Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Life With A {Somewhat} Verbal Toddler, Vol 5

After returning from a trip to the grocery store with BD...

MC: Mama!

Me: MC! Did you have fun at the grocery store?

MC: Yep!

Me: Did you see anyone you know?

MC: Yep!

Me: You did? Who did you see?

MC: People!

Monday, May 26, 2014

MC's First Zoo Trip

We took MC to visit the NC Zoo in Asheboro last week. The weather was absolutely perfect; the zoo was not crowded, and we all had a fantastic time! Almost all of the animals were up and moving around, so we got to see a lot of interesting things.

By far the most interesting animal experience for me was the baboon exhibit. There are two new baby baboons that have been born in the last month. When we walked up, one of the mamas was sitting up on a rock right in front of us and nursing her baby, while the daddy sat right beside her. At one point the baby got distracted so she reached down and tickled his cheek to get him to latch again. It was so neat...I've done that exact same thing to MC!!

NC Zoo is a natural habitat zoo, so no cages with bars. The animals are all in enclosures that match their natural habitats in the wild. I was really impressed by how close-up we were to many of the animals. MC could really see them all very closely and was very interested in most of them.

I was most excited about seeing Patches the polar bear. She is new to the zoo as of Dec 2013 and is still getting used to her new home. The zoo has posted some great videos on FB of her playing in the water, so I was hoping that MC would get to see her in action! She came out for a few minutes to stretch and enjoy the pretty weather while we were there. The polar bear exhibit is undergoing an extensive renovation, scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, so there will be new additions to see soon.

There was a really cute nature themed playground that MC had fun exploring.

And, of course, no visit to the zoo would be complete without some soft-serve ice cream! (And a carousel ride, but I didn't get any good pictures of that.)

By the time we made it around to the Africa side of the zoo, we were getting really close to MC's nap time. We could tell she was getting tired, but she hung in there and enjoyed the last few animals. We very rarely keep her out past nap time or bed time, so we weren't quite sure what to expect.

The giraffes, zebras, and ostriches were all in the same enclosure together. The giraffes seemed to be chasing the zebras around, which I guess is not harmful (no one other than me seemed concerned, LOL!)...and for us it meant we got to see them moving around quite a bit.

We saved the elephant exhibit for last, and this one was right in front of us. MC charmed some of the other zoo visitors by doing her elephant sounds (complete with arm-as-trunk movement) while we watched the elephant graze in the grass.

Friday, May 23, 2014

{Private Blog} MC Video: Itsy Bitsy Spider

Click here to view the video on our private blog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Yardwork and Camera Practice

BD was out in the yard doing some work on the flower beds recently, so I took the opportunity to get in some practice with my camera. It's always easier to concentrate on the camera when I have another set of eyes and hands available to supervise MC. These images are all sooc, no post processing. I'm shooting with my Canon Rebel T4i, with a  50mm f/1.8 lens in these shots. (I know the technical details are probably only interesting to camera people, but it's fun and helpful to do a self-critique!)

BD and MC are thinning and transplanting monkey grass; Mama is working on depth of field - I'm shooting at f/2.8 here, so pretty wide open. You can see BD is pretty much the only object in sharp focus - both the monkey grass and MC have a bit of blur. 

It was a sunny day but we were in a shaded part of the yard so the changing light conditions keep me on my toes. (ISO 100, f/2.8, 1/250)

Using the shutter to stop her motion as she runs. You can see a little blur on her hands but otherwise not much motion. I probably needed to be 2/3 to a full stop faster and would have gotten a sharper image. Plus, I cut off her feet! Rookie mistake!

We were on the deck in the shade, but that hat is still reflecting a ton of light! I'm glad it's protecting her from the sun, but with the reflection off the top and creating shade on her face, it makes a proper exposure almost impossible! (ISO 100, f/1.8, 1/1000 - shooting in Av here, camera set shutter speed really fast!)

Monday, May 19, 2014

{Private Blog} MC Video: Giddy Up, Horsey

Click here to view the video on our private blog.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Strawberry Picking

Last week MC and I met some friends at a local farm for a morning of strawberry picking. It was a first for both of us, and we had been looking forward to it all week.

The weather was perfect -- sunny and warm -- and the plants were loaded with ripe berries. Once I showed her how to pick the berries from the plant, MC quickly caught on to the idea and got busy picking. She would pick two berries at a time - one to put in our box and one to put in her mouth!

We had the berry patch practically to ourselves, so when she got bored with the picking she explored up and down the nearby rows.

We stayed about an hour and went home with around 5 lbs of strawberries!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Life With A {Somewhat} Verbal Toddler, Vol 4

Leaving the post office recently...

Me: MC, we have one more stop to make before we go home. Are you ready to go to the grocery store?

MC: Nooooo.

Me: Where would you rather go?

MC: Mall.

Me: What do you want to do at the mall?

MC: Chop!

Me: You want to shop at the mall?

MC: Yes!

Me: What do you want to go shopping for?

MC: Choooos.

Me: You want to go shopping for shoes? I like the way you think! But I think we better go spend our money on groceries for the week instead of shoes.

MC: Naks!

Me: Yes, we will get you some snacks (i.e. samples from the produce counter) at the grocery store.

Monday, May 12, 2014

{Private Blog} MC Video: All Fall Down

Click here to view the video on our private blog.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Here are some recent pics of our girl; these are from April and early May 2014. MC is 22 months old in most of these pictures.

Our first lunch on the deck of this season! She's also learning to smile on command for the camera, and that tends to produce this hilarious result...

Check out her reflection from the car seat mirror...I guess she doesn't appreciate my taste in music.

Trying on some new jammies for the summer; soon it's going to get too warm for her zip-up footie jammies! And another "smile" for the camera!

Taste testing the chocolate bunny out of her Easter basket. She approved!

Trying on a new swimsuit (over her clothes) that the Easter bunny brought to her.

Last week was gold medal week at gymnastics class, so she came home with some new bling. She and her little friend (cropped out because I don't put pics of other people's kids on the internet) were both so proud of their medals!

Playing with her sand and water table out on the deck. You can tell it's brand new in this pic because both sides are still separate. After 2 minutes of playing with it, she immediately started shoveling sand into the water side and vice versa. She loves it, and it keeps her entertained for 20+ minutes, which is practically a lifetime for a toddler!

We made homemade play dough (and dyed it Carolina blue, obv).

Helping water the plants on the back deck.

One of the local nurseries has farm animals on site - ducks, goats, fish, chickens, etc. We were there to buy some Creeping Jenny plants for the pots on our front porch, but we spent some time visiting the animals and exploring before we shopped.

The geese and ducks share the same pond, but apparently the geese are territorial. Every time we walked up to the fence, the ducks would come happily swimming over (I assume they're used to being fed by people), and the geese on the pond bank would honk and puff up all their feathers to scare away the ducks. MC would laugh and clap and say "Yaaay!" every time the ducks honked.

Every time before she crossed this little bridge, she would turn to me and say "ight back...inna minna!" (translation: I'll be right back. See you in a minute.) I never realize the phrases I repeat to her over and over until she starts saying them back to me!