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 is for Alligator

Ever since I moved here, I’ve wanted to check out Avery Island. It’s a State Park along the Gulf Coast. It’s also home of the Tabasco factory. We finally made it last week. The park featured a three mile driving path and you could pull over anywhere to get out and explore. There were alligators everywhere- and nothing to separate them from us. It was kind of insane. There were times when we’d walk, with four children in tow, across a narrow patch of land, water on each side of us. Suddenly one of the girls would spot a pair of frozen eyes staring out of the water… just a few feet from us. Like I said… Insane.

The girls really enjoyed looking for alligators. Kennedy loves animals, and despite the fact that we never spotted a gator in motion, she was fascinated. On more then one occasion I had to restrain her from going over to pet one.

Perhaps more fun than alligator spotting were the wide open fields. (Just make sure you bring bug spray.)

Babies and sunshine…. I don’t think there is a better combination.

There’s also a nine-hundred-year-old Buddha on the Island. His shrine is guarded by a pair of elephants.

And an Aviary Nest. (Sadly, the girls weren’t impressed after being so close to the gators.)

It was around this time that Kennedy lost her boot to the alligators. She dropped it in the water from aviary lookout post platform, which was about 30 feet in the air. So, no worries, she was in no danger, other than from the wrath of her mother. I was emotionally attached to those boots. Who wouldn’t be? Little green boots in size 6… worn for a just moment in time.

And then gone forever…

We didn’t make it to the Tabasco factory. A lack of shoes wouldn’t have stopped me, but tired babies are a different story. As the shoe dropped… so did the little one’s moods. It was time to head home. I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to sample the Tabasco ice cream included on the tour, but, oh well, an excuse to go back, right?


We’ve been in Chicago and it’s suburbs for almost two weeks and the cold has had me longing for the balmy 70 degrees at home. But today something amazing happened. The cold let up. The thermometer rose. The temperature broke records, specifically, record highs! That bad boy rose all the way up to 80! (The average temp this time of year is a cool 46 degrees. Brrr.) Kennedy and I spent most of the day soaking in the vitamin D, sans coats and mittens. It was blissful.

We spent the morning exploring a little park in Schaumburg, getting in touch with nature.

Even though everything was brown, I could feel spring was in the air.

Kennedy didn’t give a hoot about spring. She just wanted to see the ‘duckies’ (aka geese).

Made. Her. Day.

Especially when they swam right up to her.

“One, Two Duckies!”

“More Duckies!”

“Hi Duckies!”

It’s going to be a sad day when she learns how mean those bastards can be.


I left you last week with a few images from our long day at the Airport. Well here we are, in my hometown, my first love, Chicago. And before I go on to describe how the streets of this city will forever remain the mac to my cheese, let me say, dang it is COLD! Some days it is so cold it hurts my face. These people are singing praises at 40 degree weather! It makes me want to sit by the fire, curled in a ball of heavy blankets and drink hot coffee until spring shows up. I’ve been spoiled by Southern Winters.

This trip is centered around family visiting, so I don’t have much to show you in the way of Chicago’s most fabulous attractions(cross your fingers and add “yet” to the end of this sentence). Most of our nights look like this:

Every night we eat dinner at my Papa’s nursing home. He’s an amazing person, he was born in Germany and moved here during WWII. He speaks three languages that I know of (he may very well speak more). I wanted to be just like him growing up. He owned a little Italian restaurant, and I swear, to this day I’ve never had better Chocolate mousse. Before that, he ran a club downtown. I remember meeting the mayor there, at Easter Brunch. Today, he suffers from Parkinson’s and seeing Kennedy means the world to him. Seeing them together means the world to me.

Kennedy always takes a night or two to warm up to him, but she’ll always does. The other night she laid her sleepy head in his lap and he just sat there and stroked her hair. It was a beautiful moment. 

Although we live far, we are fortanute enough to have visited several times.

Papa, Mom, Me and Baby in October 2011

Papa and Kennedy, still October 2011.

Before that, July 2010.

And their first meeting, in November 2010. Kennedy was only 4 months old.

Capturing Joy

Things have been quiet around here. The new year has sent me on a cleaning spur… I am determined to make this house a clean and beautiful one if it kills me.

But on to the subject of this post. My joy. My world. My heart. Insert similar word here.

We went to the soccer fields this morning. They were perfect cause Kennedy was able to run free without me fearing too much for her life. And run free she did.

Look at that face… It’s pure unadulterated joy.

Just what I needed to pull me out from under the depths of dust and back to life.

Just perfect.

The purpose of the visit was to photograph the outfit, and thank the giver (it was a Christmas gift)  with a photo. I don’t know which one to send. Maybe I should send an album.

What a great little model. I just let her do her thing.

I love those faces. She just cracks me up.

Have I ever mentioned that the power of Sesame Street  has taken over our house? This post isn’t complete without mention of Zoey, who accompanied Kennedy in this morning’s photo session.

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Thanks for letting me share. I hope this post brought a smile to your face.