Thursday, November 29, 2012


I love that we can go to Florida at the end of November, and everything is still in full bloom. Bright colors splashed everywhere you look, and Grandma & Grandpa's house in no exception. The kids enjoyed seeing Grandma's garden, and Maddi even picked her first veggie. We enjoy fruit off of the trees, and I love watching Grandma's poinsettia begin to change colors while we're there. And of course the kids love hunting for lizards basking in the sunlight. I have vivid memories of exploring my Grandmas' backyards. In Utah, I remember the smell of mint, honeysuckles and wildflowers, and in Alabama, I remember studying the pigeons, frogs, and squirrels that shared our space. Their backyards always felt safe, transparent, and full of adventure through my little eyes, and I hope my kiddos have created the same fond memories that I cherish.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A little more Zoo

When we visit the zoo, we usually wander around at our own pace, but this time, we decided to watch one of the shows that the zookeepers present in the little safari amphitheater. The show ended up being AMAZING. We saw some unique animals up close, and learned some really interesting things about them. I will no longer throw my apple cores and banana peels out of the car window after they kindly told me that ONE MILLION animals die EACH DAY by coming to the roadside to munch on food that we toss out of our car windows. I never, ever throw trash out of the window, but I always thought it was acceptable to toss a biodegradable thing out here or there. I hope no cute little critters perished in my ignorance. The whole show wasn't a garbage guilt trip though, we learned about snakes, owls, lemurs, porcupines, and the most adorable, cuddly sloth I've ever seen. It was such a fun day!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Naples Zoo + a little positive reinforcement

We are in Naples for the holidays and loving every single second of it! We went to the Naples Zoo earlier this week followed by lunch at my favorite restaurant. Grandma & Grandpa really spoil me when I come to visit. :) This time at the zoo, we caught a little bit of the alligator feeding and they explained that they have trained the gaters to respond to their individual names by using only positive reinforcement. Amazing right?? I had no idea cold blooded animals could be trained that way. Our puppies don't even respond to their names half of the time, yet I watched these huge, prehistoric beasts line up and walk forward when their names were called. It was stunning. So the amazing gater show ended up being a nice reminder that the positive reinforcement strategy is the only way to go. It takes patience, dedication, and hard work, but it can mold the behavior of your pets, small children, reptiles, co-workers, and even grouchy hubbies.  Ignore the bad, reward the good; it's my new mantra.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Well, these aren't the best pics of the two cutest Halloweeners I've ever seen, but I felt yucky and the kids were in a hurry to get going. I love getting the kids all dressed up, and our neighborhood always goes all out with decorations and hay rides and such. Maddi studied the Little Mermaid at great length in preparation for the special night. She requested red lips, red finger nails, and blue polish for her fins, and she was thrilled to be escorted by Captain Jack Sparrow himself. (she tried to get him to be Prince Eric, but he just wouldn't go for it.) So here are the not so good pictures of the super fun night.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tate Farms {again}

We had so much fun at Tate Farms this year that we decided to ago again. With the help of a groupon and some friends in tow, we had a fabulous time.