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  • Archive for the ‘Baby Teddy’ Category

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    mud

    One evening about a month ago I was on the side yard garden taking photos. The light was getting good over there, a mix of darks and lights from the filtered evening sun, and I had been filling up one of Forest’s watering cans for him to water plants, or as what usually happens, his feet. Letting him play solo, in eye and ear shot, for a few minutes I wandered around the garden. When I came back to see what he was doing I found him making a muddy mess in a half filled planter that wasn’t being used by the potting bench. It was nearing bath time so I let him be, going to town with the mud and water and in general having a grand ol’ time!

    The light continued to be good so I messed around with settings to see what I could come up with as he played. It reminded me of some of the mud pies I would make as a kid his age, where I played in a sand box near an old playhouse in the house I lived in from birth to 5 year old.

    This kid is the best! In that second to last photo he is showing you an ‘icicle’—aka: triangle.

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    Forest and I are here at home this morning and I’m listening to a PBS cartoon and some eggs boiling before we head off in 30 minutes for a doctors appointment. Some inconsolable crying resulting in Forest finally telling me that his ears were hurting this morning at 6am. *sigh* Last September for his 2 year checkup at the pediatrician, the doctor was fairly certain one of his ear tubes had fallen out. Now I wonder if the other one is out and we’re back into ear infection territory. After some Tylenol was administered and some cuddling on the couch he is now acting like everything is normal but I know kids are a lot more happy-go-lucky when they are not feeling well, so off to the doctor we will go just to see what is going on.

    The last six or eight weeks Chris has been working on and off over on Bolivar peninsula for a beach renourishment project. It is a close enough project that Forest and I could drive down there for the weekend when Chris was working so we’ve spent a few weekends doing some beach related activities down that direction. I’ve not spent a ton of time on Bolivar despite living in Galveston for four years in college so it was interesting to see that area a little more. If you recall, Bolivar was obliterated by Hurricane Ike back in 2008. On Mother’s Day we ate at a restaurant near Rollover Pass that had a photo showing how it was the only building that was still standing in the vicinity after the hurricane. Pretty surreal!

    This growing out of toddler and entering little kid phase of life is pretty great for the most part and one of those items is going to the beach. Forest loves the beach and has been having fun playing in the surf zone, building sand castles, and looking for shells and sea glass. I definitely see him boogie boarding and maybe surfing in some distant (really, not so far distant—-*sobs*) future.

    The black you see in some of the photos appears to be a beach stabilization project gone wrong. Bolivar peninsula is highly eroding—hence beach renourishment—and it was rather ugly seeing that plastic coming up off the sand.

    An interesting article from Texas Monthly: My Frail Island

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    Six weeks have almost gone by since I took most of these photos. I’m so far behind but spending evenings outside is a good reason to be behind, right?

    After dinner we hoof it outside, where we wander the yard or head to the vegetable or flower garden to inspect what’s going on. These days it is almost a necessity to drop by the vegetable garden because there is undoubtably something to be picked, even if it is a handful of cherry tomatoes. Sometimes we head out to a spot in the yard that I know something interesting is going on, such as when we had the orange dog caterpillars on the citrus, or if if there are monarchs on the milkweed. Some days we just putter, other days are more productive work in the garden. Lately Chris and Forest have been able to fish together; Forest has been able to sit still and follow directions on the dock and they will sit out there for a bit and fish, with Forest even reeling in some fishes.

    It’s overcast tonight and drizzled earlier but I’m not expecting much in the way of rain, though I wish it would because we need it. The overcastness at least makes me feel less guilty about staying indoors sometimes, which is one reason I wish it would rain at least once a week around here! When it is bright and sunny it is easy to feel like you should be heading outside to enjoy the sunshine.

    Despite all of that, it really is good that we are spending so much time outside and Forest is really getting to know plants and some animals. The other night we spotted a gray treefrog hanging out on a blackberry cane. Gray treefrogs are around but not nearly as common as their frog cousins the green treefrogs. Of course Forest looked for it the following night and I had to explain to him that I didn’t know where the frog went to. One day we watched a pileated woodpecker working on one of the dead pine trees in our neighbor’s yard and that kept him entertained for a little while.

    Soon we will be turning the sprinkler on and filling up the little paddling pool (I can’t write those last few words without chuckling over a certain scene from Bridget Jones’ Diary!) for Forest to play in when the temperatures start soaring. Those days aren’t far away—I’m pretty much to the point where I’m going to have to shower when I do any lunch time gardening!

    What do evenings look like for you right now?

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    Every evening we venture out to the garden to see which strawberries have ripened enough to pick. I usually get an idea of what we need to get when I go through the garden at lunchtime, so when dinner is over and Forest is ready, we get a bowl (or sometimes a plant container) to hold our berry haul. Last night Forest picked out the biggest and ripest of the bunch and chowed down on it, leaving just a little bit of the tip when he was done. This kid eats his berries backwards, from the stem side first!

    Once strawberry season is over it will be snap pea season, bean season, tomato season, and onward throughout the summer. Which means picking something in the garden most nights from here on out!

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    Forest is getting better as talking now, speaking short sentences and saying adorable words and phrases. The way he now says yes, with a little grin, makes me want to nibble his little cheekies as he cackles away. Succinctly saying yes instead of no when he was meaning yes has become more common over the last six weeks. When he says no he usually means no these days. And he will tell you “Don’t want!” if he really doesn’t want!

    But the sweetest is when he says Momma to me and in particular when he starts picking flowers from the yard and bringing them to me. Here Momma as he hands me oxalis, crow poison, and Japanese hawkweed flowers. I just want to bundle him up and tuck him in my pocket to keep there forever. He also likes to say Eat it Momma as he holds out a dripping spoonful of baked beans or a bitten off piece of chicken nugget, to which I reply back that he should eat it and I’m good with my own plate of food. Occasionally I’ll indulge him if it is something he hasn’t already eaten off of or made disgusting. Toddlers are messy eaters, you know?

    Soon he will be speaking even more clearly and the baby words will be gone. I’m doing my best to capture some of it on video so I can listen to it later.

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    “Whoa! Big Boat!” – Forest

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    This is a fun age. I remember liking the toddler stage when I was around Zoe and Grayson, my niece and nephew, at that age. Every day is a new learning opportunity, where something clicks in his brain and new words sprout out of his mouth and phrases are put together. Sure, there are the tantrums, the trying moments, but once you manage to wade through those it is pretty enjoyable being the parents of an exuberant toddler! I mean, it is of course exhausting, too, but thank goodness for weekend naps. Oh, well, when he wants to take them; he’s fond of figuring out how to get out of at least one of them on many weekends lately.

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    It all changes so fast. Words that were unintelligble are slowly becoming cute little words and then slowly clearer, to real words. I keep meaning to get more on video so I can listen to the sweet words one day in the future, before they are gone. Outside, he still loves being outdoors and exploring the yard. We’re on constant caterpillar watch and he loves watching the butterflies. These days it is mostly gulf frittilaries and various sulphurs. The sulphurs are all over out Turk’s cap hibiscus. If it isn’t butterflies, it is keeping an eye out for deer or sometimes an owl or hawk. He loves snakes, well at least toy and cartoon ones—we don’t see too many real snakes—and sometimes earthworms become ‘nake’ when we’re out exploring the yard.

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    I’ve been experimenting with freelensing some and the rest of the photos are from me trying to figure it all out. My friend Joni does it quite a bit with her kids and I’m always emamoured by the photos she takes. It just reminds me to take more photos of this little kid because he’s going to grow up so quickly.

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    Two years ago we started taking photos at a particular spot in Sam Houston National Forest. We were a few weeks later than usual this year but we finally made it out to take photos. I like the progression:

    Misti Chris 1
    Before Forest

    Misti, Chris & Forest 091314
    Two weeks after that first photo

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    Last year’s photo

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    And this year!

    One thing I do notice from being out there and in the photos is that the area needs to be burned again, there’s quite a bit of undergrowth and it doesn’t look as nice as it did those first two times. I’m also annoyed with the painting on some of the trees, I’m guessing to mark trees to be harvested. Trying to frame a photo with them in view is frustrating. It was mid-afternoon when we went this time and quite hot plus Forest had his own idea of what he wanted to do so we didn’t get nearly as many photos as I would have liked.

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    There’s some PawPaw hair going on there!

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    IMG_0426

    For Forest’s birthday we spent most of the morning at the Texas State Aquarium. I hadn’t been since I was a teenager, about 20 years ago, and during that time period went two or three times. I had vague memories of it but couldn’t quite recall everything about it. It appeared based on the website that the aquarium had more attractions but it was also working on an upgrade to the facilities. When we actually arrived to the aquarium I began remembering more about it, recalling that I had been to some of the features before and that definitely some of it was new. They are working to upgrade to include a rainforest exhibit, my guess to compete with Moody Gardens in Galveston.

    We got in half price with our Houston Zoo membership so that was nice because overall I think we were a little disappointed in the aquarium. It wasn’t bad it just wasn’t as interesting as I think we were hoping it would be. We were also looking at it through the lens of being adults instead of kids or teenagers. Chris and I were both ‘meh’ on the dolphin show with both of us agreeing that marine mammal shows have definitely lost their allure over the years. I keep trying to think of what aquarium I’ve been to that I have loved and so far I can only think that I remember really loving the Baltimore Aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium was nice but even I remember being not as impressed despite how that aquarium is touted. I’d like to revisit the Baltimore Aquarium to see how my memory holds up to its actual quality.

    That said, we did have fun at the aquarium and it was Forest’s birthday and he loves fish and just about any animal so we knew he would enjoy the aquarium. He definitely did because it was non-stop ‘oooh’ and ‘oh oh’ for the first part of the visit. The outside attractions were a little harder to enjoy with the heat and humidity but we did have fun! We originally intended to eat lunch at the aquarium but opted later to find something afterward, though we did end up sitting inside the cafe to cool off and split something for a snack to stave off hunger. Forest wanted to nurse and I couldn’t find anywhere that I felt comfortable nursing so we snuck to the second floor and found a little library and nook. Of course once we got there he didn’t want to nurse and wanted to take all of the books off the shelf. Later we ended up back at the car to cool off and nurse because he expressed renewed interest and then we changed to head to the splash pad. Unfortunately we wern’t at the splash pad long before it was closed for cleaning because of a poop accident with another kid. That was probably for the best so we cut out and found an Olive Garden for lunch.

    It was a great diversion from our beach days and brought back a lot of memories for me from being a kid and having a lot of my marine biology interests spurred from those visits to the aquarium.

    Oh, that photo with the ‘Oil and Water’ and the guy holding the sheepshead…well, I saw it on the display and thought, “Man that guy really looks like Pure Florida!” Sure enough I glance at the credit and it is him! Talk about a weird place to recognize someone from the internet!

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