Z is for Zoo

 We made like the old Cajun song and went on down to the Audobon Zoo last weekend. Kennedy came prepared- decked out in zebra attire.

A highlight for her- touching a monitor. Gave me the heebie jeebies.

And turtle. Enough said.

Shrek is currently on repeat at our house, so this donkey was a BIG hit. “That’s a nice boulder!” Maybe it’s the designer in me, but that line gets me every time!

Who needs to go see the primates with these two around?

We went with another family, who have a six month old. Having two babies to mamarazzi was so much fun that I didn’t take too many pictures of the animals.I didn’t realize it until I loaded the day’s photos on the computer. Those pictures above… are about the only ones I got. So be warned… the rest of this post contains extreme cuteness in the form of little arms and little fingers, and little noses… of the human variety.

Meet Conor.

And his family. They are visiting from California. Lucky them.

Now on the the good stuff: the babies!

I think Kennedy had a little crush. She’d randomly grab at him and try to plant one on him.

But he only had kisses for his mommy!


A Morning at Heritage Farm

Next up on our Chicagoland area adventure…. A morning at Heritage Farm at the Spring Valley Nature Center.

As one would expect to see on a farm, we saw all kinds of farm animals. First up, we visited the pigs.

The giant snorting pig was a little unnerving for Kennedy. And no wonder, it must have been easily 5 times her size. (Personally, I found her to be eerily similar to a certain little white dog… We miss you, Niki)

On the other hand, the baby piglets were right up her alley.  These little lovelies were too small to be confined by  the fence, and they had free run of the farm. Baby girl was ready to jump in the mud with them.

The piglet butts were just too darling!

They were a little skittish. At one point, some guy across the farm coughed, and they ran right for us. I went into overprotective Mama Bear mode and freaked out. For a split second I actually thought they were going to stampede us! Ridiculous, I know! Just in the nick of time they veered left and squeezed under the fence, and into Mommy pig’s protection.

The Munchkin was all smiles. These days I get more pictures of the back of her head than anything else, but she on this day she gleefully posed and smiled at the camera.

Then we headed over to the barn, where the cows and horses live.

We found more babies inside the barn. Two calves, each about a month old. Turns out that babies, no matter what the species, cause trouble. This one went after my coffee cup. And womp, womp… He succeeded.

I’m pretty sure the other calf was jealous. Look at him eyeing the cup. Guess that settles it, cows like coffee too.

So there’s the highlights for you. Despite almost being trampled by piglets and a cow tongue in my latte, it was a wonderful morning at the farm.

Lil Miss and Her Green Thumb

New Year’s Resolution Number 16: Plant a garden with Kennedy.

New Year’s Resolution Number 9: Make our home more beautiful.

Check and fraction of a check!

I used to buy indoor plants a lot. The deep green ones that are hardy and impossible to kill. I stopped because I killed them, all of the every time. After Kennedy was born, I received a few congratulatory plants in the mail. They died too. Consequently, I never gave much thought to planting a garden. My brown thumb should never get near anything green. But, as I’ve watched Kennedy grow and develop into a little person with her own interests and her own tastes in the last few months, the idea has bubbled to the forefront of my mind several times. They say it’s impossible to know at 18 months old, but I can see her dad’s passion for math and science run through her veins as well. She is particularly enamored with the concept of action and reaction, and I see her perform little science experiments all day long. (This week we love to turn the light on and off on and off, on and off.)

I don’t expect to grasp the concept of a growing plant right now, but it seemed right up her alley. So I did a couple internet searches on things like “toddler gardens” and “when to plant.” Turns out January is the perfect time to start a garden in Louisiana (I’ll never get over warm weather in January!)  So off to Lowes we went. I bought some seed starting mix and some seeds.I got vegetable and herb seeds. I meant to buy flower seeds too, but all the veggies just looked so good. Just look at those purple carrots, I can already hear the crispy crunch as I take a bite. And fresh lavender? Well, that was just too lovely of an idea to pass up.  We’ll get flowers later.

The rest of the tools were already in my garage. With the exception of the gloves, I am not 100 percent sure how they got there, Probably a former roommate.

The first step of a garden is to plant the seeds in those card board potters (Probably not the right name, but accurately descriptive, so we’ll stick with it). 1 seed in each potter. Keep the soil moist and indoors for 6-8 weeks before transplanting into the ground. That’s basically what I got from my Google search.

But let me back it up and slow it down.

First we filled the little potters with soil. Lil’ Miss took to this right away. She filled all 48 spaces like a pro.

Sorry for the messy patio. And the weird cropping. It’s been a while since I used my point and shoot camera.

Then we added the seeds. Turns outs I bought way too many. I would be surprised if we used a quarter of the seeds that I purchased. Something to possibly keep in mind, (I didn’t think about it beforehand) for gardening with young toddlers is the size of the seeds. The green beans and the cantaloupe had seeds big enough for Kennedy to plant herself. The tomato plant seeds were teeny tiny, the broccoli and cauliflower seeds were pretty small too. That isn’t to say she got frustrated though- she understood where the seeds were supposed to go and happily took charge of the task.

Some of the seeds got roommates though- I hope that won’t be an issue in a few weeks.

She even found some dried beans on the ground (probably from an activity we did together a few weeks ago) and planted those. That amazed me! I didn’t really expect her to make the connection. What a smart cookie!

I tried to get a photo of the two of us in the window reflection. After all- moments like these I’ll have to treasure when she is 16 and wants nothing to do with me.

Then we watered our seeds. I don’t have a watering can (maybe this is why all my indoor plants died?), so I used a cup.

Now just to sit back and let those babies grow. Hopefully Kennedy’s thumb will out green my brown thumb.

In the meantime, does anyone have any tips? Comments? Gardening resources? Did I already so something to kill the broccoli? I could use all the help I can get!

630 feet high

That’s how high the Saint Louis Gateway Arch stands.

It doesn’t appear that large in the distance. We visited Eero Sarrinen’s architectural marvel on our pre-Christmas, whirlwind trip to Saint Louis. (You can read about our other adventure here and here.) So I can tell you from experience, it is indeed quite tall. When you get right under it, you have to crane your neck to see the top.

It is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. (Which begs the question, what is a nonman-made monument, and how high does that stand?)

 My Uncle came with us, so we got a family photo. Those are far and few between. Aren’t we adorable, one-shoed child and all?

Inside, we found a variety of attractions including the Museum of Westward Expansion, movie theaters, and of course, the ride to the top.
We attempted the museum, but the baby kept trying to climb into the exhibits.
So, we purchased tickets to the top. And up we went. The elevators are an experience of their own. They rock and grind the whole way up, and they are quite tight. Somehow,  they squeeze five people in. The doors have little windows and you can see the the stairs and numbered landings that run along side the elevators.
And finally we got to the lookout on the top.
There are little windows to looks out on each side. Kennedy loved it. She kept exclaiming “ah-plane!,” which is toddler speak for ‘airplane.’  Isn’t that brilliant?
In my opinion, a bird’s eye view of a city will always be a good one.
For the history buffs, this is the courthouse where the Scott Dred case went down.
And, for the sports fans, I believe this is where the Cardinal’s play.
They have the highest point marked. A photo op at 630 feet up.
After gaping out the windows for about a half hour, we rode down the same elevators. The second time was equally invigorating. (Although this time, we didn’t have to share our elevator car!)
What better way to end this post than with one more image of the beautiful steel exterior?

The 30 Day Photo Challenge Day 3

Our weekend was spent mostly doing research on tiling, splurging at Lowes and staring at our bare plywood bathroom floor (more on that later today!). We did, however, make a trip to the levee in Downtown BR and had a little family time. If you are ever in Baton Rouge, it is one of the most interesting places in the city. There is plenty to explore including a bike path, railroad tracks, an over sized Baton Rouge etc. The most interesting part, however is probably the people. We saw other families, people on dates, people running, people who’d spent all night at the casino, and lots of other people getting their photos taken. My favorite model was the bodybuilder in a shiny blue speedo!

Here I was able to capture a photo for the third challenge, clouds.

There weren’t many clouds, but I think the sky is what really makes the photo. I would call it a successful photo, wouldn’t you?

Here are a couple runner ups:

You can see my my previous challenges here and here. The second link also explains the challenge.

Devin and Kennedy were very understanding about me turning paparazzi on them. I think they even enjoyed it! Before I go, here are a couple other jems from the afternoon:

A tree with the Shaw Center in the background.

My little climber Doing her thang!

Looking out onto the Mighty Mississippi.

Rail Road tracks.

This girl loves her some dirt and rocks. I see geology in her future.

More exploring!

A reflection of the bridge as the sun starts to set.

And, this is my absolute favorite! If you look at no other photo, look at this one! There is no doubt she is her father’s daughter! 

A Trip to the Fair


How was your weekend? We had a good one.

Saturday our in-laws drove up and we all went to the State Fair. I LOVE fairs, really, there is something about the combination corndogs, blinking lights and cheap stuffed animals that just gets me. This trip was not disappointing.

First we started with food. I positively enjoyed the tasty deliciousness that is known as the caramel apple.

Then we made a beeline for the petting zoo. There were of course goats and sheep, but there were more exotic animals as well, like llamas and kangaroos.

That’s Kennedy with her Nana. She’s not so sure about the llama. Next to the petting zoo was a series of farm life exploration stations. Kennedy was more into the corndog.

She liked the tractor though.

Then we visited the clown. It was the least scary clown I’ve ever seen. Kennedy got a hot pink balloon dog.,

Then to the stage, where we boogied.

And, finally, to the rides! I had been looking forward to a family trip around the ferris wheel all week, but it turns out all riders must be 36” tall to ride. So I have to wait till next year.

We settled on the merry-go-round.

On our way out we spotted lawn mower pull races. Some of the tractors were fitted with V8 engines(, I’m told that’s ridiculous.) Devin loved it. He got his Louisiana Redneck on.

All-in-all, it was a good time. And what’s a perfect Saturday without watching the Tigers beat Bama? Geaux Tigers! (Sorry, I felt it was my moral duty to slip that in somewhere.)