Monday, September 28, 2009

Lollipop, lollipop…


This week at i heart faces, the photo challenge theme is BLUE.  The minute I saw this I knew I had a great photograph to share.

In late Spring, I took my little ones to Ernie Miller Nature Center for a Fun Friday Fieldtrip.  As a treat with their sack lunch, I allowed each kiddo to choose a drink and lollipop at the convenience store.  Why do children naturally gravitate to Blue Raspberry?!!!

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The caption for this photo should be  No, I am not cyanotic! OR Feeling Blue in the Jog Stroller.

For other BLUE moods or to enter your own photograph, check out i heart faces.

Summer Vacation Day 4: Ringling Brothers & Anna Maria Island

Day 4 found us enjoying our first full day in the Tampa area, specifically Sarasota-Bradenton. 

Knowing how much our little ones enjoy the circus, we planned for a must-see adventure to the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus museum.  It was fantastic; although it did require a bit of walking between buildings in the extreme Florida heat and humidity of July.

These are just a few of the pics that I took inside the Circus in Miniature building.  It was an incredible replica of the three ring circus during its heyday.  Basically, the first floor of the museum houses this incredible circus town in miniature providing a historical overview of how the circus traveled from town to town, set up, fed the animals and crew, performed, and broke down for the next town.


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The Circus in Miniature building.





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The left and right sides of the big top.  (Flash photography not allowed)

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View from 2nd story observatory.  The second floor also housed actual period circus costumes including those from Cirque du Soleil from the 1980s.

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Our next stop was the Ringling Brothers museum that housed actual circus artifacts. This building was also amazing to wander around and probably even more fun for our little ones since everything was life-size.

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Florida Vacation 2009 128 History of the Human Cannon Ball

The following series of pictures shows John & Mable Ringling’s home (also on the museum property).  It was incredibly beautiful, especially that outdoor terrace!  As you can see, their home’s architectural style was very much influenced by their travels around the world.  The interior was also exquisitely designed and furnished.

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After a long morning/afternoon of museum touring, we ended our sight-seeing with a trip to Anna Maria Island. The water was incredibly clear with beach sand the color of sugar.


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Seconds before falling down…

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Moments after having fallen down in the Gulf…makes for one soggy diaper!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunflowers, Babies, and a Date Night

Last night, I got to go out with my husband for a date night.  A rare occasion around here, but definitely something we should do more often!

So where did we go…

We were guests of Dr.Robert Holcomb.  Dr. H is the  Medical Director for the new transport service, Wee Deliver.  Wee Deliver is a service for transporting critically ill and premature babies to and from Overland Park Regional Medical Center (OPRMC).  OPRMC is a Level III NICU and now provides the neonatal personnel (nurses, nurse practitioners, and respiratory therapists) along with a high-tech transport chamber to move critically ill infants between hospital facilities.  According to Dr. H, “we bring the ICU to the baby.”

As a thank you to all of the different personnel involved in developing this program, (nurses, respiratory therapists, paramedics who drive the transport chamber, etc.) as well as his own staff from Sunflower Neonatology Services, Dr. H and his family provided an evening of team building activities, delicious food, and terrific conversation all while enjoying a Kansas sunset on their 10-acre family homestead!

I had a wonderful time chatting it up with such incredibly-talented people who literally do life-saving work!  While Chris and I have been fortunate enough to deliver two healthy full-term newborns that never required NICU care, it is comforting to know such high-tech care is available in the Kansas City area should the need arise for any family.

Below are pictures that Mrs. H graciously allowed me to photograph from their shin-dig!  Enjoy the view…I certainly did!


This was the view that greeted us as we approached the back of their property.  Mary Catherine would have been in hog horse heaven!  They own 5 horses and both of their girls ride.  In fact their eldest daughter just returned from a competition outside of Chicago where she took 2nd place nationally.  (I heard the word “dressage”, but that’s about all I caught being that my horse vernacular is not that strong!!!)



As you can see, it really was an intimate gathering!  Mrs. H had the sweetest bouquets of wildflowers on each table along with munchies like trail mix and pretzels.  I failed to photograph the all-important frozen margarita machine…perhaps because I was busying holding a frozen margarita in one hand and photographing with the other?!!!


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The following series of photos are “team building” activities that my husband and fellow invitees were so gracious to participate in !  Lots of laughter, falling down, and camaraderie all-around!  Fortunately for me and my new flats, spouses were not required to participate and I nominated myself as team photographer!



Here are a couple of shots of my husband…he is not the most athletic of men…somethin’ to do with that 6’4” frame of his…





I love a good party, especially when the animals hang with the guests!!!  I thought this little gal and her horse were just the cutest thing.  She just kept riding bareback around the party, hangin’ out with her parents (the hosts) and chattin’ it up with us!  This guy (Smokey) is 25 years old…wow!  I think that’s old in horse years…





We ended the evening with a few pics…I’m such a sucker for a wrap-around porch!  ;)



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The Nutcracker


Did you know…

  • The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the book called "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" written by E.T.A. Hoffman. 
  • In 1891, the legendary choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned Tchaikovsky to write the music for the Nutcracker Ballet.
  • In 1892, the first showing of the Nutcracker took place at the Mariinsky Theatre of Russia, home of the Kirov Ballet.
  • The Nutcracker made its way to Western Europe in the 1930's and to America by 1940, performed by Ballet Russe. The first American full length Nutcracker was performed by the San Francisco Ballet, choreographed by W. Christensen. The Nutcracker has since become an annual Holiday tradition.

Bulleted information provided by The Nutcracker Ballet

This afternoon Mary is auditioning for The Nutcracker.  Mary takes tap and ballet lessons from Miss Tauna through our local Parks and Recreation department, but was invited to audition at Miss Tauna’s dance studio for this holiday performance.

I’m a bit nerve-wracked as I hate to think what I’m going to have to tell Mary if she doesn’t get a bit part!  I swear when Miss Tauna was explaining it to the parents last week that she made it sound like the little ones got a part regardless of their audition, but now I’m not so sure. 

So…wish us luck!  Either way, I think the auditioning will be a great experience for Mary.  It will allow her to see what dance performance is all about and what the expectations are of more serious dancers (as in dance studio…expensive lessons…required leotards…you get the idea!)

Summer Vacation Days 2 & 3

Day 2 of our trip to Florida found us traveling from Shelbyville, Tennessee to Macon, Georgia.

On our way out of town, we found ourselves outside of Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of the world famous Jack Daniels Distillery.  (We didn’t do the tour of the distillery this year as we did it a year ago; not personally a whiskey sipper, but it was a fascinating tour!)

We stopped in downtown Lynchburg for a little window shopping and perusing of the Jack Daniel’s gift shop.   Of course, Daddy found the Lynchburg Harley Davidson store…I think he planned that!

Inside the Jack Daniel’s gift shop they had the cutest little soda pop dispenser.  For a dime (10 cents) you could purchase a Coke in a tiny little glass soda bottle and keep as a souvenir.  Of course, you need the $.50 bag of popcorn to go with it!!!

Florida Vacation 2009 036 Mommy with Mary, Ben, and our gracious hostess, “Miss Sheila”.  Miss Sheila used to be our next door neighbor here in Kansas City.  After David, her sweet husband passed away, her children moved her back home to Tennessee.  We have kept in touch and visit Miss Sheila every year on our way down South for vacation!

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Florida Vacation 2009 043 I’m certain that the Harley Davidson employees LOVED my son pawing at their high dollar bikes!!! 

Florida Vacation 2009 053 (2) The Lynchburg Harley shop on the square.

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The historical County Courthouse was beautiful!

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Reminds me of that old 70’s commercial… “have a Coke and a….smile!”


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My kids were absolutely mesmerized by this clever auto repair shop store front.  Ben kept saying, “” Uhhh, something like that!

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As we drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Alabama, we stopped for gas in Fort Payne, Alabama.  It is the official home of the boys from Alabama.

We also drove by this…very cool!

statuesinplace Picture from The Alabama Band


Day 3 of our travels took us from Macon, Georgia to Tampa, Florida.

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Our first rest area (The Welcome Center) into Florida.  We still had quite a way to go from the Georgia/Florida state line to Tampa.

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Doesn’t Benjamin make such a pretty girl?!!!

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One word summed up our arrival into Florida…HOT!