Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not an artist, but ... Nothing broke.

Quite a few of Olive's friends have celebrated birthdays recently.  I try to get Olive to as many of the parties as we can reasonably attend.  First, we want her to make and develop friendships - and learn to make and develop friendships.  Second, Kyle and I enjoy making and developing our own friendships with the other parents.  Third, we are taking lots of notes for Olive's birthday later this year. 

One recent party was held at a ceramics studio in town.  (To say that I was worried about owing the studio for more than a few broken pieces is an understatement.)  Olive is two.  She isn't great at sitting still.  She loves to jump (and jump and jump and jump), and, generally, she's running or walking "like horsey."  Walking feet are not her favorite.

Still, for the company (and the painting, Olive LOVES to paint and color), we opted in for this party.  (And for the invitation.  When I opened the red invitation emblazoned with strawberries, Olive was immediately head over heals.)

All in all, it was a great time.  Olive painted and (more or less) sat still.  She loved seeing her friends, and I made a few new acquaintences.  We didn't break anything, and (other than her hands) Olive walked away paint free.  (Not that I did ...) 

We haven't seen the final result of Olive's owl mug painting endeavor. I know it won't be a world-renouned masterpiece, but ... we will use it with love!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Zoo Trip.

We went to the zoo this weekend.  One of Olive's friends from school celebrated her third birthday there, and we used the party as an excuse to enjoy a day with some new animal friends.

Before the party, we fed the giraffes.  (So, the three pieces of lettuce were a little pricey, but Olive's face when the giraffe wrapped its long grey tongue around the piece of lettuce she bravely offered was worth every penny!)

We also saw elephants, zebras, lots of monkeys (BIG monkeys, and little teeny tiny monkeys ... which isn't nearly as cute without Olive's hand motions and vocal inflections), sea lions, and a very cool owl.

Zoos (almost every zoo we have visited or heard about recently) are doing a great job of making the animals and the exhibits more REAL for visitors.  I'm so happy about that change.  My zoo memories growing up are largely of very sad monkeys in concrete cages.   Our recent zoo experiences leave VERY different impressions with me.
My favorite part, I think, was stumbling upon a presentation at the lion enclosure.   As we walked up (to see what the crowd was all about), a zookeeper pulled down a large (10ft by 10ft?) sign/panel to reveal a (very thick) chain link wall and three lady lions peering through the links at the crowd.  The primary zookeeper gave a brief presentation. 

She told us all about lions, and the history of these lions (and the male lion sunning himself a few yards away) in  particular.  Her stories were terrific--fascinating, sometimes sad, but really appealing for the kids and adults gathered around. 

During the presentation, two other zookeepers used squirt bottles filled with a mixture of goats' milk and other healthy things to encourage the lady lions to perform.  It really was amazing.  We were 10 feet (ish?) from these lovely creatures.  Olive was enthralled, and Kyle and I were pretty impressed too.

We also had a great time at the party, chatting with friends and getting to know new ones.  Before too long, it was time to get Olive home for a nap. 

All in all, it was a very cool day at the zoo.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trike Time.

It has been an odd few weeks.

We are still under drought conditions.  BUT.  We've gotten a lot of rain--enough to make everything feel soggy and damp.  (And enough to recently put the city on a flood watch.  The weather folks warned of the flood watch - because the ground is/was saturated - while also reminding us that the drought is not over and we still need to be mindful of our use.  All true, but a bit weird to hear together.)

BUT.  When it isn't raining, the weather has been fan-tab-u-lous.

We've enjoyed a few bike outtings. During which we discovered that Olive has already outgrown the bike helmet we purchased for her last year. (Spring? Summer?  I don't recall.)  A trip to purchase a new, properly sized helmet was in order.


We found some kid-sized helmets.  And, eventually, convinced Olive to try several on.  We finally narrowed the selection to a lady-bug helmet (with antennae) and a cat helmet (with ears and a nose).  The kitty cat won.

A few Sundays ago, Olive spent some post-nap, afternoon time riding up and down the driveway.  We both had a ball.

(It is an iPhone photo, and the clarity isn't great.  BUT.  You can see the cute kitty cat helmet.  The Hello Kitty bell that Olive LOVES.  Her pink and purple trike, which is getting a work out these days.  AND.  The bright green crocs that I bought on a whim, but which Olive would wear all day, every day, if we permitted her to do so.)

Monday, February 20, 2012


Despite some craziness in our lives, this post has almost nothing to do with us.

Recently, I enjoyed a walk through our neighborhood.  It was sunny, and just a tad cool.  Lovely.

At the end of my loop, and a few houses from home, I noticed a neighbor, with a gasoline powered leaf blower, perched on a roof, smoking a cigarette, and 'cleaning' the gutters with the blower, while someone down on the ground yelled.  At first, I thought, "Ah!  Someone is trying to keep this yahoo from hurting himself!"  Then, I realized that the person on the ground was yelling instruction.  "Avoid the downspout!!  I don't want leaves there!!"

Although comedic, I cannot imagine that blowing the leaves out of the gutters from above is an overly effective method.  This gentleman's method also included danger of (1) falling off the roof, and (2) catching himself --and possibly the house-- on fire.

Fun. Times.