Monday, April 26, 2010

Fun times

We're a pretty happy family--and we have lots of fun to show for it.

That hair sure is getting long, isn't it?  She's got herself a nice mullet going on now...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Daddy's Girl

Kendra loves her Daddy.

I love how this series is such a great representation of all the little looks she gives us all the time--it makes for a very accurate depiction here for all of you.  :)

But what's most sweet is how she responds to Daddy.  For example, when he comes home...

And then there's the night time routine...she knows just what to do.

It's so sweet how much these two love each other...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Brookfield Zoo

I happened to be in the library on the right day to score the pass for the Brookfield Zoo--just as the weather started getting really nice.  Score!  We were excited to take our little girl, and to check out the zoo (neither of us had been).  It was totally fun!  (But what's with charging $9 to park?  Seriously.)

It's a pretty neat zoo.  It's set up so that many of the animals are housed, which was nice because the day we went there was just a little nip in the air if you were outside for too long, so dodging indoors worked out really well for us.  They have lots of really great exhibits.

I really liked the giraffes, I've never seen any so up close before!

But the real highlight for me was the primate house.  Oh.  My.  Heck.

When I was about 8 years old I watched Gorillas in the Mist and became completely fascinated with monkeys and apes--in fact I spent a better part of the next decade wanting to study them.  This house wasn't like most displays, where the monkeys and apes are all in a big box indoor or outdoor and you look through a window.  Not at this zoo, though!  They have a huge house built for the primates, and you view them without a barrier from a couple of stories up.  It was so cool!

The gorillas were the best part.  They have them on their own little mountain and there is a walkway that goes all the way around it, from varied elevations so that you can see them from the top level or from above.  It was awesome!

It was very, very cool.  I'm pretty sure that I could have stayed in there all day.

The zoo was packed full of fun and interesting animals--we highly recommend it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Definitely not in Kansas...

I found a few more pictures from our vacation to New Mexico/Arizona on my purse camera, yeay!

To give you a little background, understand that I was born and raised in Kansas.  I love what Sinbad has to say about my homeland.  He joined the Air Force with big dreams of seeing the world when he was a young man and he got stationed in Wichita, Kansas.  "You know what's in Kansas?  Nothin'!  All the birds, they just fly around in circles and DIE cus they ain't got no trees to land on!"

That's actually not far from the truth.

So when I go to places that actually have...landscapes, I'm pretty in awe.  The first time I went to Utah, I dragged my best friend outside at the crack of dawn after less of a night's sleep and more of a nap between days to go look at the mountains because it had been dark out when we arrived.  I think (hope) that my childlike enthusiasm helped her to forgive me for not letting her sleep in after our red eye flight from New York.
The drive from Albuquerque to Mesa was gorgeous.  I absolutely fell.  In.  Love.  Let me show you why.

Aren't those hills just singing to you?!  And the saguaros!  They don't have plants like that where I come from!  Heck they don't have anything like any of this where I come from!

Like I said.  In.  Love.

These pictures are from a little pit stop we made on the way out of Mesa to take a glance around and see if maybe there was a tarantula that wanted to come home with us and be the prize of the collection for having been the wild-caught.  There wasn't.  But we did get this family photo instead.

SO.  In.  Love.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nope, not gonna share

Kendra had a little bit of a rough evening yesterday.  She woke up a little more than an hour after we put her down from what we think was a pretty vivid nightmare--she'd stop crying if we brought her out and played with her but she was so exhausted that she couldn't actually do anything, so we figured she needed to go back down whether she liked it or not.  She cried for a few minutes and was fine for the rest of the night.

Earlier, we were playing with her when she bonked her own head on the floor.  Poor thing!  She wasn't very easy to calm down, so we busted out an Otter Pop.  Otter Pops save the day, don't they?

Ohhhhh, we cracked up when she was doing this.  And it was very gratifying to catch it on video so we could share it with you!

She's awesome, that little girl of ours.  But I'm biased...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Best Five Bucks

After a very mild winter by Chicago standards, spring has sprung unbelievably early.  I'm used to wearing sweaters through April, mind you.  The past few weeks it's been pretty gorgeous and almost every afternoon I take Kendra outside to the park across the street to walk around, discover the world and just get a good dose of Vitamin D the old-fashioned way.  This massive park is why we chose this apartment, after all.

However, we ran into a significant glitch pretty quickly in this ritual.

Kendra is fiercely independent.  She can do it herself, thankyouverymuch.  She didn't do much cruising along furniture and she cried every time we tried to hold her hand to help her to learn how to walk.  So, good luck trying to get her to hold our hand now that she can walk pretty well.  If I steer her head the way I want her to go, she almost always responds, but she will not hold my hand.  Not on your life, mister.

One of the first times we went outside, she was standing beside me when we got to the door of our building.  However, in the time it took me to put the key in the lock (about 4 seconds), I looked up to see that she was nearly at the corner about to walk into the street.  And she's not even running yet.  It completely freaked me out because while we don't live on a major road, there is plenty of traffic, especially in the afternoon.  

Luckily I had enough time to sprint to her and keep her from getting to the crosswalk, but it still terrified me to my core.  I didn't take her out for a couple of days after that.

But the next time we were out shopping I found this:

Yep.  It's a dang harness.  With a leash attached.  And it's the best $5 we've spent since she started walking, I'll tell you.

The first time we used it in a crowd of people, we got mixed reactions.  I heard a group of kids say to each other, "Is that kid on a leash?" and we were getting plenty of funny looks.  But then as a mother walked by with her two children she said to me, "I need one of those!" I felt a little better.

At the end of the day I decided that I'd rather be a neurotic mother who puts her baby on leash than a crazy one who went off the deep end after her baby ran out into the street or was kidnapped or something awful.

So, I don't mind if people judge or give me funny looks.  It doesn't bother her and it gives me peace of mind.

More good parenting...

Last weekend Kendra was walking around while I was tidying up and suddenly, without any apparent provocation, started crying pretty intensely.  I stopped what I was doing and picked her up to examine her when I saw a very small cut inside her mouth...probably caused by the ball point pen in her hand.

I didn't think baby Tylenol would be effective so I thought for a moment what else I could give her for the pain in her mouth...

Then I remembered the Otter Pops.  Perfect!  It totally turns those tears to giggles, I love those Jedi Mommy Moments when I awesomely know just what to do.  But you know what happens when someone eats a blue popsicle?

I'm pretty proud of this shot, actually. At first I was trying to get her to smile but then I remembered that she sticks her tongue out at you if you do it first, which made the desired display of the colored tongue much easier!

Such a pretty girl...

And so delightful, too!  She's seriously just the funnest little girl to be around...

And here's a close-up of all those teeth on the bottom.  She's got 8 now!  And it REALLY hurts when she bites!