Monday, September 08, 2008

My Days

Quail Botanical Gardens

When Taylor first saw this waterfall she said, "It's Hawaii." We were dumb-founded because we weren't sure where she picked up that waterfalls are associated with Hawaii (or that Hawaii is a place, for that matter). We didn't see any waterfalls while we were in Hawaii last year except for a small manufactured one at the Polynesian Cultural Center, but we were pretty sure she didn't have much memory of that trip since she was only 16 months old and didn't even know we were in a place called Hawaii. Or maybe she did...

I remember taking a field trip to Quail Gardens with my Brownie troop when I was five years old. There is a waterfall pool behind Kennedy in this photo that we used for our initiation ceremony. In the ceremony, the Brownies recite the following poem while turning the new girl around. Then they have her look in the water and say her own name. Girls are then pinned. I remember being initiated that day.

"Twist me and turn me
And show me the elf
I looked in the water
And saw myself"

It's amazing that I can remember all this. It seems very weird to me now that I look back, but it is a childhood memory that gives the place a magical feeling for me. It's amazing that 26 years later I can create new memories of the place with my daughter and husband.

(After we visited the gardens, we took a drive by my early childhood house; the path I used to walk to catch the bus; the community pool that I learned to swim in; the gym my mom used to play racquetball; the high school where she ran the track in the evenings in preparation for the 10K race; and the tree next to our house I would climb, which is so big now that I cannot climb it. I moved from that place by the age of 6, but I have a lot of memories of that time. Enough memory that I could identify all these places and remember how to get there. The street I lived on was Evergreen Drive, and today, it is greener than ever.)

Holding up the Forest

She got two scraped knees today, on two different falls.

It had been over 2 and a half years since our last trip to Quail Gardens. Taylor was only one week old then, and it was her first outing. It still seems unbelievable to me that so much time has passed. We took a follow up picture in front of the ivy horse that has grown almost as much as Taylor has.

Welcome, Emma Noelle!

Aunt Tiffany and Emma

Grandma and Grandpa Isaacs with the Kitties

Bear Stare
I love this picture.

She decided to make her own Halloween mask...

(Mom has had her own hair cut at a salon only once in her life - that she can remember - but a salon may be Taylor's only hope, since her hair and her mother can't seem to make peace.)

I thought I might point out Taylor's Bubba Gump smile, which is also featured in some of the pumpkin and pony pictures below. She sometimes sticks out her lower jaw when she is embarrassed/insecure. She also plays with her belly button for comfort. She began doing it as a baby when she drank her bottle and would get frustrated if her shirt was tucked in and she couldn't get to it. This is the first time I've seen her do it in public. At least she kept her shirt down.

Trying to look important...

The ride lines were empty. No waiting! It was great.

Manta Rays of Sunshine

With the season passes we bought last spring, we have been to Sea World at least four times. Every time I have anticipated visiting the dolphin pool so Taylor could pet a dolphin (okay, okay, I wanted to pet a dolphin). We always missed the feeding time or (in the summer) it was WAY too busy to bother trying, so on this day (a quiet Wednesday in October), I was determined to get there at feeding time, and hopeful that there would be plenty of opportunity. Well, we got there at feeding time and, to our surprise, everyone present in the park that day decided that petting a dolphin was what they too wanted to do at 1 o'clock. Over the heads I could see hundreds of hands reaching out to half a dozen dolphin beaks. After waiting five minutes under the nearly 90 degree rays of the sun, I was convinced that trip number 4 would not be our dolphin petting day.

So, we headed over the the Manta Ray pool, which was less crowded and had an awning. We found a spot right away and a couple of very friendly rays kept popping their heads up out of the water to let Taylor pet them. Actually, they were probably expecting food, since you can buy squid to feed them. (At $6.00 a plate, we passed on the deal.) The demonstrator assured the crowd that they don't bite, but they kept trying to eat out of Taylor's hand and I thought they might mistake her fingers for fish. She was over-joyed at touching the rays and petting their eager heads. To her, they might as well have been dolphins anyway.

Desert penguins. Still seems weird to me.

They should have scaled down their Big Bird a tad, considering the purpose of the costume is photo-taking with fans under 4 feet tall. He was sitting on a stool, and I still don't think Taylor ever saw his head.

Playing Outside

Taylor enjoying the 100 square foot patch of grass in the backyard. Hopefully the whole yard will be done by next spring.

Kissing the Noo-Noo

Taylor has always been wary of the vacuum. When she hears me grab it out of the hall closet she still runs to the bedroom and scrambles up the bed to safety. Despite her distrust of the contraption she has yet to figure out, she insists on kissing the handle before I put it away (meaning, if I put it away before she has the chance to, she will cry and keep saying, "wanna kiss the noo-noo"). Maybe it's her way of keeping a peace treaty, or proclaiming her victory over it. It reminds me of her desperate attempt at a truce when Kennedy chases, scares, or tickles her. She knows all she has to do is pucker her lips for a kiss and it's all over - daddy becomes safe in an instant. I suppose it's a healthy way to conquer fear. If only it were always that easy for us all.

Waiting to go to "Jesus' house"

Playful Peanut Picks a Peck of Plump Pumpkins

(Remember above where I stated I had never seen her play with her belly button in public. I just noticed that she was doing it when I took this picture.)

What about these?
(Here's that Bubba Gump smile again.)

Hmmm... still too big.

This one's just right!

First Pony Ride

I was so proud of myself...

(The closed mouth version of the nervous Bubba Gump smile.)

Oreo seemed less than enthused to be walking in circles... least he wasn't wearing heels.

My Korean quarter can be seen every once in a while...

Getting So Big

I can't believe how old Taylor looks in these pictures. She is no longer my little baby. We still refer to her around the house as "the baby", but I know she's growing up and it really doesn't fit her anymore. Kennedy and I often discuss how she is changing before our eyes. We love to see her learning new things and progressing, but our hearts wish she would stay this age forever.

Washing my Feet in the Sink

While Mom is out in the backyard gardening (a.k.a. pulling weeds) I take my chance to get down and dirty. I am usually running around in just my diaper anyway, as this is my preferred choice of dress; but, in the event of my backyard adventures (daily), it is especially helpful in keeping the laundry load down. Still, my feet have to be washed a couple times a day, because, like clothes, I have decided that shoes need only be worn in public.

My Stomping Grounds

This outfit was a special gift from Grandma when we visited in Hawaii last year. On this day, I was happy to find that it finally fits. It is white, linen-like, and delicately embroidered. Why then, would my mother dress me in this on the day we were to shop for plants at a 50 acre nursery? My vocabulary is limited, so I tripped into a couple mud puddles to relay this question. I think she got the point.

*Shudder* One for the record books.

Imagine my surprise when I was spraying off Taylor's water table and discovered this frightening creature hiding underneath. We had seen a documentary on poisonous spider bite effects not days before. Needless to say, we quickly treated the whole property. Again, I shudder.

Shopping for plants and in need of a hair trimming

My bangs and my fingernails are forever out performing my mother. From the day I was born she has struggled to keep up with their pace. It is a losing battle, and some weekends (like this one), she just concedes.

The backyard has been a sore sight for a long time. I am glad this photo is dark enough to keep you from seeing the full view. At least at this time. It has been a slow process. It looks much better than it did a year ago, but there is still so much left to do. Last spring we tilled up the weeds and planted grass. The weeds grew back, the grass seed is still down there somewhere. We tried a weed killer, which killed all the weeds except the single most aggressive, crawling weed in the yard. It has taken over and is no small task to uproot. The funny thing is, that weed wasn't able to survive until we got rid of the others. Now, it's our creeping nemisis. A few weeks ago we decided to concentrated our efforts on just one small area at a time. So far, our first plot has been a success. We finally have 100 square feet of grass heaven in our backyard! Baby steps.

Our Latest Additions

I love hibiscus blooms. They remind me of the tropics. They are so large, colorful, and numerous. The hibiscus was a definite when deciding what to plant. We have a couple of them - different colors. This one hasn't disappointed.

I love the foliage on the Mandevilla, and there is always an abundance of new flowers. This also means, however, an abundance of spent blooms that need to be picked up.

The monster in the background is an example of what happens when you don't control a ficus. It doubled in size in 6 months and is now over 15 feet tall. Kennedy cut it into a tree last weekend. I didn't want him to, because I was scared to see what things looked like behind/underneath it. Unfortunately, for both of us, I was right to be concerned. It looks like someone had tried to get rid of it before. Kennedy has exposed two very large, dead looking tree stumps with four existing limbs sprouting out the sides. Another trunk took root about a foot away. Our large ficus was actually three plants overgrown into one. I hate the ficus... because my husband likes to leave tree stumps in their place. See evidence below...

Kennedy cut this tree down before I moved here. The stump remains. Despite its "character", it will not fit in with my tropical theme. At some point, I will make it go.

Yes, that is sugar cane in the background. A few weeks ago we cut up a shoot and enjoyed chewing the pulp. Not surprisingly, sugar cane juice tastes exactly like sugar water.

The sugar cane is a very aggressive plant, and also will be going once we decide what to put in its place. This will delight our neighbors, I am sure. What were the previous owners thinking?

Welcome to the World, Gabriel!

Bella & Gabe

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