Saturday, April 13, 2013

Zoo Beginnings

 Elise is 3 now. A magical age. A fun age. An age full of adventures and surprises so last weekend I surprised her with a trip to the zoo followed up by a picnic in the park. It was a little chillier than I'd hoped but it ended up being an amazing day!

Look Mommy! Penguins!
 We were probably the first people the animals saw that day since we got there when the Zoo opened to beat the rush. It was a little like having our own private day with just a couple other families.

Ooooooooh! BIG kitty.
 The other tiger came over to the glass quite a few times but I missed out on the Kodak moments being in awe of it's sheer size and muscle.

Why so blue Mr. Meerkat? You look like you could use a friend.
The best part of our zoo trip (aside from the Dolphin show, seriously if you haven't been to the show you should make the trip) was this little encounter Elise had with one of the meerkats.

I'll give you a kiss. That always makes me feel better.
 I was just snapping away, letting her do her thing. Our little Miss Tenderheart is so sweet with animals. She was "talking" to the meerkat for a couple minutes in a quiet little voice. It sounded like she was asking him what his favorite color was and other very important toddler questions.

Thanks little girl! That cheered me right up!
 We've been watching a lot of The Lion King lately. It's her latest movie craze, last month was Little Mermaid and Lilo and Stitch before that. It's kind of what inspired me to do a zoo visit again.

"High five me!"
 When he came over to the glass after she said "High five me!" and put his paw up I almost fell over.

That smile!
He just hung out there with his paw right on her hand.

We are so lucky to have such a happy little girl! Before she took her hand off the glass she looked at me and said, "Mommy, he's my best friend." Now granted she says that about seemingly everyone right now but in this moment I think she really meant it.

No longer scared of the slide!
 She wanted to play on the little playground, not unusual for a kid, but she has been scared of slides and climbing things for a long time so I get a little fluttery with happiness each time she tries something new.

"I like Pamigones. They're my favorite bird."
 Her (current) favorite color is pink so I knew she'd get a kick out of the flamingos. I got a kick out of hearing her try to say "flamingos".

She wanted to try this bouncing thing. Brave!
 Back to the park for some bouncing. She waited patiently for her turn and even said thank you to the boy after he was done. Manners are really pretty easy to teach kids if you make it a part of their daily life. That's something Mike and I are both firm on, please and thank you!

Picnic at the park
 We hadn't been back to Holliday Park since we moved out of that area and it was the perfect day to revisit it. She's all about having picnics at home with her play food so I thought she'd enjoy a real one.

Strike a pose!
Of course we had to hike down to the river to throw some rocks in and I snapped this little gem. She's such a "big girl" now. She'll always be our baby but she's certainly not a baby anymore!

Someday soon she'll be too big for this.
No trip to the park is complete without some swinging. Thanks, Cuppy, for getting this shot for me and joining us at the park!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Toddler Adventures

It really has been far too long since I got a chance to update this thing and I honestly kinda forgot about it in lieu of other things. I finally finished school and our home season is over so there's some breathing room for a couple months to adjust to the new work schedule. It's hard to get used to shipping Elise off to daycare 5 days a week but she really likes her school so that helps a little (more on that another time). Since she gets less face time with us now we try to do something fun on the weekends to ensure she has some quality "family time". Last weekend we took her to the Indianapolis Children's Museum for some Sunday morning fun.

Zoom-zoom! Riding with Daddy.
 We got a membership in the spring and I was taking her just about every week for a few months since I was home during the day with her. It's great that even though we've been there a lot she still doesn't get tired of anything! That speaks volumes about the amount of things they have for kids to do there. If you haven't taken your little ones I highly suggest doing it.

Usually this train table is swamped so Elise enjoyed a chance to play!
 Elise has only recently become more bold and confident in her own movements. We had a hard time getting her to roll over/crawl/walk so it's no surprise that things like jumping, climbing, and stairs are still challenges for her at times. We just encourage her to do them and praise her like crazy when she does so she'll keep trying. She's come really far in these areas, even going up steps without holding onto our hands every time, and I love watching her do her little prance/jump around the apartment.

Zebra Daddy helping our little bee across the rocks.
 The new Hot Wheels exhibit just opened a couple weeks ago, replacing the Barbie exhibit. It's pretty darn cool!

Hot Wheels!!!
 By far, the best thing about the Children's Museum is the carousel. As members we have unlimited rides ($1/ride for non-members) and boy do we take advantage of that! Her favorite animals to ride are "Pete" the horse, the tiger, the lion and of course, the giraffe. Giraffes seem to have settled in as her favorite animal and I like to think my mom had a little hand in that since they were her favorite too. I can't wait to take her to see some real ones at the zoo, and even maybe fork over the little extra to feed one!!

By far the best picture I took that day.
I'll try my best to update the blog more often, maybe do some archive posts to show what all has been going on this past year with her. Goodness knows I have hundreds of pictures and even more stories to share!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It comes that time again that I am reminded that I actually have a blog that is seriously neglected.
The public may just have to concede to the fact that we just aren't "bloggers". Nonetheless, we (Jeana and I) will try to update as we see fit.

Recently, we had a family outing going to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. I purchased a year membership there to help give Elise more variety than what is provided at home and daycare.
Needless to say, Elise loves her trips to the museum.

This is Rex...and greets the children at the entrance. Rex is only there for a small time upon opening at the museum but Elise adores greeting Rex.
As you can probably guess, she loves the carousel.
Being a yearly member, we get unlimited & free rides on the carousel. This day she rode "Pete" the horse, a giraffe and a lion. She would ride it all day if we let her.
More pictures will be added by Jeana....probably sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

First of all, yes, I'm well aware of the fact that this blog hasn't been updated as often as many would like. Truth be told, Elise takes a lot of attention and when she's asleep...the blog isn't high on the priority list of things to tend to in the short window of time I/we have. Nonetheless, we'll do what we can, when we can. This will be a long blog to make up for it.

Much has happened since the last update. I'll try and cover as much as possible. Elise got to go on her first airplane ride. Cars, vans and buses she was used to. This was a different animal.
There is a lot of preparation in taking a toddler on a flight. The truth be told, although I'm more knowledgeable about the protocol, I'd rather not have her fly again until she is a bit older. The only thing that was a parental preparation fail was on the flight out to Las Vegas we figured she'd do better if she was freshly rested and less apt to be cranky. Wrong. She was alert...and being a non-stop flight (which is the only way to fly when you have a young one in tow), she wanted to touch everything. Jeana and I did a sufficient job of containing/entertaining her during the flight without too much disruption to the other surrounding passengers but we also learned our lesson.

Elise reads her safety information before take-off.

All in all, we just wanted to relax and have Elise spend some time with her Grandma, Grandpa and also meet her cousin (Tara) and her Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Mike. We also met Tara's newborn boy, Max. Elise was definitely intrigued by the wee baby but not too much since he didn't do much. Explaining to her that she was like that a year ago would've been futile. We also wanted to see some of the sights. Jeana hadn't seen much of Las Vegas and Elise, obviously, hadn't seen any of it....and Elise would like some of the bright lights.

We did get some unexpected VIP treatment thanks to Amber Jones, who is the stage manager for Barry Manilow (and "retired" but active roller derby girl). We asked if she had any availability for us to see the show and she said "yes" but it was for that same night and it was Barry's last show for a few weeks. Luckily, that's what Grandma/Grandpa are there spend quality time with Elise while Jeana and I get some adult time. We weren't expecting the VIP treatment. We picked up our tickets at will call and we were given complimentary programs and shown to a private elevator. We were then escorted to a bar for VIPs where they give you complimentary water, soda and/or champagne (with a strawberry) in a Barry Manilow-etched champagne flute. We were then shown to our seats that were up high and center. There were panels to "guard" the VIP section from the rest of the viewers. It was interesting as I'd never encountered such a thing, at least from that perspective. It was a great show, however. I don't claim to be a huge Barry Manilow fan but he is an accomplished musician and I appreciate that greatly and he showed why he is in such demand, that night.

Of course, we wanted to see some other sights so we went to Boulder/Hoover Dam.

Jeana, Elise and Mike in front of the Boulder/Hoover Dam and the new bridge that was recently built.

Mike, Elise and Grandma Sandberg overlooking Lake Mead/Colorado River. Note the water table lines and how much water used to be here. Staggering.

We wanted to see some aquatic life and bought tickets for the Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay. You REALLY should like sharks if you're willing to pay to go to this. There are sharks..yes. They have quite a mix of sea-life but the price and what you get in return is less than I had hoped. We also heard of there being a large aquarium at, of all places, Bass Pro Shops. So we went afterwards. I really wished we went there first. It has a very large aquarium that was sized just right and had a decent amount of sea-life in it. It also had a little alcove that was perfect to wheel her stroller into.

Elise makes friends wherever she goes and they will go through great lengths to hang out with her.

I also mentioned going to my favorite part of Las Vegas. Historic downtown Las Vegas. It's a little seedier but it gets away from the Disneyland-effect that the Strip has become to a great degree. However, it reminds me of Venice Beach, California. It has some street performers and just odd characters. There is also the Fremont Experience on Fremont Street ("Glitter Gulch"). It's a canopy light show that is free. It uses 12.5 million led lights controlled by 10 computers and the theme changes regularly. It's pretty neat and one of the free things to see in Las Vegas.

Jeana and Elise during the psychedelic portion of the show.

Elise and Mike being mesmerized by the bright lights of Las Vegas

Of course, I did a few trips on my own....mainly visiting Denver's Choppers and talking with Mondo and his assistant, Bill. It was neat to look at some of the bikes he has worked on and some of the others in progress. I also had to do my obligatory trip to In 'N' Out Burger. If you don't know're better off...because it can be an addiction. Jeana and I also went to Craftsteak for our gourmet dinner. Jeana, having chef experience, knew of the owner of this restaurant and his reputation as a chef. Needless to say, it was a tasty dining experience. Maybe one day I'll get to return and afford some of the high-end entrees.

While the men are away, the women will drop their top and cruise.

On the return trip, we wore Elise out so she'd take a nap on the plane and it worked. She slept the majority of the time on the plane. All in all, we had an excellent vacation and Jeana was subjected to multiple games of dominos....and now we have a domino set and now seeking redemption of her multiple losses.

A few weeks after vacation, we wanted to further work on Elise's walking progress. Jeana had tried day after day to no avail. When Jeana went to go to a roller derby practice, I was determined to get her walking and make progress. So I tried a few techniques. I found that her milk cup was a motivator. I set up the video camera and documented some small successes. A lot of video editing and I came up with this little gem.

Update more very soon!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010


For Elise's first Halloween she dressed up as a little duckie! Here she is with the little Elise sized pumpkin we picked out.

I don't understand what's going on but this orange thing is kinda cool.
Since she's one of those kids that prefers to stand over all else we took the opportunity to get some shots of her on her feet.

Just stand here a look cute? Eh, give me a minute.

Here ya go, how's this for cute?

We went over to the Irvington Halloween Festival and luckily it was a nice day for it. A little on the breezy side but it was great to get out and see all the homemade wares at the Indie Handicraft Exchange, the people and dogs in their costumes, get a taste of the ever awesome Papa Roux, and support NRG.

At the end of the day they have a costume parade where essentially everyone in a costume can walk in the parade. We stood on the side of the road waving and watching for a little bit before Elise was starting to yawn. Luckily the parade was headed in the direction of the car so we just hopped right in and took a stroll. All the people waving at us on the side had Elise's little hands going back and forth between waving and clapping. SO many cute little kids there and some pretty creative adults too (a guy with 2 little kids dressed as bees and him as a bee keeper, lol).
It was nice to have a mellow, fun holiday and we look forward to next year when she can actually walk in the parade!

Her expression is pretty priceless.