We Love Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene, it’s what makes pumpkins orange. And being orange is one of the greatest things about pumpkins. And, in my expert opinion, pumpkins are one of the greatest things about fall. I spend all year looking forward to the night we get to gussy up the most curvaceous member of the squash family all in the name of spookiness. So it was with this deep rooted reverence for pumpkins that we drove an hour out of town to find the seemingly only pumpkin patch in all Louisiana, Ms. Heather’s Pumpkin Patch.

There were a ton of things to do but this toddler’s top picks were the old fashioned rides…. 

And, not to be forgotten, was the pit of corn….

And face painting…

More rides…

But my favorite part came at the very end of our adventure, where one very tired little lady picked out a pumpkin of her very own.

Giddy Up, Let’s Ride!

Anyone else read that story about a thousand times? ( It’s one of Kennedy’s favorites. We’ve read it so many times that she’s committed it to memory.) The book came to life last weekend when we celebrated Kennedy’s BFF’s 3rd birthday by riding horses. This was no pony ride at the fair either.

This is Ed. I’m pretty sure he was taller than me.

She, being the toddler, was a champ though. A total natural. She loved every second of it. She was totally calm and nonchalant, as if riding a 500 pound animal was a regular occurrence. I can’t wait to take lessons together when she gets older. I had a cousin and aunt who used to do that, and I was always insanely jealous. I’m totally stealing the idea with my offspring.:)

And this is Rosie. She was a gentle giant as well.

Although I would have preferred my munchkin stick a little closer to the ground, it was a great experience. I felt like time slowed down and we were able to enjoy being a family. And, of course, it was a blast when we got to hop on the horses ourselves too! It was pretty much the perfect way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning.

A Return to Blogging and Photography- Beach Style

My last post was May 22nd. That’s a whopping 5 month break. Does it even count as a break when it’s that long? I’ve thought about blogging almost every day, but I was sorely lacking in inspiration. That sounds awful- 5 months uninspired, and life has been anything but miserable, maybe inspiration is the wrong word. What I’ve sorely been lacking has been energy. Or maybe motivation? Time? Dedication? Take your pick. Whatever the reason, I’ve missed blogging, and all the things that come with it.

Along with blogging, I haven’t picked up my camera in months. For awhile I felt like I saw the world like I was looking through my viewfinder…. It was like life was just one frame after another, all waiting to be captured with my Canon. That feeling suddenly dried up, just holding my camera made me feel creatively, physically and mentally exhausted. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s ever experienced this!

Any hoo- let’s cut to the chase, before I drone on for hours and hours- I am back! I’ve been waiting for the perfect post topic- and here it is…. Our first ever family vacation! Fun in the sun, along with a few sunset lit walks on the beach was just what I needed! I was a little rusty, but I took over 300 photos during our week at the beach (I won’t show them all… I promise.) I’m also happy to report that my camera has stayed close since our return to reality!

Enough talk, allow me to share a bit of our week in the paradise (better known as Pensacola)!

Our first day out- My little one wasn’t so sure of the waves. So we played in the sand.

The ten zillion ducks around our condo complex… however… huge hit.

Also a huge hit was the ferris wheel. Kennedy was nothing short of obsessed. Every time we saw it she would squeal in delight and shout “Hi ferris wheel!” If you ask her what she liked most about her vacation, she’d tell you the ferris wheel.

Her reaction when we got up close.

The 14-dollar-a-person ride was worth it though, cause we got a actual family photo!

Day 2 at the beach- she made friends.

We also made it to the National Aviation Museum.

We also went to Quiet Water Beach, on the bay side. These waves were toddler approved. So was the view of the ferris wheel.

We mostly ate meals at our condo, but we did splurge on large amounts of fried deliciousness at Peg Leg Pete’s and Flounder’s.

My favorite part… Sunset walks on the beach. The cool air, the ocean smell, the ever changing sky… Happiness couldn’t help but bubble up inside.

A jelly washed ashore. And matching toenails covered in sand.

Devin took the next three. Color me impressed… I think they are the three best of the whole trip.

We also made it to the Gulfarium.

And to Downtown Pensacola, where there was a brand new children’s museum.

And now we are home again. And I’m back to this blog and already looking forward to the next post!

A Weekend in Birmingham

My cousin got married this weekend. Here’s a few highlights from our wedding weekend in Birmingham:

The Botanical Gardens.

Where I’m happy to say that we got the rare family photo…

Add, of course, the wedding and reception:

Followed by a quick trip to the Zoo (Yes, we are zoo lovers as you can see from here and here)

Making the Best of It: A Day at the Airport

Whew! Tuesday was exhausting. And not the good exhausting. We were at the airport(, eventually, we made it on an airplane). ‘Delay’ was pretty much the word of the day. Not fun for anyone, especially if you are 19 months old. Ditto if you are the mother of said 19 month old. Don’t get me wrong- she did great. No nap, but no horror stories to report. On the bright side, I took advantage of the unplanned break in our schedule and loosely flexed my photography muscle.

Luckily the Baton Rouge Airport had an enclosed playroom. We explored it.

Fittingly, the playroom was decorated with airplanes. My aviation loving offspring took notice of it.

I’m not sure about her, but I thought this little toy was the greatest. Certainly makes for interesting compositions.

Other than the playroom, we passed the time by eating lunch (a ham and cheese sandwich) and waving the the airplanes.

Finally, we spotted our airplane.

And here we are, in the greatest city in the world.

An Afternoon at the Museum… with 3 Kids Under 3… is Exhausting

That’s right last week we drove to the Lafayette and visited the Children’s Museum of Acadiana. In total, there were 6 of us, Kennedy and I, of course, and our friends, Chloe (who is 2) and Dean (who is 9 months), and their parents. The kids had a blast, the parents did too. Here’s some of the details of the excursion.

One of the first rooms was the Grocery Store. Kennedy and Chloe pushed around little grocery carts like mad women grocery shopping before a Sunday dinner.

Don’t expect many smiles from my little redhead in this post. She refused to nap that morning.

They also ‘rang up’ all their items, which mostly consisted of slamming random buttons until the register opened.

Chloe, much to her Daddy’s dismay, focused on items like soymilk, tofu, and radishes.

Kennedy, not to be outdone, went straight to the meat aisle and filled her cart with t-bones and sausages.

Then there was the Toddler Play Area. It was a wide open area filled with a playhouse, a treehouse, a train set, a couple horses to climb, books to read and puzzles to figure out. Pretty much the stuff toddler dreams are made of.

The train set table has a hole in the center so you can be surrounded, the complete 360 degrees, by trains. Awesomeness.

This was pretty much the best smile I got all afternoon, atleast, on camera. This in a little treehouse. She loved it. Claimed it as her own. The only way to get her out was to climb up in there myself.

But right back in she’d go. I promised her we’d build her one. Seriously, can you imagine a tree house loft over her bed in a couple years? I think that would officially make her childhood magical!

I think Baby Dean was a fan of the tree house too. Especially with his Mama in the window.

Sharing the horsey… It lasted about 30 seconds…

And there was a Bubble Room. I was sure this would blow lil’ miss’s mind, but didn’t go over as well as I thought. Must be the lack of nap in the air.

The photo’s terrible, but isn’t that awesome? You can create a bubble around yourself. That’s right, you can be inside a bubble! We need one of these at the house too! (For me, but Kennedy can play too!)

 

There were also a bunch of troughs and wands to make huge bubbles.

There was a Cafe too.

Look at that, brother and sister making red beans and rice!

What a handsome boy!

I went a little photo crazy with him!

Last one!

There was also a newsroom.

“And now to Kennedy for the latest on the state of the economy.”

An ambulance.

Before I know it, she’ll be able to see over that wheel!

A veterinary office.

He likes monkeys.

About seven minutes after we got in the car to go home, I looked back and the Kennedy was sound asleep. At just the same time, I got a text saying Chloe and Dean had zonked out too. That has got to be some sort of record, three babies asleep in less than seven minutes.

What an afternoon!

On The Road Again

Yesterday’s post chronicled our brief Memphis adventure, a stop while enroute to Saint Louis, the Tuesday before Christmas. The next morning we got up and continued on. BTW- we spent the night at the Pear Tree Inn in Cape Girardreau, Missouri. It was a decent price, clean and had a good breakfast… if you are ever in the area. AND there was a Panera Bread across the street. I love Panera. We don’t have them here in Louisiana. Boo. Any hoo… we continued on our way.

Our first stop was the Mastodon State Historic Site, in Imperial, Missouri. We pulled in around lunch time. Devin, my husband, was pumped to see some dinosaur bones. A little background- the Mastodon State Historic Site is located on the Kimmswick Bone Bed, reknowned “for it’s extensive Pleistocene ice age deposits of fossils” (as written on their homepage). The park has a fossil museum, hiking trails and a picnic area. It was a huge disappointment, only because the museum is closed on Wednesdays. I swear my New Year’s Resolution is going to be to check and see when attractions are open before we are standing outside the front doors. (A similar incident happened the previous day!) We made the best of it and had a little picnic.

The picnic area was at the top of a cliff.

Somebody was very happy to be out of the car.

So happy that she stole the bread.

After lunch, we took a short hike that took us to the bottom of the cliff and over the bone bed.

Somewhere, buried deep beneath this path, lies hundreds, maybe even thousands more fossils. Kind of mind blowing, isn’t it?

After the hike, we got back in the car and headed to the Meramac Caverns.

The attraction wasn’t exactly on the way, but what’s another hour in the car? And the very idea, after all, these caverns took a millenia to form, was to full of intrigue to miss.

The entrance to the caverns were decked out in the holiday spirit.

Once we started the tour, I was astounded; I had no idea the rock formations would be so stunning.

And they are still forming, changing…

There was a formation called a”wine table.” Why it’s called that? I have no idea. But apparently there are only two known ‘wine tables’ in the world, and this is one of them.

This photo was taken in the Movie Theater Room, named for it’s curtain-like formations.

It was accompanied by an old school light show.

After that, was headed into Saint Louis.

That evening, my Great Aunt and Uncle treated us the Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo. This too, was a quite spectacular attraction.

The photo’s just don’t do it justice. (Another New Year’s Resolution: Learn to master night photography.)

Side note: I’ve been experimenting with Bokeh. Love it.

And that, my friends, was day 2 of our whirlwind journey. What a day.