Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jacksonville Zoo

Kylie and I started our tour of the Jacksonville Zoo at the Plains of East Africa exhibit. We saw crocodiles, wart hogs, antelopes, cheetahs, lions and colobus monkeys. On one side of the boardwalk, there were zebras and ostriches that really held Kylie's attention. On the other side were trees filled with storks. Tons of storks! I kept saying "Wow!" over and over. People were walking by us, looking at me strangely, but I was so impressed with these huge birds.

This guy perched on a beam over my head and seemed as interested in me as I was in him. Either that or he thought my 3 year old looked like a tasty morsel. These things are huge! Had a really "Jurassic Park" moment looking at him looking at me.


From there, we went to the Stingray exhibit which Kylie and I just loved. You can put your hand in the water and the stingrays (which have their stingers trimmed so they won't hurt anyone) coast under your fingers. It's an incredibly sensation. Standing there listening to Kylie gasp and squeal (with me gasping alongside her), I felt incredibly grateful that we have zoos so that we can appreciate animals such as these.


We rode a train around the zoo that wasn't very impressive but a nice break from the sun and walking. Kylie was just tickled to be riding a train.

Kylie overheard some kids talking about riding the carousel so we went there next. It's a beautiful merry-go-round.



Finally, the kiddo was pretty pooped. She found this quiet area in a group of trees and took a break--just soaking it all in.

We have a lot more to see at the zoo and look forward to going again.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Bento lunches week of 7/27 - 7/30

Roast beef and whole wheat tortilla roll-ups, pirate booty, plums, blueberries and grapes.

Cheese cubes, triscuits, yogurt-covered pretzels, frozen peas (these worked great and she ate every one of them!), strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges.

Pastrami (she told me immediately to never pack that in her lunch again. Smelled awful and tasted awful Mommy!), grapes, Craisins, pretzel rods, cheese-its.

Turkey sandwich, carrots, shredded cheddar cheese (she ate all of it; much better than the solid bite sized pieces), apple slices, raisins and other dried fruit bits, grapes.

I forgot to take a picture on Monday. But I'm pleased a nabbed a picture on the other days. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

iPhone 4

Kiddo loves our iPhones. She is a pro at navigating the apps on them. Her new favorites are the StoryChimes children's books that read to her. Here she is playing with my iPhone 3 while my iPhone 4 was charging.



And here are my first two pictures off the new iPhone. I had heard that the picture quality on the new ones were much better and I would have to agree. Not nearly as grainy-particularly on the close shot. Kiddo was playing in our neighbor's sprinkler (and got a face full of water spray) while I picked up magnolia leaves. These shots are straight out of the camera.


The feature I was most looking forward to with the new phone is the video feature.  Here is Kylie screaming her head off at the sprinklers.  Turn your volume down.  She's really screeching here.

And here is a better one of her singing the days of the week song. "Start each day with a smile. Make each day full of fun. So let's make each and every day. A very special one."

Nope, I'm not adverse to bribing my child with ice cream to get her to sing on camera.  

Women's Half Marathon

For my fortieth birthday in November, I'm going to run the Women's Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, FL. I'm terrified and excited.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three gems

Kylie came up to me smelling her fingers. Then she held them out for me to smell and asked, "Mommy, do my fingers smell like frogs or flowers?" Could there be a more perfect three-year old question?

In picking Kylie up from summer camp school, she proudly marched out of the classroom bathroom, threw her hands over her head and shouted triumphantly, "I pooped in the potty at school!"

Kylie loves to grab my fingers at any given moment and play a quick round of ring-around-the-rosy. She plays it with the kids at school, the kids at the pool, basically anyone who stands still for just a moment near her.






Monday, July 26, 2010

Pictures and stories

Long-time reader and Portland friend Alayna recently asked in a comment:
If you're looking for a post topic, I'd love to hear about how you decide which photos to actually print out and/or frame. Since I got my new digital SLR, I have tons of new photos that I LOVE, but I can't print/frame them all, and so I feel paralyzed. Thought you might have some advice on that? Thanks and hope you all are enjoying your new beachy home!

Hi Alayna! Thanks for commenting and congratulations on your new digital SLR. It looks like you are having a lot of fun taking great garden and kiddo pictures. As you know, I shoot pictures like crazy. Even after my initial edits, I'm still left with a ton of them.

Before we moved to Virginia, the only purpose of my pictures were for this blog, Flickr, scrapbook pages and 4x6 prints for our family.

In creating a scrapbook page, I would look at a series of pictures and ask myself, "Which picture(s) best represents the story?" Or
"Which picture will trigger the memory?" And if that fails, I go with something I read in a photography book somewhere which is
"Where is the action? Or "Which photo has the best action?"

For the photos sent to our family members in Tennessee, I just go with lots of variety--Kylie in lots of different outfits doing lots of different things.

When we moved to VA, I had a huge wall in our dining room that was just begging for framed photos of Kylie. To help me pick my absolute favorites, I created a new Flickr set. You can see the set here. And then I just let the question "Which pictures should I choose for this wall?" run around in my head for a few days. AND I didn't look a the Flickr set. The answer bubbled up from inside me. I knew that I wanted this photo to be my focal picture because it was my favorite. It was the one that I would be most disappointed not to see. I converted it to black and white and it just shone as a large 15x19 print in a Ikea Ribba frame.
(photo from May 2009)

I picked the other photos (the first seven photos in the set) due to the memories they evoked. As you know, I shoot candid shots of Kylie, never asking her to pose. And even though I use a high shutter speed, I very rarely get a "tack sharp" photo. There is usually some sort of blur due to incorrect exposure, shutter speed, movement, etc. But I did factor "How blurry are the edges of her face, her eyes and such in this one?" when I made my decision on which to enlarge and which to keep to a 5x7 size.

When we moved to Florida, I went around hanging pictures with Command Picture Hanging Strips. They really do come off cleanly which allows me to feel like I can experiment without messing up the walls. I just saw this frame unit from PB Teen which looks very cool too.

I hope this rambling post helps a bit. I leave you with this last piece of advice from Ali Edwards in her book "Life Artist":
It is OK to...
Let go of the feeling that there's a right or wrong in what you are doing.
Let go of the feeling like you need to have a specific style.
Let go of the need for perfection.

And here are a few recent pictures of the kiddo. (Not much action here...breaking the guideline I just wrote about above...but they are sweet anyway.)



Friday, July 23, 2010

What Kylie is reading- July

Fancy Nancy: Pajama Day (I Can Read Book 1)
We read lots of these Level One Fancy Nancy stories. They seem to be the perfect amount of text on the page and story for Kylie's interest level right now.

No, David!
I remember that I didn't particularly like the David books when I first saw them. I thought the nose-picking, naked-streaking, accident-causing mishaps in the book would give Kylie some wrong ideas. Now that she is three years old, the books seem delightfully on the mark. David makes Kylie smile and she loves the illustrations.

I Spy A Butterfly (Scholastic Reader Level 1)
I spy a butterfly
Kylie and I both love our I Spy books. She cuddles next to me on the couch or bed as we look for the items on the page. She seems to like that it is different than reading; more like we are solving puzzles together. I just love the quiet and close time together.

Highlights High Five
Highlights High Five Magazine
My Mom got Kylie this magazine subscription for Christmas. Kylie has gotten more interested in the magazines this past month. She likes that she gets a magazine in the mail just like Mommy does. She asks me to read one of the quick stories during her playtime. She'll glance at the pages as she continues her play, mostly just liking to her my voice. And she likes looking at the magazine on the drive to school too.

National Geographic Image Collection
National Geographic Image Collection
I picked up this photography coffee table book the last time we were at the library. And Kylie was intrigued by all of the photographs. We had a great discussion about a photograph where some of the people were in focus and others were blurry. She was trying to understand that the people weren't actually blurry people that the picture representation was blurry. I plan to look for more of these coffee table books at the library in the future.

These are just some of the newer books that we've been reading. Hope you enjoy the list!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Kylie and I went to Hannah Park this afternoon.

Although they have some very fun water-fountain sprinklers, I don't think we will be back. Why?

Because of this.
I thought this sign was a joke but it was posted several times.

And notice, it doesn't say "Beware of alligators". Oh no, it just says "Hey, they are around (and to such a degree that we need to post signs about them) but please don't feed them."

Yep, I live in Florida.

Wordless Wednesday