Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Magical Night at the Zoo (no bird poop this time)

5 more cookies, please!

Hey, Mr. Polar Bear, would you like some of my cookie? It's really yummy!!!

While mama was looking at the camera, I tried to hop the fence to get to Santa! (he was sitting down below) Why wait in line?
Of course out of the hundreds of trees scattered all over the zoo, I found a tree made just for me! A "der-dell" tree! A small consolation since the real turtles were sleeping and mommy said we couldn't wake them up to play :(

This was the biggest snowglobe I'd ever seen! I wanted to sit and watch it forever :) I asked mommy for one, but she says we don'[t have room for it at our house. Hmmm. I've seen at least ONE room that we never use! We can get rid of all of daddy's toys and sports stuff, and put it in the office!

Listening to the band play

Look! Daddy has Christmas antlers!

We had a WONDERFUL time at the Reid Park Zoo--Zoo Lights celebration 2 weeks ago:) It was members only night and it was FREE! There were beautiful lights, decorations, live music (an amazing steel drum band, a high school choral group, and a women's quartet), a snow machine, free cookies and hot cocoa, Santa, and lots of fun! :) All of the animals were snug in their beds, but the Polar Bear was still out and swimming. . .guess he didn't want to miss the party! Hannah had a blast :) She danced up a storm as we sat and listened to the steel drum band play Christmas carols. She really knows how to groove and shake her booty! (see videos at the end of this post--sorry they are so dark, but hey, it was nighttime! I can't help it) Lots of people passed by and commented on how cute her dancing was.

Hannah loved all the lights, ooooo-ing and aaaaahhhh-ing at most of them, she loved the free cookies (big surprise, huh?), and even offered a bite of her precious cookie to the blow-up polar bear! It was funny. I tried to take her to sit on Santa's lap. . .but that didn't work out too well. She didn't cry, but she made it very clear that she wanted nothing to do with the jolly man with the white beard, despite acting really excited about seeing him as we waited in line. I wasn't disappointed though. I fully expected her to not want to sit with him and I was just relieved she didn't cry or seem traumatized by the experience :)

Oh, and while we were there, we took daddy by the scene of the crime, where that naughty bird pooped on Hannah's head a couple days earlier! As I pointed out the spot where we were standing on that fateful morning, Hannah was enthusiastically patting her head to show daddy where that birdie did his business. . .

Here's some videos of Hannah dancing--they are dark, but still adorable!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Attention Zoo-goers! BEWARE OF THE DOO-DOO BIRDS!

Following her shadow

A favorite past time. . .pushing her stroller. Never mind that she can't see where she's going! She is off and running at warp speed with only her senses to guide her!!! (OK, I guide her, she would crash into every garbage can and bench otherwise!)

Hanging out by her favorite place. . .the TURTLES!!! We spent half our time here just watching the "der-dells" sit and stare back at her :) One did decide to eat a little, so that was exciting!!!


Patting her new friend. She also sat on him! Good thing this one isn't real!

Well, you think you are doing something good for your kid by taking her to the Zoo to see all the animals. . .and then she gets POOPED ON! Lovely. All the moms around us gasped in horror. . .I think I gagged a little. It was GROSS! My poor baby! I cleaned her up right away (sorry, I didn't take photos of THAT!) And she was fine! Although she still pats her head whenever I tell someone the story or ask her where the birdie dropped a stinker on her; or simply ask what the birdie at the Zoo did the other day. ha ha I guess she will not easily forget the experience. . .and I learned not to park ourselves in the shade to watch the giraffes anymore!

Mom? Why did that birdie drop stinkers on my head?

Those birdies are so unrefined! They could really use a lesson in MANNERS and learn to be more LADYLIKE. . .like ME!

I am sooooo embarrassed. How can I ever face the world again after being pooped on!?!?!?! (Guess she has no idea what she's in for when she has her 1st baby!) What kind of place is this, anyway? These animals act like they are in a ZOO or something! Sheesh!
I don't remember signing any waivers about this sort of thing before you brought me here to this jungle.

We love you and will never forget you PopPop

This will be brief. I like to think of this blog as my happy place. But something very important must be shared here. . .

My dad/Hannah's beloved Pop Pop passed away peacefully at home on Sunday November 23rd after a tough and very brave battle with esophageal and stomach cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family 24/7 in his final days, and we are all grateful that he is no longer suffering. As hard as it was to see him like that, I am so glad that I got to be there with him. I took photos of my sisters, my mom, my Aunt Carol (my dad's sister) and me holding his hand the night before he passed away. I am so glad that I did. His hands were still so familiar and warm, even though they were much smaller than they used to be. . .I don't ever want to forget how strong they still felt even though his body was failing him. I concentrated on his hands for hours as I sat next to him. I will share those photos here as well as some other special ones from before he got sick. . .

I am sad that Hannah will not get to grow up with her PopPop around, but he will forever be an important part of her life. I can promise my dad and Hannah. We will keep his memory alive through photographs, videos, and special stories we will tell her about him :)

We love you and miss you Dad/Pop Pop.

Here's a short trip down memory lane--mostly photos of my dad with Hannah. I wish I had more. . .and a few other favorites of mine.

My wedding day--July 1996

Summer 1993--This was taken at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Summer 2007 at my cousin Mary's wedding. I wasn't able to attend, but this is one of my favorite photos of my dad.

First time my dad met Hannah :) Early October 2007

This one is for Hannah! Here's PopPop holding one of her favorite creatures on earth. . .a "der-dell" :)

Me and my dad 1976

My dad teaching me to ride a tricycle. Too bad I couldn't reach the peddles! Luckily he was there to push me around :)

I was about Hannah's age in this photo :)

September/October 2008--about a month after my dad's diagnosis, I took Hannah to spend some quality time with him. She adores her PopPop and affectionately repeates his name regularly, in a gentle whisper. To this day, she still whispers his name and smiles when she sees photos of him on the slideshow/screensaver on my laptop :) It's adorable.
Here we are listening to opera music before bedtime during our visit in October. Hannah LOVED it! I think PopPop was proud because she liked it loud, just like him :)

South Haven Beach--One of my dad's favorite places
I am so glad that we were able to get him to go there one last time. It was a very memorable and special day for us all.

End of October 2007--Hannah's Baptism weekend (Arizona)

Hannah's 1st trip to Chicago to meet her beloved PopPop :) (October 2007)
(sorry, some of these are out of order, you already saw a couple photos from this weekend earlier, but I wanted to include all of them)

Lastly. . .
A Very Special Set of Photos depicting all the loving hands that cared for my dad during his last days. These were taken the day before he passed away. . .

My sister Cassandra praying the Rosary with my Dad
Everyone took turns holding his hands:

My Aunt Carol (my Dad's sister)


My sister Kim

My mom

My sister Cassan

This is one of my very favorite photos of my mom and dad now. . .this photo was also taken the day before he passed away and I think it says a thousand words without saying anything at all. Their love fills this picture.

Here's a link to the article that was written about my Dad in the Chicago Tribune after he passed away :) We were all so pleased that he was recognized in such a special way :)