didn’t have much in the way of fireworks this year, but we did have fun with slow exposures once she figured out what I was doing.

4th of July fun

4th of July fun

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Eliza’s first Free Comic Book Day

By May 5, 2013 Eliza, Geekdad, Orlando


She really got into it, and ended up coming home with a pretty respectable stack of comic books.

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Eliza’s Egg Hunt 2013

By April 1, 2013 Eliza, Geekdad, Home Movies

It’s time for Eliza’s annual Easter Egg Hunt! This is fourth year we’ve chased Eliza around with a video camera, but she’s getting so fast that Daddy had to strap an extra camera to her head.
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Introducing Cowboy Eliza

By November 7, 2012 Eliza, Geekdad, Home Movies

Cowboy Eliza from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

Here’s a quick pre-Trick-or-Treat chat with Eliza, while she was still in character as “Cowboy ‘Liza.”

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Eliza’s Fall Photos

By October 11, 2012 Eliza, Orlando, Photography, Portraits

Here’s two snaps from our annual (and somewhat required) visit to the pumpkin patch for Fall photos. I’m thrilled that the best photos don’t actually feature any pumpkin, but rather this rusty, weird tree that was nearby.

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The Barnstormer

By May 6, 2012 Eliza, Orlando, Photography

Riding the Barnstormer

This weekend we braved the crows and heat, returning to The Magic Kingdom so that Eliza and her buddy could ride the Barnstormer roller coaster (and so that I can get more trading cards for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game). I took this snap while enduring the ups and down and general nausea of riding a roller coaster with acute motion sickness.

Camera: Fuji X100
Location: Disney's Magic Kindgom
Flickr: Riding the Barnstormer

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Eliza’s Egg Hunt 2012

By April 8, 2012 Eliza, Home Movies

It’s time for the annual Eliza Egg Hunt! The whole affair takes much longer than this video depicts, since E stops for candy breaks constantly along the way – which also makes her VERY hyper by the time it’s over.

camera: Canon 5D Mark II
song: "You Want The Candy" - The Raveonettes

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Our Little Chef, Hard at Work

By February 17, 2012 Eliza, Photography

Here’s a segment I shot for The Daily Buzz and Galtime, demonstrating how to get your preschooler involved in cooking family meals. It’s worth noting that MY WIFE is the reporter on this piece, and her subject is our adorable kid.

Turn Your Preschooler Into A Little Chef from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

Fearful that your kids will make a mess? They will. Worried it will take extra time? Yeah, it does. Think they can’t handle it? They can, really! You don’t have to wait until they’re older to get them involved. Preschool aged kids can do a lot in the kitchen.

KyAnn and I both made New Year resolutions to each start our own foodie blogs. We both did, but she’s the only one of us to actually do more than two posts, and she’s well on her way to making it a habit. You can follow our little family cooking adventures at Happy Fun Food.

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partners in crime

By January 19, 2012 Eliza, Photography

partners in crime

We made a quick trip up North, into The South to catch-up with some old friends and revisit some of the restaurants and haunts we used to frequent several year ago. Here’s a sassy snap of Eliza and her pal Kensie. It’s damn near impossible to get a photo of these kids not moving.

gear: canon 5D mark II
loc: greenville, sc

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It’s Meatball Night!

By January 11, 2012 Eliza, Home Movies

It’s Meatball Night! from JL Watkins on Vimeo.

We all take turns making dinner, and last night it was Chef Eliza’s turn. She demonstrates one of her many kitchen specialties: Italian meatballs!

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This Is Why We Fight

By December 29, 2011 Eliza, Home Movies

Our preschool hipster loves listening to indie rock. After making us play this Decemberists song repeatedly in the car, we sat her down afterwards and asked sing the chorus in front of the camera. She was rather annoyed, which only added to her aloof hipster attitude.
song: "This Is Why We Fight" - The Decemberists
cam: Canon 5D2 / lens: Lensbaby Composer

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The Return of Chocolate Blankie

By December 1, 2011 Eliza, Home Movies

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All dressed up for Zombietoberfest!

By October 1, 2011 Eliza, Geekdad


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Saturday Bike Race

By August 28, 2011 Eliza, Home Movies

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Video: “No Diving Allowed”

By August 24, 2011 Eliza, Home Movies

Okay, so I’m late to the game in getting a GoProHD camera, and I finally couldn’t hold out any longer in getting one. I promptly made use of it this weekend with Eliza while tearing up the crazy, rooftop pool in our Miami hotel.

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My Little Rapunzel

By August 4, 2011 Eliza


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Video: No PlayGround Monsters

By August 1, 2011 Eliza, Home Movies

My daughter Eliza and her preschool pal had fun tearing up the playground. They didn’t mind the Sunday morning humidity, however they have very little patience for monsters.

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My little Disney princess.

By June 19, 2011 Eliza

Tired Golden Princesses

We decided to brave the murderous heat and waves of sweaty tourists, to take our little gal and out-of-town guests to the Magic Kingdom. Eliza had an especially delightful day, as she got to pretend to be her favorite, Disney princess: Rapunzel. She’s become quite taken with the movie Tangled, her enthusiasm doubling when it was released on Blu-Ray a few months ago. She can belt-out the entire soundtrack, and even tell you what scenes in the film the instrumental tracks correspond with. But no matter how much she adores Rapunzel, she’ll never have 100 yards of flowing blonde hair.

It’s especially hard to explain that she won’t ever likely have a normal amount of blonde hair. At times, she desperately wants to have hair like Mommy and Rapunzel. It’s often a little heartbreaking to watch her, stand in front of the mirror, trying to figure out why her hair isn’t growing long and straight. We reinforce that she has beautiful hair, which will also grow as she gets older, but in a different way. For the most part, she understands and is learning to love her hair, but there’s still times when she wants to just be a Disney princess.

On this particular day, as we passed by Cinderella’s castle, Eliza darted into the the princess boutique. While my wife chased her around, I went over to the Rapunzel section and found exactly what we’ve been looking for. Once Eliza realized what I was buying at the register, she was unbelievably anxious for us to open it. Moments later, after prying the wig out of the package and placing it on her head, she became completely silent. You might even say regal. For the remainder of the day she walked a little taller (which wasn’t often because she has to be carried everywhere), and had an eerie grace in all her movements, which was only amplified when she put on Tiana’s princess gloves.

The blonde wig is now part of her dress up clothes, so she can now be Rapunzel whenever she wants. But no matter what, she’ll always be our Princess Eliza with the beautiful black hair.

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