Monday, October 31, 2011

Day 304 - October 31

Happy Halloween!!

I figured I might as well get this done early since I have the picture ready to go. I hope everyone enjoyed trick-or-treating, or going to their harvest fair, or trunk-or-treating, or whatever you did to have fun today!

We brought Michaela's Disney World Snow White costume back out for rounds three and four today (she wore it Saturday night at the balloon glow, too) for her party at MDO and to trick-or-treat tonight.

At the first two houses, she was a little unsure of herself. But she quickly figured out that ringing the bell and saying "Trick or treat!" got her candy and we heard a lot of "more, more!" after that! We kept the candy haul to a minimum, though, and got her back home in time for normal bedtime. Although some friends of mine said they enjoy their older kids being able to go out alone, I think I enjoy that I can take my toddler to about a dozen houses and call it a night! I'm hoping we can milk that for a few more years.

Anyway, here's Snow White just before heading out for the excitement!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Day 303 - October 30

It's almost Halloween. And that means pumpkin carving! Last year, we didn't carve any of our pumpkins, so this year, Jason was determined to make at least one jack o' lantern. So we did.

Michaela helped a little, too. The spoon was necessary because there was no convincing her to touch any guts. She's such a girl!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 302 - October 29

I LOVE tonight's picture. For a few reasons.

From a pure aesthetics standpoint, I just think it's pretty.

From the neat life experience camp, this was the first time I've seen a hot air balloon from this close up!

From the geeky side of me, I love it because achieving this picture means that I'm really understanding how to use my camera. I chose the settings on my camera to make this happen. I picked the perfect second to release the shutter to get the glow without the bright flash of the burner inside the balloon. And, most importantly, to me, I didn't have to edit this. I did increase the contrast just a little bit because I liked it a little better this way, but I didn't have to. It looked great SOOC (straight out of the camera).

It's been just a little over a year since I took my photography class and I can't believe what I've been able to achieve. No one else has to like what my pictures look like, but I'm constantly amazed when I sit down to edit a picture and I realize what I've been able to accomplish with the camera in manual and having to figure out how to make it work myself. Playing with photography and my fancy camera has been fun for almost 5 years now, but REALLY knowing what I'm doing for the past year has just made it that much more exciting.

Sorry to ramble... but this picture just really made me happy tonight!!

Day 301 - October 28

It's another Fred post today, but for very good reason.

Our old man turned 8 today! In honor of the occasion (and because I still feel guilty about forgetting his birthday in the years since the kid arrived), I baked him a cake which he'll enjoy all weekend, and I made him endure a camera in his face this afternoon so I could get his birthday portrait.

I got the portrait and then I got an action shot. I imagine him thinking, "Who's an old dog?" in the action shot. He looks (except for the gray) like a puppy! Sadly, though, mere minutes after taking the picture, and only three runs down the yard, he chose to collapse on the ground and rest. He's got the get-up to play, he just can't keep going for long!

Although he's been pushed aside for the human child, Fred will always be our first baby! Happy Birthday, Bubba!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 300 - October 27

Aw, man. Until just now, I didn't realize today was Day 300! I feel like I should've done something special for that.

Instead, I have probably the least special picture I've taken all year. Go figure.

Anywho, you know how they call Wheaties the "Breakfast of Champions?"

Well, I had a "Lunch of Toddlers" today. It made me laugh to put my own lunch together... peanut butter and grape jelly (ok, actually organic grape fruit spread... oooo, fancy!), chips, grapes and pickles. To be fair, in our house, the toddler much prefers black olives to pickles, but I didn't really want the olives today.

(And, Mom, you'll notice, my food is not touching.... still.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Day 299 - October 26

I have two words for you today: Fried Oreos.

I did an extra workout today because we had plans to go to the State Fair tonight and I just wanted some fried Oreos.

And they were delicious.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 298 - October 25

There's not really anything special about today's picture... it's just the only picture I took all day and it was just a quick snapshot while we were at the park.

Of course, the child who will barely look at the real camera when I want to take pictures with that will look straight at the phone for a quick, messy shot.

So here's Michaela, riding on the "train" at the playground during playgroup this morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 297 - October 24

I did a lot of stuff around the house today while the kid was at Mom's Day Out (and later when she was napping). Because of that, picture opportunities were few and far between. Besides, the kid is better for video these days - the things coming out of her mouth are killing us!

So, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually took this one last week. But the same stuff is all still in the same place, so I'm using it today.

This would be my outside fall decoration. One of these pumpkins is going to get the Buzz Lightyear treatment later in the week (we bought some plastic Buzz things that stick into the pumpkin), and one is theoretically going to be carved. I think I'd rather keep them this way so I can make them last through Thanksgiving, but I think Jason REALLY wants to carve one this year, so I might lose out on that.

For now, though, it looks pretty!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 296 - October 23

I have a love/hate relationship with the DVD in today's picture.

I love it because the kid loves it (and it's companion, Disc 1). She sings along to the songs, has her favorites, tells me what she does and doesn't want to watch on it, and has shown me her powers of memorization and love of singing and dancing through it.

I hate it because we listened to it ad nauseum from Kodiak to Mobile last summer (with some Dora and a Disney movie or two thrown in), we listened to it (and nothing else) from here to Orlando, and back (and all around town for two weeks), and we get to be subjected to it regularly around home.

In fact, I chose to take a picture of it tonight because, on the way home from a night out, Michaela asked for "La di da" and "Count me in" - two of the songs on the DVD. So we got to watch those really quickly before she headed to bed - leaving me with "La di da" in my head for the rest of the night.

Ah, Sesame Street. I love to hate you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 295 - October 22

We found our new favorite place to take the dog for a walk today! We've really missed the trail walking we did in Kodiak.... living only minutes away from a state park and an even shorter distance from a nice, easy trail, we hardly ever walked on actual roads unless we were short on time. Here, we're in the land of suburbia - named housing developments and sidewalks abound, but there are few close-by trails.

I've known about the trails at one of the parks Michaela and I go to for quite a while, but we'd never actually gotten to them until today. Now, at least in the months when it's cool enough to walk at a normal time of day (ie, not 10pm when it's still too hot to walk but one of us takes the dog anyway), we might try to get out to the park more often than not to hit these trails. The only downsides are that Jason is stuck with a kid in Kelty - though she loves it - and we have to drive about 15 minutes to get there. But, as long as one of you (ehem, Jason) doesn't forget the dog's leash at home, it's not a terrible drive.

Fred was in his trail-walking, other-dog-smell-sniffing, squirrel-tracking glory, though. So I think it's worth the drive and the Kelty.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 294 - October 21

It's been a while since Fred's made an appearance here. I figured it was about time. And, he was nice enough to provide me with a photo-worthy moment this afternoon when I happened to have the camera outside to try to get some shots of the toddler.

I have two pictures today... one that shows the way Fred is more often than not these days, and one that was my "picture-worthy" shot.

So, Fred's getting up there in years (he turns 8 in a week... not so young for a big dog!), and he's definitely lost some of his get up and go. He'll give it a try and chase a toy or run around a bit, but it doesn't last long anymore, and he spends more time just lounging in the sun.

What gets him up and alert everyday, though, is the sound of Jason's truck rolling up the road and backing into the driveway. Today, I didn't even recognize that Jason's truck was one of the ones that drove by the backyard until Fred popped up and sat staring at the front of the fence/house. That was my notice that Jason was actually home. Crazy dog loves his Jason!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 293 - October 20

It's a Dance Party!!!

I have to thank my mother-in-law for the whole concept of the Dance Party. It was introduced while we were on vacation for some reason - probably on an afternoon when Jason and I were out and she was trying to figure out a way to keep the highly-energetic toddler occupied! Anyway, since then, we have a regular occurrence of the Dance Party. Usually it involves an Elmo microphone (the music for the Dance Party while on vacation) and some "guys" (toys) lined up to watch the Dance Party in the living room. But sometimes she likes to branch out.

In the past couple of weeks, the Dance Party has moved outside - to the utilities box in front of the house - whenever Michaela gets the chance. There was almost a meltdown yesterday morning when I wouldn't let her go out there in her bare feet (with me in my pajamas) at 8am. (I solved the problem by letting her feel how cold it was outside! And then she got to spend some quality time out there both yesterday afternoon and this morning before lunch.)

Jason is concerned about the fact that his little girl seems to enjoy dancing on something that resembles a table.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 292 - October 19

Ah, fall. I love you. Seriously. I love fall. Even if we're only going to have it for 5 days. I'll take it.

You'll not the hoodie and leggings on the kid in these pics (yes, two of them). She had so much fun running around in her new squeaky shoes with her hood up (she insisted) today in the brisk, 60 degree, windy afternoon sun. Ahhhh......

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 291 - October 18

Have I ever mentioned how grateful I am for the invention of the cellphone camera? Most days, without that, I don't think I'd take a picture at all and this blog would be nearly impossible.

Today's picture is a quick shot from playgroup this morning... Michaela with two of her friends, climbing on the railing. I wish I'd taken video a few minutes earlier when it was just her and Mason... Mason was climbing, so Michaela climbed up on the opposite side of the railing. Then she decided to go to the same side as him, which prompted him to move to the other side. They went around like that for about three or four turns of switching sides. It was pretty funny!

It's so fun to see her actually coming close to playing with other kids now, though, instead of just playing in the same general vicinity. We're not quite there yet, but I think being around the other kids at Mom's Day Out is helping build her social skills. She doesn't reach out to hit other kids nearly as often anymore!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 290 - October 17

It might still be really hot out, but the humidity, as I said yesterday, is mostly gone, so we can at least be outside (in the shade) for longer than 2 minutes before wanting to die.

This leads to a lot of requests to be outside from the toddler. As Jason and I talked about today, though, we LOVE that she wants to be outside so much! Although, on the days when the last thing we want to do is be outside, it can be tough. But, like good parents, we go and find fun things for her to do.

Today that was playing with chalk. I got chalk out to work on the finishing touches of a project we did at MOPS last week (a small chalkboard to use as a menu board), and, of course, as soon as she saw the chalk, Michaela wanted in on the action.

I abandoned my project (after ruining the chalkboard paint), but at least we got a colorful patio out of the deal!

(I couldn't choose between these two pictures, so I'm going with both.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 289 - October 16

If we're friends on Facebook, you've seen this already.

I took this right after pulling into the garage this afternoon. Minutes before, the thermometer had said 91, but apparently it was a smidge cooler at home than about a half mile away.

Regardless, it's the middle of October. It's not supposed to be this hot. As a friend pointed out on Facebook, at least the humidity is gone, but this is insane. I'm tired of my summer clothes (because I've been wearing them since March), I'm tired of not wanting to go outside in the afternoon because it's too hot to do anything, and I'm sad that it doesn't feel like fall.

Ok, pity party over. It could be 45 and raining. Still, this is NOT October.
(And for those who may be concerned, my seatbelt was off because I was in my garage with the car in park, about to get out of the car!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 288 - October 15

We had big plans to go out to Seward Farms today to get our Fall fix. But the kid was up late last night, which led to sleeping in today, so we scrapped that idea and just headed to the little "pumpkin patch" that a local church sets up as a fundraiser to get our pumpkins.

We'll think about trying the farm next week instead.

Meanwhile, my daughter may have some OCD tendencies....

(And don't mind the color on the pic... I could not edit out how yellow it was... something with the tent we were under, I think.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 287 - October 14

How do you know you have "big" plans for a night out? You know, a night where you don't choose the restaurant solely based on a good kid's menu, but because it's somewhere you actually want to go? A night when the child will be safely deposited with the crew of the Watermelon Patch while you enjoy that dinner?

I'll tell you...

Your bed looks like this minutes before walking out the door because you actually want to wear clothes that aren't best suited for a day at the park or an afternoon of chasing a toddler around the yard!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 286 - October 13

In my timezone, it's only 11:40, so this totally counts as being posted on time.

Anywho, I don't have much to say about this. We headed over to the playground across the street today and this was one of the few shots I was able to snap really quickly with my phone as she ran circles around me.

For the record, the sunglasses were her idea.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 285 - October 12

Today was a productive day around here. At the top of my priority list was going through Michaela's toys. I had to cull out the things she's not using much anymore to either save for hypothetical child #2 or add to our ever-growing "Sell" pile.

Culling her toys means emptying her four bins (individual toy boxes, kind of... keeps the toys fresh, theoretically), getting rid of stuff, and reorganizing them since new toys all end up in whichever bin is out when the new toy comes home, and I like to mix it up a bit. As I reorganized the bins, I divided up all of the toys between them and then I was left with....

.... a pile of ducks.

The child has been obsessed with rubber ducks since she was old enough to pick out her own toys (thus the rubber duck themed first birthday), and we've grown quite the collection over time.

And, yes, there are now at least four ducks in each bin.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 284 - October 11

I'm going to go ahead and say that this stuff probably has a lot to do with my constant itchy throat and eyes... the bane(s?) of my existence these days, even with the daily dose of allergy meds.

Damn you, Goldenrod.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 283 - October 10

Popcorn makes an appearance again today. It was the toddler's afternoon snack. That's not much of a story. The story is in how it became the snack.

I know she's not doing it on purpose - or at least I hope not - but Michaela has a way of asking a question so that, when you clarify what she means, her idea becomes your idea.

Here's how it goes:

Michaela: I can have popcorn for a snack? (In two-year old speak, so it's not totally clear, though she does speak VERY clearly.)
Mommy: You want popcorn for snack?
Michaela: OK!

And then you find yourself popping the world's smallest batch of popcorn in your Whirly Pop because you're trying to cut back on your own snacks, and the final result is our picture.

She is seriously a turd.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 282 - October 9

To the untrained eye, this picture looks like a bowl of popcorn.

To the trained eye (or me), it's a dinner-finishing bribery tool. I didn't use it on purpose, but it worked out well. Little Miss conveniently decided she was done eating when I started clearing plates from the table (even though Jason was still sitting with her), even though she still seemed hungry. We checked a million times to make sure she was done, and then we packed up her leftovers.

Not 5 minutes later, she asked for popcorn. Of course, we told her she couldn't have popcorn since she didn't eat her dinner. Amazingly enough, she went running for her chair and said she'd finish her chicken if she could have popcorn.

Ta-da! Chicken was finished and she gobbled up a bowl of popcorn, too. Funny how the right motivation can get dinner finished!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 281 - October 8

In the past month and a half - almost two months already - since Michaela's birthday, she's grown a little over an inch or so. (Which came in handy when we were at Disney and she was able to ride the 36" and up rides!)

Because she got a little taller, we figured it was time to bust out the balance bike for another try since she was a little too short for it on her birthday.

She's still a little too short, but she can at least touch the ground now. Another inch and she'll have it down! Oh, and safety first....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 280 - October 7

Remember how I posted about pretending it's fall yesterday? Well, today, Michaela demonstrated why it is that we're stuck pretending when she asked to go swimming after her nap this afternoon.

Thankfully, Jason got to come home early from work today so HE could take her (I don't swim in October, thankyouverymuch), but only after checking the temperature in the pool. The outside air temperature was in the mid-80s, but with overnight lows dipping into the 50s and with it being somewhat slow to warm up during the day, the pool is NOT that warm anymore. Bear in mind, I've never been one to swim in a pool under 80 degrees, but we've all gotten pretty accustomed to the 90 degrees (plus) temperature we get in the summer around here. So the 79-ish degrees was WAY too cold for me, and led me to dig out the long-sleeve swim suit I bought for Michaela forEVER ago.

Of course, once she had the cute suit on, I wanted pictures. She just wanted to swim. But at least I got a few good ones (see the FlyingFish blog for a series of them.... I'll get them up over there as soon as I'm done here). But this one just cracked me up!

Oh, and she did NOT swim for long. She likes warm water, too.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 279 - October 6

One of the first orders of business after getting back from vacation was to make the house look like fall is actually here. Of course, given that day-time temperatures are still getting into the mid-80s, it doesn't *feel* like fall, but we can pretend.

And since it's actually October already - how the heck did that happen, by the way? - I pulled out the Halloween decorations along with the fall stuff. I put everything out last night after the toddler was in bed, so she was enthralled with everything on the mantle this morning when she got up.

We had a lot of discussion about the "scared pumpkin" today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 278 - October 5

I had big plans to post a silly picture of a bowl of Cheerios today. Don't ask why - maybe I'll do it a different day so I'll save the story just in case.

Anywho, my big plans were changed when my crazy kid decided she really needed to wear her new black boots with her shorts and t-shirt. So I grabbed the camera to take a few pictures of her awesome fashion sense (for the record, the boots were replaced by bare feet and a rotation between 3 different tutus shortly after I put the camera down) and the next thing you know, she was playing peekaboo and being all photogenic with me instead.

Thus, no Cheerios picture and the inability to choose between two of my favorite shots. I love that she was actually in a mood to look right at the camera and SMILE! Yay!! (And no shots with the black boots... just imagine them with this outfit, though!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 277 - October 4

We have such a girl on our hands around here.

This morning, Michaela had a very specific demand for me. Shortly after breakfast, and I think while some music was on TV (maybe on Sesame Street), she paused for a moment to think, looked up, and very forcefully said, "I need a tutu!!" She then took off running for her room, to get a tutu.

Yep, *needed* a tutu. Need.

What a girl!

And, of course, if you have a tutu on, you need to twirl. It's a rule.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 276 - October 3

Back to reality meant going back to "school" for Michaela this morning. I was ready for a fight since I got a "I don't want to go to schoooool!!!" from her this morning while I was getting her dressed.

Surprisingly, she ran right in when we got there, and was more than happy to put her backpack on to leave this afternoon when I went to get her (she made it almost to the full 4 hours even!!!)... as long as I let her run around for a while.

So as she ran around, weighed down by her ginormous backpack, I grabbed my phone from the car and snapped a quick picture, just as she turned toward me.

Gah! She's cute!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 275 - October 2

Today we finished up the drive back to Mobile from Orlando. We stopped in Tallahassee last night, just about half-way, in order to not torture the toddler with a full day in the car (or us, really).

The great thing about a 4-hr drive from Tallahassee to Mobile is that you can start your day with a hot Dunkin' Donuts coffee in Tallahassee, and then finish it with an iced one from Pensacola.

I miss having Dunkin' all the time.... even if all I drink is decaf.

Day 274 - October 1

It was a sad morning yesterday morning. Our awesome 2-week vacation came to an end and we had to pack up and head home.

Oddly enough, the rose I got at dinner at Victoria and Albert's the week before finally started to wither, yesterday morning. It was like it was sad we were going, too....

Day 273 - September 30

I'm finally getting caught up on the last few days, now that we're back home, unpacked and getting back into the real world again.


At least this lets me get back to our last day of vacation. We spent Friday at EPCOT... all day! The kid actually napped in her stroller (not for long, but a nap's a nap) and we were there from about 10am until just after the fireworks started at 9pm (and we left because the kid does NOT like them).

EPCOT is not the most kid-friendly park in the Disney family, but there are at least enough things to keep a toddler somewhat happy for the day. So in between Mommy, Daddy and Mimi enjoying the yumminess of the Food and Wine Festival, we took the time to say hello to all the Disney favorites one more time.

Michaela was enthralled by Pluto's whiskers. I don't know why. But she just thought they were great! Another laugh courtesy of the toddler!