Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I hate to brag

I am not normally the bragging type, well I guess maybe I am, actually, now that I think of it, I so totally am, but look at my child's lips! And look at her eyes! She is so pretty, of course I thought she was stunning when she was first born and then later when I looked back at the pictures I didn't think she was as stunning as I remembered ... odd huh? Of course all moms think their children are the most prettiest thing they have ever seen. Summer will always be beautiful to me and I cannot stop telling her how beautiful she is and looking deep into her rich greenish/grayish eyes, I am just in love with those eyes and those lips, and the nose too, she has a really cute button nose. I am addicted to trying to take as many pictures of her as I can.

It helps that I am such a great photographer, right? I am going to keep telling myself that anyway, keeps me happy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The new hat

Something as simple as a $2 hat from a swap meet can transform a cute little girl into the cutest little girl in the whole wide world.

Even when the hat doesn't match and even when it looks a little bit out of place at the park, a hat is a magical thing. Of course having eyelashes like that stick out from under the hat can help. And looking like you don't care that I am taking your picture while you prepare to feed the ducks makes the picture even more precious.

How did I get so lucky again? I did something right somewhere.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A real orchard

The weekend started out with a new adventure! A new mommy and her son met Summer and I at a local orchard close to our house. I had never been to a real orchard and neither had Summer (of course) and we learned a few things:
1) It is still really hot in Las Vegas. We were at the orchard by 9:00 and decided to walk instead of pay $3.00 to drive. Driving would have been better because it was really very hot and dry.
2) You need cash to buy food from an orchard, they do not take credit cards yet, they said they were going to try to set it up next year.
3) It is helpful to know about fruits and vegetables, I saw several things that looked edible but I did not know what they were and if they were ripe, or would ripen if picked.
4) Orchards are really large, which makes #1 that much worse.
5) I don't have any fresh fruit or vegetables to eat this week. I thought I would get them at the orchard so I didn't buy any at the grocery store and since I didn't have cash nor did I know what to pick and buy, we are eating frozen this week.
It was still an experience and I did take a few pictures, nothing to be excited about, by the time I wanted to snap a few shots I was so hot and sweaty and the sun was in the worse position, I didn't really bother.
I wish we lived close to a farmer's market, of course they pick the items for you, but I realize that it is much easier to pick items from a basket then off of the plant or tree it grew from.

Friday, September 25, 2009

We live for parks

Since the weather has finally dropped below 100, parks are now the place to go. One of the nicest things about going to a local city park is the admission prices, FREE, and since Summer enjoys herself I don't see any reason not to go every single day. Ok well maybe not every day, but close.

There are a lot of new changes happening in my life right now, the major one being my employment status. As of October 1st I will no longer have a full time job that requires my attention, instead I will be staying home full time with my little Summer and we are going to have so much fun. Daddy is thrilled to have me hanging around all day, together we can share chores and be bored. Oh ya I said we are going to be bored, which is why we will probably spend a lot of time at the park. I have a few part time things lined up, dance instructor for a mommy and me class, newborn photographer and that writing job I mentioned, but that still leaves a lot of time to play.

To meet more moms and keep myself busy I have also started a play group on cafemom.com. If you are a member and want to join a Las Vegas mommy connect group just let me know. Not a member, sign up for free and give me a shout.

I am going to start working out again, October 1st I will be up early doing push ups and jumping all around the house. I feel so much better when I am working out and will get back to it.

But back to parks because it is the title of this blog after all ...

Summer went to the park with daddy and papa on Tuesday (yes they went without me, I was at work) and they had a lot of fun. They went early in the morning and the birds were out in full force.

I love that the ducks and geese and pigeons are so friendly at this park, it makes feeding those critters so much more fun. Summer thinks the birds wait for her, she thinks they know her, well maybe they do, who really knows.

Then Summer and I went to another park last night. I don't have the pictures yet but they sucked anyway because it was too dark. We did meet up with a new mommy and her children, thanks for hanging out with us Rachel, Carissa and Bradley! Casey and Ana also joined us and we had fun watching the kids play. Afterward we stopped and got ice cream.

I have a feeling we will be at a park during some point this weekend too. Wanna bet?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chalking it up

Earlier today I wrote an article for the examiner about the importance of imagination in children. Summer is a blessed child and has a lot of toys, and I am a bad mom because I can't bring myself to get rid of any of them, even the 0-6 month toys, but I regress,( back to my original topic ), so like I was trying to say, finding ways to explore imagination in children should be fun and I think it is. One thing we do quite often to help inspire imagination is play with chalk. Since the weather is beautiful, now is the perfect time to sit outside and draw all over the place, walkways, driveways, bricks, anywhere little hands can reach.

We spent time on the walkway making rabbits, the letters A B and C, and other random scribbles. I love when Summer draws something and tells me what it is, it never looks like anything but she loves to pretend and I love pretending to see what she sees. My only real complaint about chalk is the mess, whenever we play with chalk it makes a huge mess, Summer will end up covered in all different colors and on most days we have to go straight to the bath. I thought the sand box was messy ... but chalk wins hands down!

I really don't mind, messes are cute and Summer is cute so messes and Summer are extra cute. Plus look how happy she is, she has no idea there is a chalky mess all over her face, and how did she possibly get it all over her face anyway? I have no idea, I tend to think the chalk dusk magically flies and sticks where it wants.

She loves chalk, I love chalk, so I am not going to tell her about the mess. I have a child who doesn't mind to get dirt, or chalk, all over her hands and I am going to keep it that way. Don't anyone show her the pictures!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I am a real writer

I have some good news, I am a real writer, I mean of course I have been writing this blog for the past two and a half years but I also work for the Examiner.com now and I had my first article published yesterday, you can check it out here Not only did I write the article, that is my photo! I am really excited so today you can help me celebrate. I don't know what I will do to celebrate, any ideas? Sushi lunch sure sounds good. Summer got something new today that she is enjoying, chocolate milk! She has had it before but didn't seem to like it but today Papa and Daddy took her to the park and stopped at McDonalds and got her a chocolate milk. Kris called and Summer had to tell me all about the milk and how yummy it was. It really is about the little things in life.

This week was also the first time I curled Summer's hair. I wanted to do a few cute photos of her in her red tutu and she picked the black tights to go with it but her hair was a disaster. I asked her if I could curl it with the curling iron and she said yes. I was shaking the whole time because I was so afraid of burning her little head but she sat there so still looking at herself in the mirror and she let me know when she was "all done". The pictures were amazing, you just cannot beat natural light and a black background. I really need to get a smaller curling iron because the three I have are large so the curls weren't tight but she is still so darling, check out her pictures.

She even sat still for quite a while while I took as many photos as I could, the little people in the lens trick is still working, I just ask if she can see the little people inside the camera and she looks right into the lens. You do whatever you have to do to get a good picture!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lower Lost Creek Falls Trail

Random: I still don't like the name of this blog, I changed it a few days ago but ... A day in the life of Summer sounds so boring. I need to get creative and find a new name - send me suggestions!!! You can comment below or email me if you prefer.

Hiking: We went hiking this past weekend and I think it was one of our best hikes yet. It was a child friendly hike but to say it was an easy hike would be a lie, there were so many rocks to climb, yet Summer loves to rock climb and enjoyed the hike, I think she actually walked/climbed 90% of the trail herself. This was the Lower Lost Creek Falls Trail, considered easy and short (0.31 miles one way).

We actually saw a snake on this hike, our first snake since we started hiking 3 months ago. It was a little snake but still, a real snake in the wild. Kris was nice enough to move the rock it was hiding under and hold it up so I could get a picture of it. Somehow I managed to get a clear picture of it, the darn little thing would not stop moving. At one point Kris put the snake near Summer and she looked at her dad like "what the heck are you doing" and slowly backed up. I love when she acts scared of things, you should see how she reacts to the large Halloween decorations.

We also saw a ton of butterflies but none that would stay still enough for a picture of course, a few lizards, several ants, the usual critters we normally see on our hikes. This trail had a lot of really neat areas and we took a lot of cute photos. I guess when the weather is cooler a waterfall flows at the end of the trail but it was dry this time of year. About half way through the trail was a nice man made bridge and off to the side was a natural spring. Because of it, it created a neat oasis will all kinds of shrubs and plants we haven't normally encountered out on our dry hikes. We also don't usually see so many butterflies so they must have been attracted by the spring I guess.

Summer was really into the rock climbing, she did an amazing job getting over those large rocks and had so much fun maneuvering herself without falling or sliding. She kept saying "be careful" and "these are slippery".

Since it is still very sunny and warm in Las Vegas I asked Summer to wear a hat and she managed to keep that hat on for the entire hike. I always slather both of us with sunscreen but have a hard time getting good protection on her face so wearing a hat helps.

Some of the areas on this hike had really neat tunnels made of rocks and these areas were shady and cool, yet the suns rays managed to sneak down into the areas and make them lite up with warm red/yellow colors. It made the light look amazing and the photos reflected the awesome colors we saw.

It was amazing as all of our hikes end up being, we always enjoy getting out of the city and seeing the wildlife and trees, smelling the fresh air, seeing new things and of course taking pictures. Today is the first day of fall, and while technically it still feels like summer, I know the warm temperatures are eventually going to drop and we will have to find new ways to keep ourselves entertained. Of course we could always by heavy jackets and continue hiking, who knows, we may just do that.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Watch ME!

Summer is awesome, but you already know that because I say it all the time. I figured out a new trick to get Summer to look into the camera. I now have little people working in the lens and I ask my child to look for them. Hey, it is really stupid but it works, Summer was really looking into the lens trying to find the little people.

It made for some really cute faces anyway. I was practicing taking photos in low light with the flash, I always prefer to not use a flash but it was dark and Summer was super cute so I figured why not.

Summer's new thing this past week, "Watch ME!" She does it mostly to daddy and papa (somehow I am spared) and repeats over and over "watch me" until they announce that they are indeed watching her. After she has their undivided attention she does something, mostly silly, and the process repeats. She is a sharing child and she usually takes turns, she will "watch me" and then do something then daddy will "watch me" and do something too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summer Loves ...

Summer is a such a great little child who likes it when I want to go some new place late in the afternoon instead of cooking dinner on time. Yesterday around 4:38 we headed to the Springs Preserve to see what they were all about. They closed at six so we didn't have much time. I knew they had a park and Summer could check it out and they had a garden so I could take pictures. It was hot when we got there they had plenty of shade to keep us cool. We headed to the park first because I knew Summer would want to get out of the stroller and exert some of her energy. It is a really neat park, different from most of the parks that we normally visit, the only thing missing from this park was other kids, Summer was alone in a world full of new adventures.

Having the place to yourself is fine sometimes and Summer found plenty to keep herself occupied, she climbed on dinosaur bones.

She played on the train that had neat tunnels and made cool noises.

And even without any friends to play with she was still happy to be there.

Of course I prefer watching her play with new little friends, maybe when it cools off a little more friends of all ages and sizes will start making appearances at places we visit. Until then she has me and her daddy and papa to keep her entertained I guess. I just really enjoy watching her socialize with others.

While we were there I took several photos of plants, and chipmunks, and my reflections in a mirror. At one point I was down shooting a few pictures of some daisies when Summer said I could take a picture of her. Yep it was her idea! I was thrilled and asked her to sit right here and smile for me.

That wasn't exactly the type of smile I was going for but she was very animated and happy to be posing so who was I to complain?

I have a feeling we will be back soon, the place is huge and I could see taking several photos of all kinds of things. I crave new places to go to take pictures, I need to find more, and find places where kids are crawling out of the woodwork so Summer can play with her "friends" as she likes to call them.

We ended up having a very late dinner but no one complained, which made the evening enjoyable for everyone. I almost thought about just stopping and having ice cream for dinner but we can always do that another night.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ducks, Geese and Pigeons

A few nights ago Papa and I took Summer to the duck park. First we stopped at the grocery store to pick up bird seed, which seems to be the food of choice for these feathery animals. Once we get close enough for Summer to actually see the park she gets so excited and ready for action! These birds are amazing, they are so use to being around people and they love bird seed so much that they nicely approach and take food from your hand.

Sometimes they want the food before you are even ready to give it to them.

But Summer has been coming to this park for a year and is no longer afraid of these winged creatures, she enjoys being able to feed them and listen to them honk and squawk and flap their wings.

Sometimes we come to the park and all the ducks and geese are gone but not to worry, there will always be pigeons (nasty little flying rats if you really want my opinion!)

Going to the park and being around wild animals, well not that wild really, but animals like ducks and geese and pigeons, and even turtles, reminds me how much I miss living in a small town in the country. I grew up in a very small town and enjoyed spending time collecting all kinds of unique things, like turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, and grasshoppers. Some days I wish we lived in the country in a little white house with a picket fence, a bird coop in the back, a horse or two in the stable, next to a pond full of fish. Oh and don't forget the garden, and the fruit trees, and the barn, why not throw a barn in for kicks. Not everyone dreams of the quiet life and to be completely honest I am not sure how I would transition moving away from the big city, but a mom can dream, and who knows, one day my dreams may come true.

In the meantime I will remain a city girl, raising a city daughter, spending time at duck parks taking pictures of my little girl - hey, get out of the way GOOSE!

Birds, I swear, if I did but I don't, stupid animal!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Swimming in September

One of the nice things about living in Las Vegas is the beautiful weather we enjoy in September, October and some of November. Kris's mom and husband came to Las Vegas to vacation this week so we hung out with them and enjoyed some time at their hotel pool. Luckily my sweet little two year old warmed up to Mimi almost immediately and loves to go swimming. The water was really too cold for this big baby but Summer and daddy had a blast in the lazy river.

After several laps around the river Summer started to get cold, her lips were turning blue and she started to shake, so we got her out, dried her off, handed her some goldfish and sat around and talked.

I always prefer the warmer water, like the hot tub, can you blame me? This hot tub was really hot, both Summer and I had to slowly inch our way in but once we made it we relaxed and zoned out.

Overall it was a really nice time, we enjoyed the pool and watching Summer play. I am sad that the summer is almost over because we will miss swimming. I think the picture below sums up just how much fun Summer has in the water.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hiking on Sunday

Sunday was the day dedicated to spending time together as a family doing something fun and hiking is always fun. Fun and hard, hot and cold, tiring, exhausting and the opportunity for some very cool pictures. Needless to say we were wiped after the 3 hour hike in the mountains but we still had a great time, we spent quality time together, got some fresh air and exercise and saw really neat things.

The morning started out early so we could beat the traffic, by 9:00 am we were on the trail headed into new territories. This hike was 1.8 miles each way and by the time we were done it felt like it. This was also the first time Summer would be hiking in panties and she did great! She did pee once along the trail after I asked if she had to go, I managed to use a tree and branch to brace her up and she didn't get anything on her. I am still amazed at her holding ability.

We saw a lot of neat things on the hike up, berries, flowers, pine cones, rotting trees, the moon, and when we made it almost to the top we saw water. I don't think seeing a trickle of water in a stream would be as impressive anywhere else, but seeing water flowing naturally so close to Las Vegas is just amazing, almost unreal. The water is mountain run off and so clear and cold - very cold, you can ask Summer if you don't believe me.

Summer was such a little hiker, she started out wanting to be held and carried but she actually walked quite a bit of the trail, which is asking a lot of a 2 year old with little legs. I took this hike as an opportunity to take pictures of the neat things we saw, like some unique and bright looking flowers.

and a rotting tree.

and pine cones.

By the time we were heading back it was after twelve she Summer was exhausted both mentally and physically.

As we were headed back down much faster than we got up, Summer fell asleep in daddy's arms. Very cute except very hard to carry dead weight like that. I don't know how we managed to carry her down, well Kris did most of it, I could barely hold her.

It was a great day, we love spending time hiking and smelling the fresh pine and listening to the wind blow through the trees. I never thought we would become hiking people but many weekends were spent hiking these past few months. I am looking forward to the seasonal changes but I know it will be cold soon. We are already discussing what we can do once the temperature drop down. Do you have any good ideas?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weekend Fun

I was looking forward to going out and seeing fairies and fairy things but they canceled the fairy fair - what a bummer! Instead we went and hung out with a friend and had a very nice time. Since you aren't going to be seeing any cool fairy pictures of fairies, food, fun, I guess I will have to make up another story to keep you entertained. First I should share a new picture of Summer, she was in a great mood on Friday night and happily let me fix her hair and change her shirt and put on a pair of stick on earrings. Then she sat where I told her she should sit and gave me some cute smiles.

Look at her, she is getting so big and girly looking, what happened to my little baby, I mean seriously it has only been 2 years 1 months and 12 days! Why do they have to grow up so fast?

Story time ... I have no good stories planned so I am going to have to just wing something. (writer's block I guess, not one single thing coming to mind) --- (still nothing) ---

Oh well I can't think of anything to tell you right now but I am looking forward to an adventure tomorrow, we are going hiking and I will take a few pictures so hopefully something interesting happens then. In the meantime I can tell you about teaching Summer her ABC's, while it may not be very entertaining as some stories, I think it is cute!

I have been wanting to teach Summer her ABC's - and a few nights ago I started teaching with the letter B. We skipped A because I don't know how to teach the sound, should I go with both long and short sounds so we will come back to A later.

B - I drew a B several times on a piece of paper to show her what it looked like (large only, not sure how to teach small letters either) and then I drew an A, B, and a C on three different index cards and mixed them up and asked her to find the B and that was a success. She can already do the B sound bbb bbb bbb and she knows the word Baby starts with the letter B. We have a Dr. Seuss dictionary so I went through all the other B words. I also have that alphabet bus and told her to find the B and after I showed her she can find and press the B. I want to try to pick a new letter every few days and see how she does, of course only if she wants, teaching should be fun and I hope she enjoys learning as much as I did.

Ok we are going hiking tomorrow so better stories and pictures soon!

It isn't much but to me it was a lot. I want to take a letter a day and just go with it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Silhouette

Silhouettes are kinda magical because they show you a glimpse of the reality and you get to guess the rest of the story. I also just realized that silhouette and glimpse are two words that I did not know how to spell, yay for spell checker, and yay for learning something new!

Back to my story, or pictures of silhouettes. I think next time I will try even darker, I wasn't sure what I was doing exactly, but practice makes perfect, or better. All I knew was that the sun was in the ideal position to try to snap a few silhouette photos and Kris was willing, he is such a great guy!

I like this picture, I like the way the touch of the suns rays are reflecting off Summer's face showing you a little bit of her expression, which truly was a little bit forceful, sometimes she gets over stimulated and becomes ... how to describe it, the feeling you get when you clench your fists together - that's what she was actually doing, but it sure looks darn cute.

A few weeks ago my darling charming husband actually got sick from swinging Summer around while I tried to snap a few pictures, and yet because he loves me so dearly he was willing to suffer again. He didn't get as sick luckily but he didn't swing for as long. I got what I wanted, a picture of him swinging her around and she enjoyed every minute.

This has been a very enjoyable week for me and my camera, I think I took pictures every single night which means I got to update my blog every single day - lucky you! I have some fun things planned this weekend so be on the lookout!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dress Up

Summer is a fairy princess.

The other night I asked my child if she wanted to put on a tutu, skirt, wings and wave a fairy wand and be just like Tinkerbell. To my utter surprise she said YES she wanted to dress up! This is a new development in our relationship and I am thrilled. Most of the time I have to practically beg her to dress up for me, I have to hold her down and remove her clothes and struggle to get new clothes on. Of course just because she let me dress her up like Tinkerbell doesn't mean that she was willing to have her hair restyled, or at least I doubt she would have let me, but I didn't ask - shame on me, I was too excited to take pictures and fast before she changed her mind about the outfit. I should have asked because the green hair bow did not really match the purple and pink outfit, but again, I wasn't thinking clearly.

First we showed daddy the outfit then we went out into the front yard where the lighting is so much better. I told Summer that fairy's walk along the bricks ...

I don't know why I said it either, but it did make for a cute photo and she is learning how to balance right?

We have a fair to go to this weekend, a fairy fair, I am so excited because I have an outfit Summer can wear. One small problem with the outfit, really I hate to be a complainer but ... when she has to go pee I am going to have to take the entire outfit off. Oh actually another small problem with the wings, I need to figure out how to get them to stay tight and spread apart. There has to be a way to tie them together somehow so they look a little better. At least they stay on as they are and at least she left them on!

Papa also came outside to have a peek at the cutie and twirl the fairy around a few times.

If this keeps up I may have to find a lot of cute little costumes. I tried on the Halloween cheerleader outfit and it fits, I am thinking about asking a friend to make a matching tutu in the blue shade the Dallas Cowboys use, that might make the outfit a little cuter. I am also in search of some white cowboy boots, I bid and lost 3 pairs on eBay (not all were white) so I am still looking.

YAY she wanted to dress up!